November Rapp Up

WHAT A FALL! We have had such an unbelievable past month that for this Rapp Up, I’m just going to jump right into the highlights within each of our four Keys to Success:

Community
While the most exciting things that happen in Community here at SJA are the day-to-day relationships that are built, we did make a very important announcement this month: the eighth (and final!) Community at St. James will begin next year! Mrs. Walters and the Deans are leading the process of creating this Community out of some existing Houses and some new ones that will be added next year, but the first step is already completed. The patron was voted on by our entire school, and St. Teresa of Calcutta will be the final Community saint here! Going through this process is going to allow us to lower the size of our Houses to continue to ensure that personal connection for each student with their Mentor Teacher and peers in all grade levels. We are very excited about this development!

Faith
Our Campus Ministry Student Team worked to put together a 33-day preparation for consecration to Mary that ends on the feast of the Immaculate Conception on December 8th. While the opportunity for students, staff, and parents to consecrate (or re-consecrate) their lives to Jesus through Mary is incredible enough, what is unique about this opportunity is that the reflections for this preparation were written by students and staff here in the building! Following the model of St. Louis de Montfort, Fr. Michael Gaitley, and others, our own community members have been sharing their personal witnesses of Mary’s role in their lives and their understanding of her role in history throughout the past several weeks. It has been a very edifying and uplifting process to read and reflect on the words shared by our brothers and sisters here in the building.

Scholarship
We are proud of so many things happening in our classrooms; seeing the hard work of teachers and students in pursuit of the truth is one of my favorite parts of my job! Mr. Tylicki, Mrs. Nearmyer, and I recently visited Kansas State University, and one of our stops was to their engineering school. We were so edified to hear from their dean that they consider the experiences our students are getting in AP Chemistry, AP Physics, AP Calculus, and other courses to be some of the best “STEM” (science-technology-engineering-math) preparation high schoolers can get. To further enhance our thriving AP program next year, we are adding a second computer science course, AP Computer Science A, that focuses more on coding skills in addition to the ideas needed to “think like a computer” covered in AP Computer Science Principles. We are also expanding our Career Explorations program with a course in engineering that you will receive more information about in the near future.

Culture
Where to begin??? How about our three state championships! Our volleyball team made it to its 11th straight state championship match and captured its 8th title during that stretch, an absolutely astounding accomplishment. Coach Harbor and the cross-country girls and Coach Fangman’s tennis girls also brought home state championships, their first team titles in their programs’ history. Not to be outdone, our boys’ programs also had great seasons, most notably the incredible work of our football team finishing 2nd in the EKL, and cross-country star Jack Moore finishing third in his state race. We also had yet another fantastic musical, and I would think the cast and pit from Fiddler on the Roof will be seeing some Blue Star recognition coming soon!

At the start of the school year, I talked to our kids about our three schoolwide expectations for them: be honest, be excellent, and take care of each other. I am proud to say that they have exceeded these expectations this fall, and I can’t wait to see what else is in store between now and May!

Your brother in Christ,

Shane