Category Archives: Schools

St. John Berchmans Catholic School Celebrates Landmark Year

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,, 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.

Catholic Schools Annual Report

by Sr. Carol Shively, OSU

This 2017 – 2018 Annual Report is organized around the four major themes of the National Standards and Benchmarks for Effective Catholic Schools—Mission and Catholic Identity, Governance and Leadership, Academic Excellence and Operational Vitality. “Catholic schools are an outstanding apostolate of hope…addressing the material, intellectual and spiritual needs of millions of children.” (Pope Benedict XVI, Address to Catholic Educators, April 17, 2008, Washington DC, par. 5)

“The environment in our Catholic schools express the signs of Catholic culture, physically and visibly (The Religious Dimension of Education in a Catholic School)

Mission and Catholic Identity

Each of our Catholic schools provide the students with faith-filled experiences. They participate in daily prayer, prayer services, holy day celebrations, weekly liturgy and service in the community. Our mission is to be Christ’s hands and feet to our neighbors.

Governance and Leadership

Successful Catholic schools require strong leaders. Seasoned, knowledgeable and collaborative principals, pastors and boards/councils can together help to guarantee that every student has access to a high quality, faith-filled education. Our schools are led and guided by faith-filled educators which is a hallmark of our schools. They work in full partnership with our pastors and school volunteers who guide us in reaching the needs of our families in the community.

Academic Excellence

For over 32 years, the Diocese of Shreveport has been known for providing high quality education, and that reputation continues to grow day after day. As an example of ongoing academic strength and growth, our Catholic schools have rapidly adopted STREAM (science, technology, religion, engineering, arts and mathematics) and related programs into their curricular and co-curricular instruction and activities. Our excellence is demonstrated in our ACT Aspire / ACT test scores and in our loyal and dedicated teachers. Our teachers are life-long learners and attend summer workshops and on-going development in our local colleges.

We want our families to feel a sense of confidence in their decision to invest in Catholic education.

Operational Vitality

Parents facing the many challenges of today’s economic challenges desire their children’s education to be strong and their schools to be stable. The long-term viability of our Catholic schools require us to focus on the school’s operations, such as its finances, human resources, facilities and advancement/development. Our attention to being good stewards of their investment enables them to feel confident about their decision to invest in Catholic education. During the year, our principals in Monroe developed ways to operate as a collaborative team of experts. Many successful events occurred to draw the schools closer together. The events included a unified message of excellence in recruiting students and in providing professional development for the faculties. The collaboration was very meaningful for the teachers. One teacher shared that it’s so easy to simply teach in a “silo mentality.” It is better when we think that there are two to three classes of grades in the Catholic elementary schools so I feel that I don’t work alone!”

Our commitment to our families is to return their child to them with a servant’s heart.

Click to download the Annual Report.

How I Practice My Faith as a Student

by Celeste Lirette Loyola College Prep, Senior

Ever since I was introduced to my eighth-grade confirmation class at St. Joseph School, the journey to find my place as a Catholic in a world full of classrooms, backpacks and social media has been long and truly worthwhile. That eighth grade year when my friends and I made the transition from children to teenagers, we were constantly presented with the “impending doom” of high school that was ahead of us. It was only a matter of time until we were enclosed by the arms of secularism and sin forever. We were told that in the near futures we would face many challenges to our faith and new temptations to sin. While all of these promises were true, we felt almost as if our fate were set in stone—that we would not have the means to choose the life of goodness and of love that we were taught to choose. This, of course, certainly was not true.

Throughout the years, the choice of faithfulness or of apathy evolved into a daily confrontation with the reality that the world we live in is contrary to the faith we consider so dear. However, this reality forces me as a student to discover the tools that both my Catholic school and church offers me to stay strong in my faith. The most important thing I have learned so far in my journey is that without the grace of God, nothing is possible. God will allow us to know Him more deeply and grow in virtue only insomuch as we are open and prepared to receive His grace. This state is achieved through prayer and a regular reception of the Sacraments, which are the tools by which I arm myself to face a secular world.

This is the way that I express myself as a Catholic student—with the beads of the Rosary always in my hand and the grace of the Sacraments of God always in my heart, the fear of the world diminishes, and my courage to defend my faith effectively grows.

St. Frederick Students Attended Summer Programs

by Olga Trejo

While most students were busy relaxing in the sun this summer, several St. Frederick Warriors were busy attending college classes and forums. Rosemary Manning (pictured above), a 9th grade student, attended the Ambassador Leadership Summit at Harvard University Law School. The program, Leadership in Action, was sponsored by the Ambassador Leaders Program based in Spokane, WA.

Hosted on the campus of Harvard Law School, the program brought together more than 200 middle and high school students from around the world. During the eight day program, students attended seminars by well-known motivational speaker, Dr. Sunjay Nath; attended interactive workshops and worked to create a community action plan for the Leed2Feed project.

In addition, students received college advice from Harvard students and earned 20 service-learning hours while working to make a difference through local United Way projects.

“I loved meeting so many people from all over the world with different cultures, backgrounds and beliefs,” said Rosemary Manning. “I now have friends in Hong Kong and South Africa! I definitely gained from this experience. It’s really amazing what great friends you can make in just a week!”

Additionally, Alyssa Dismuke, a 10th-grade student, attended a medical and healthcare summit at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD. Gabriela Trejo, a senior, attended the National Youth Leadership Forum Medicine at the University of Houston. Zackery Chamberlain, also a senior, attended four weeks of Summer College at Duke University in North Carolina. He studied Political Philosophy and returned with the understanding of the history and live politics of Law.

Back to School at Our Lady of Fatima!

Our Lady of Fatima School is back in session and students are eager to learn!

Safety a Priority at St. John Berchmans

Steps have been taken to provide further safety measures, both throughout the school as well as with faculty and staff development at St. John Berchmans School. In June, principal Jennifer Deason attended training through Caddo Parish Sheriff’s Office of Homeland Security focusing on campus emergencies prevention, response and recovery. In August faculty received safety training from Tony LeBlanc, Field Operations Manager for CPSO’s Homeland Security and Eric Tyler, fireman and paramedic with Shreveport Fire Department.  •

Blessing of JGS School

Fr. Keith Garvin and principal, Lisa Patrick carried out the annual blessing of the school. This is a tradition at Jesus the Good Shepherd School, where each room, student and teacher is blessed with a sprinkling of holy water on the first day of school. Fr. Keith greeted parents in the carpool drop-off line, made coffee for all the teachers and faculty, and even had a sing-a-long in the school gymnasium before morning assembly.