May Rapp Up

St. James Families,

The building is awfully quiet right now. Though teachers from our math, science, English, and Theology departments have been here working this week for their annual “summer camps,” and our facilities, counseling, and administrative teams are making preparations for the fall, it’s just not the same without the students here.

One of the best parts of working in education is one of the worst as well: you get a fresh start each year. It is such a gift in so many ways to have a chance to stop, reflect, recharge, and re-engage each fall with a new group of students who will challenge and reward you as you work towards a common mission. But it also means saying goodbye to another group of young men and women whose journeys you have shared and whose impact you have felt.

I want to just take a moment to celebrate some of the accomplishments of this newest group of St. James alumni:

  • One graduate joining the seminary.
  • One graduate attending the Air Force Academy.
  • One Merit Scholar designee, the highest possible honor in the National
  • Merit Scholarship program.
  • 50 graduates with a 30 or above on their ACT.
  • Over $19 million in scholarships offered.
  • 18 graduates attending colleges or universities to which no SJA grad has gone before.
  • The growth of our AP program. Their freshmen year, we offered 172 AP exams to 112 students. Their senior year, we offered over 500 AP exams to more than 260 students.
  • Their sophomore year, the year most of them would have taken their state assessments, we were awarded the Governor’s Award for excellence in both math and reading assessments (this award has not been given since as the criteria are changing).

Academically, I don’t know that we have had a more decorated or higher-achieving class come through our school. Some of those numbers above are truly staggering. However, Scholarship is just one aspect of what we do here.

In the area of Culture, this group has moved our school forward in developing our culture of witness in which it is normal for students to share their faith out loud with others through Mass prep, Mater Dei Week, God Week, and retreats. They have also helped maintain the culture of individual care and concern for each student so that this can be a “home” for everyone.

In Community, they have been a part of creating our seventh community and adding four new Houses to the system. They have also hosted schools from Missouri, Illinois, Kansas, and Colorado over the last two years who have come to learn about what we are doing in our system.

Last but not least, in Faith we have continued to have a solid presence at daily Mass, sent another graduating senior to the seminary (with two more graduates from previous years heading in as well in addition to several female grads entering orders!), and maintained our mission-focus even as we have experienced growth and success in every other area of the school.
Our juniors have big shoes to fill next year, but luckily they are wise enough to know that they will have to work together to do so. That is part of why they chose the theme “Be Not Afraid: No One Fights Alone!” for our 2017-2018 school year. We will talk more about this in the fall, but please keep our rising seniors in your prayers as they work together this summer to continue fighting to protect all that these graduating seniors have built here.

Have a safe, happy, healthy, and holy summer, and look for my June/July Rapp Ups which will have more exciting news about our academic programs here!

Your brother in Christ,

Shane