Category Archives: Schools

St. John Berchmans School’s Principal Deason Earns Doctorate

Jennifer Deason, principal of St. John Berchmans Catholic School in Shreveport, graduated on November 17 with her doctorate in Educational Leadership from Louisiana Tech University.

Deason has always believed her faith is the reason she is where she is. She said, “My Catholic faith has always been an integral part of my life. We prayed nightly family rosaries and we went to first Friday Masses at 6:30 in the morning. I feel my parents instilled in me such a deep love and respect for my faith.“

She attended Louisiana Tech University, and eventually Louisiana State University (LSU), where she graduated with her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education. She began teaching in the East Baton Rouge Parish School System upon her graduation. She then went on to earn a Master’s degree in Education in School Counseling from LSU.

After relocating to Sulphur, Deason completed additional graduate coursework at McNeese State University in Lake Charles. In 2008, she began working as a middle school counselor in the Calcasieu Parish School System, and in 2010 was named Calcasieu Parish Middle School Counselor of the Year. She then went on to be awarded Louisiana Middle School Counselor of the Year.

Shortly after receiving this award, Jennifer and her family relocated to Benton, moving away from her parents, siblings and the close knit Catholic community she had always known. Longing to find a sense of Catholic community in their new location, Jennifer and her husband, Chris, enrolled their boys in Catholic school and she began working in the Diocese of Shreveport school system.

Initially, she completed a long-term substitute teaching position for the 2010-2011 school year as a 5th grade teacher at St. Joseph Catholic School. The following school year, Jennifer accepted a counseling position at St. John Berchmans Catholic School. After Jennifer obtained the Educational Leadership I certification, she became Assistant Principal. She also obtained her dual certification as a National Certified Counselor and a National Certified School Counselor.

In 2014, Deason began the Educational Leadership doctoral program with Louisiana Tech University, and in 2017, she was promoted to principal of St. John Berchmans School.

Deason emphasized, “When it came time to choose my dissertation, I wanted my topic to be something that would help me as a Catholic school leader.” Her research focused on factors influencing parental school choice in North Louisiana.

On October 4, she successfully defended her dissertation before her doctoral committee and officially completed her doctorate. On November 17, she walked across the stage at Louisiana Tech for the “doctoral hooding” ceremony and received her diploma in Ed.D in Educational Leadership.

Deason said, “I feel God has led me to where I am supposed to be, doing His work in our Catholic school, where I am able to integrate my faith, family and profession all into one.”

Loyola Student Organization Hosts Meal Drive

Loyola College Prep student organization Flyers Aiding the Hungry (F.Ai.T.H) holds an annual event serving the Shreveport and Bossier City communities just in time for the holidays.

On December 3, F.Ai.T.H. will serve over 900 baskets from the Loyola gymnasium. Meals come in baskets filled with canned goods, bread and ham – all supported by fundraising, donations and sponsorships.

The community is invited to sponsor a basket for $30 which helps to cover the cost for its contents. Supporters are also encouraged to donate goods and children’s toys for various ages. Over its near three decades of operation, approximately 87,000 people have been fed on F.Ai.T.H. Day.

In addition to its chairmen and officers, over 55 percent of the student body helps distribute the baskets. Santa Claus even makes an appearance to hand out toys to children in attendance.

SJS Students Attend Annual Vocations Luncheon

As part of National Vocations Awareness Week, St. Joseph Catholic School has annually held a vocations luncheon that allows middle school students to visit with men and women of the diocese who have answered God’s call to priesthood, the diaconate or religious life. The event is held at the St. Joseph Church Family Life Center, includes lunch and provides a casual atmosphere for conversation about vocations. The students who attend have voluntarily expressed an interest in speaking with the priests, deacons, seminarians and sisters, and they dine in separate rooms to allow for more intimate conversations about each type of vocation. Fr. Matthew Long, pastor of St. Joseph Church, was in attendance, as well as seminarian Jeb Key, Deacon Bill Roche, Sr. Anna Maria Iannetti, OLS, and two novices. Fr. Long makes regular visits to religion classrooms throughout the year, as well. During National Vocations Awareness Week the students enjoyed visits from Fr. Matthew Long, Fr. Fidel MondragÓn, Fr. Biju Kuriakose and Deacon Bill Roche.

Loyola Students Tutor at St. Joseph School

For five years now, on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, members of the Loyola College Prep chapter of the National Honor Society leave school to offer their time and talents to students at St. Joseph Catholic School through an after-school tutoring program that has become a win-win situation for kids on both sides of the books. Loyola NHS students get to share their knowledge with younger students, remind themselves of all they have learned, and serve as positive role models for the students they help. Some of the Loyola students are SJS alums, giving back to the school that played a major role in teaching and guiding them to be the young men and women they are today. NHS sponsor Linda Harris said, “The tutoring program gives the NHS members a chance to connect with younger students and gives both the tutors and their young charges the opportunity to find their wings and develop the courage and strength to fly.” Currently there are 100 members in NHS at Loyola, and nine of them are present to tutor per session.

SJB to Begin STEM Certification

We are proud to announce that St. John Berchmans School will begin the re-accreditation process for AdvancED in the spring. In addition, we will begin the process for STEM Certification. AdvancED STEM Certification is a mark of STEM distinction and excellence for those institutions that are granted the certification. We will be honored to be one of two schools in the state of Louisiana with this distinction.

JGS Participates in the SVdP Walk

On Wednesday, September 26, Jesus the Good Shepherd School hosted the Society of St. Vincent de Paul (SVdP) Friends of the Poor Walk/Run. JGS had a total of 152 students arrive at 7:30 a.m. to run/walk in support of the SVdP charity. We are very proud of our students’ participation and involvement in this wonderful event each year.

St. John Berchmans Catholic School Celebrates Landmark Year

1018SJB

by Lisa Cooper

This year marks two special occasions for the St. John Berchmans community as they celebrate the 70th anniversary of the school, as well as the 40th anniversary of their annual Monster Mash family night.

What started as a priest’s vision in 1946 has since been the foundation which has supported the education and faith of thousands of Shreveport’s families for 70 years. When Fr. Druhan became pastor of St. John Berchmans, he felt strongly that a Catholic education should become a reality for every child in the parish. Working with his parishioners who were dedicated to the prospect of building a parochial school in Shreveport,

Fr. Druhan purchased the property located next to the church on Jordan Street for a school, and the Ingersol home on Margaret Place was purchased as a convent for the Daughters of the Cross sisters from St. Vincent’s, who would serve at the school as staff and teachers.

In 1949, Sr. John Roberta served as the school’s first principal, and the doors to Shreveport’s first parochial school were opened with six grades. The cost of construction of the first phase of the parochial school was $250,000.

In those 70 years, much has changed for the school, but the tradition upon which it was built has remained its anchor. With a history that traces back to the original SJB School established in 1902, St. John Berchmans School was built upon the solid and constant foundation of faith and the rich heritage of our Catholic traditions.

The longstanding motto of “Kindness is practiced here” remains the bedrock of the culture of SJB, a culture that even families new to the school recognize from the moment they walk through the doors. There is a predictability and continuity of both faith and excellence in education that SJB staff and families count on. This thread of distinction not only holds the community of SJB together, but also provides that sure underpinning essential to allowing students to soar.

Although it remains unwavering in its traditions, SJB also leads the way in innovation. With a host of art and drama offerings and its tenth State Science Olympiad win under its belt, SJB continues to provide its students with a rare education founded in faith, the arts, and STEM. Whether working in the state-of-the-art media and computer lab or rehearsing lines and music for their yearly production, students at SJB are nurtured by a faculty who consistently refine and improve their educational processes to ensure they stay on the cutting edge of meeting the academic needs of each student, while keeping the faith formation of every child at the forefront of every school experience. Keeping with Fr. Druhan’s vision of providing an excellent Catholic education for the children in the parish, SJB continues to ensure every student enjoys unmatched academic opportunities while remaining grounded in the Catholic faith that is essential to their success.

Additionally, SJB will pull out all the stops to celebrate this year’s 40th annual Monster Mash on October 27th. This family festivity has been a haven for parents and students alike as they show up each year to enjoy carnival games, cake walks, costume contests and the annual haunted house. The fun will be multiplied this year, with numerous bounce-houses, carnival games, a strong-man tower and hayride. As a special feature, the school is asking SJB alumni from Monster Mash’s inaugural year to come back and judge the costume contest. All of the SJB community, both past and present, is invited to come out to kick off the Monster Mash celebration.

Current families as well as alumni are invited to join in participating in the school’s anniversary extravaganza, which will be held in May. Alumni are encouraged to enjoy a homecoming all year by coming back to see all of the improvements and innovations at the school. To register as an alumnus of the school and participate in any of the exciting activities planned this year, check the website, sjbcathedralschool.org, or call the office at 318-221-6005.

JGS School 6th Grade & Kindergarten STEM Collaboration

The JGS 6th grade and kindergarten classes met for their very first STEM collaboration. The STEM project was based on computer programming. A kindergarten student worked together with a 6th grade student, as computer programmers, sending instructions to their “computer,” another 6th grade student, who would place Legos in a design as commanded. The programmers and “computer” were partitioned and were only allowed to give and receive commands. The “computer,” a 6th grade student, could only accept or decline commands, but could not ask questions or speak otherwise. The goal of the project was to determine if the programmers and “computer” could work together as a team, following commands without being able to see one another and produce the same Lego design. At the conclusion, three teams produced close to identical Lego designs. This was a great learning experience for both grades .•

SJS Remebers 9/11

On September 11, St. Joseph School remembered the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, with a Patriotic Rosary. SJS began the Patriotic Rosary last year as a way to remember the victims of that tragic day in our nation’s history, and to pray to our spiritual mother, Mary, for peace. SJS alumnae Kevin Nolten opened with a brief presentation about the events of that day, and what it meant for us as Americans. Fr. Long began the rosary, then Middle School students led faculty, staff and students in grades K5 – 8th through each decade of the Joyful Mysteries.

Ryan Smith Award at LCP

Loyola College Prep teacher Laura Woolbert became the third recipient of the Ryan William Smith Award presented last month at the Cathedral of St. John Berchmans.

The Flyer volleyball coach humbly accepted the award that honors the late Ryan William Smith, a 2004 Loyola alumnus who joined the Lord in heaven at age 29 after battling cancer. His parents, Gethyn and Robin Smith, were present and loved continuing their son’s honor at one of his favorite places.

Smith considered himself blessed to have many great teachers during his 14 years of Catholic education. Because of this, the designation appropriately rewards employee excellence.

“I was a little shocked when I heard my name,” Woolbert said. “It was not something I was expecting, and after a second or two I thought, ‘Well you better get up and walk to the front.’ Receiving an award like this is such an honor.”

In her 30th year of Flyer education, Woolbert recalled the memorable passion Smith had for science in her chemistry class.

“I remember him being super excited about labs. Though labs are usually every student’s favorite part of class, Ryan took a particular interest in how things worked, what the equipment was and why we used it.”

Smith’s love for the laboratory later evolved into a Bachelor of Science in petroleum engineering from Louisiana State University. He always hoped to return to Loyola and teach an introductory engineering class where he said he’d do it for free.

“Teachers touch the lives of so many students over the years, and we sometimes forget the impact we have,” Woolbert said.