The class of 2013 has big plans; read all about it and see lists of local grads in this section.
What’s new at the new school?
What’s new at Pope John Paul the Great Catholic High School? Just about everything — and then some. As preparations are finalized for the opening of the school’s second academic year, new students, faculty members, programs and activities will find a place among the nearly new returning faculty, students, programs and facilities.
The addition of a junior class moves the high school closer to its first-ever graduation in 2011.
According to Jennifer Cole, director of admissions and marketing, the school draws students from more than 64 area schools and 28 parishes. “We are culturally and geographically diverse,” Cole said, “and yet easily come together around the common desire to learn and work at a place that is rich in academic integrity, faith, and, frankly, that is lots of fun.”
When students return Aug. 31, they will be greeted by 11 new teachers, bringing the total faculty and staff to 47. Of these, 35 hold graduate degrees, including four doctorates and 31 master’s.
“The faculty and staff at this school inspire me by their commitment to truth and to teaching with joy,” said Nashville Dominican Sister Mary Jordan Hoover, principal. “I know that they are making an impact on the entire community.”
William Moore and Lawton Clites will join the science department, directed by Richard Gildersleeve, expanding their teaching team to four. Moore, a university professor and research scientist with a doctorate in biochemistry from the University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, will teach chemistry. Clites, an environmental scientist who joined the faculty late last year in a part-time capacity, returns as a full-time biology teacher.
Expansion of the science department will allow students to participate in scientific research and development activities, such as the Science Olympiad and science fairs. Established relationships with scientists in the physical and life sciences could lead to summer internships in teaching/research hospital laboratories. Currently the school has a mentoring relationship with Dr. Pedro A. Jose, director of the Center for Molecular Physiology Research at Children’s National Medical Center.
The office of Guidance and Counseling, directed by Patricia Smith, welcomes Tricia Zackrisson as the new guidance counselor. She will provide academic, personal and social counseling to the students. Smith’s will implement the school’s strategic plan to help upperclassmen prepare for university selection and pre-college exams. In addition, SAT and ACT preparation courses will be offered, and the school will proctor the PSAT on campus for the first time.
Jerry Berenty, math teacher, comes from Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology with more than 36 years of higher-level math and science teaching, and as a robotics lab director.
Sierra Correa, art teacher, and Stephen Keane, English and drama teacher, will help expand the art department, along with new classes in Clayworks, Drawing II and Digital Photography II. Drama, an afterschool club last year, will be a class this year, with plans for a fall play, a spring musical and possibly a dinner theater performance near Christmas.
The Options Program, for students with cognitive disabilities, began last year with one student and will have three this year. “As the Options program grows,” said Megan Battle, director of special services, “so does our opportunity to live the ‘culture of life’ by cherishing and respecting and loving each person, regardless of ability.”
Other new teachers include: Gerard-Marie Anthony, religion and bioethics; Erin Baker, physical education,and lacrosse and field hockey coach; Mike Dobson, physical education,and cross country and track coach; Kelly Everett, English; Letsea Noller, Spanish and world history; Karen Schultz, teacher’s aid; and Jeremy Sienkiewicz, Latin and world history.
Pograms in Student Life, Faith Life and athletics are expanding. Last year more than 80 percent of John Paul the Great students participated in one or more after school sports, and many more chose to be involved in school clubs. Shawn McNulty, assistant principal for Student Life, said that her personal goal is to “have 100 percent participation of students in an extra-curricular activity, club or sport.
“If we can’t find a way for every student to be involved in something they enjoy,” said McNulty, “we’re not doing our job as well as we could. A great high school experience includes making good friends and creating fun memories that last a life time. We want that for each of our students.”
The list of clubs and activities include spirit week, dances, Operation Rice Bowl, Life-Savers Pro-Life Club, French Club, Chess Club, Frassati Outdoor Club and a full student government.
On the field, varsity teams have been added for all 16 competitive sports. “Playing varsity without the benefit of seniors on our teams will be a great challenge, but one we are ready for,” said Mark St.Germian, director of Athletics. Students will be able to earn varsity letters for the yet-to-be-designed letterman jacket, likely incorporating the school’s wolf mascot.
A new sports medicine program for student athletes, called ImPACT will help assess concussion and mild brain injury. According to program Director Annemarie Francis, a certified athletic trainer, the software program will help :gather baseline assessments on each student-athlete … and reference that personalized data during another assessment when a head injury occurs on the field.”
Find out more
More information on academic growth and extracurricular activities at John Paul the Great can be found at the November 8 open house or by going to jpthegreat.org.