Page created by Theodore Francis
S U P P L E M E N T T O T H E C AT H O L I C C O M M E N TAT O R | J A N U A R Y 2 9 , 2 0 2 1
2B   The Catholic Commentator                                      CATHOLIC SCHOOLS WEEK 2021                                                                   January 29, 2021

Catholic educators are heroes during COVID-19 pandemic
         ne year ago educators in the       presented, the core mission of Catholic    used their creativity and dedication to       education is important, it is not com-
         Diocese of Baton Rouge were        education did not change and that is to    overcome any obstacles along the way,         plete if it only imparts information to
         preparing to celebrate Catho-      educate our young children, not only       always considering what was best for the      the mind and does not touch the heart.
lic Schools Week, an annual event to        teaching the fun-                                      young people they serve.          A complete education must also impart
embrace all that is good in Catholic        damentals of math,                                          That same resolve has        the wisdom of our final destiny with
education. As is tradition, the week was    English and history                                    certainly carried over to the     God and reveal the evidence and the
highlighted by the celebration of the an-   but also forming them                                  new school year 2020-2021.        presence of God as revealed by Jesus’
nual Catholic Schools Week Mass at St.      morally and spiritu-                                   With Superintendent Dr.           words and actions. To fulfill their call
Gerard Majella Church in Baton Rouge.       ally. Even during the                                  Melanie Palmisano’s lead-         Catholic schools daily continue their
At the time, we were learning more          lockdown that began                                    ership and foresight, and         Mission and Ministry by evangelizing
about a rare virus called COVID-19 that     March 13, 2020, our                                    because of the heroic and         hearts, educating minds, encouraging
was beginning to spread its devastation     educators did not                                      faithful efforts of our princi-   talent and embracing the future. They
throughout China and Europe, but it         allow the challenges of                                pals, teachers, aides, tutors,    carry out this mission through spiritual
was still a rather small blip on our col-   changing the paradigm                                  office staffs, cafeteria work-    and religious formation, academic rigor,
lective radar.                              of education from the                                  ers, maintenance employees,       innovative programs, responsible stew-
    How much has changed in a year!         physical classroom to                                  parents and the guidance of       ardship and joyful celebration of service
    Today, as we celebrate a most           the virtual classroom                                  the nurses and doctors from       to the community.

                                                                          From the
unusual Catholic Schools Week, the          to deter them. With                                    Our Lady of the Lake Health          This Catholic Schools Week I com-
coronavirus remains at the forefront        almost no delay our                                    System, all of our diocesan       mend and thank our principals, teachers
of our thoughts and certainly the focus     whole school system                                    schools have been success-        and school staff for all they do for our
of our prayers, as we continue to cope
with the mental challenges of isolation
                                            transitioned to virtual
                                            learning to meet the
                                                                           Bishop                  ful in maintaining in-class
                                                                                                   learning since September.  
                                                                                                                                     students every day. I also express my
                                                                                                                                     pride in our dedicated students who
and experiencing the grief of family        educational and for-       Bishop Michael G. Duca          I commend everyone            have worked hard to learn in these
members and friends suffering through       mative needs of their                                  associated with our Catholic      difficult circumstances. I am sure this
the disease and in some cases dying.        students.                                              school community for their        pandemic, which has challenged our
We continue to wonder when life will            Despite the complexities, educators    unwavering dedication to our young            Catholic Schools for the past year, will
return to some semblance of normalcy        remained vigilant in their dedication      people, for finding the light in the dark-    in the end not break our resolve but
and what post-pandemic society will         to their students by continuing to hold    ness of this pandemic.                        rather will strengthen our dedication
look like.                                  them to the same standard of excellence.      Catholic education is rooted in the        to the Mission and Ministry of Catholic
    Despite the myriad challenges 2020      Our administrators and educators           Gospel because while a good quality           Education for years to come.
January 29, 2021                                                  CATHOLIC SCHOOLS WEEK 2021                                                        The Catholic Commentator   3B

Celebrating Catholic Schools Week
         ur generation will show that it can rise   chael G. Duca. This year’s Catholic Schools Week
         to the promise found in each young per-    Mass will be livestreamed on Catholic Life TV
         son when we know how to                                    on Feb. 3 at 10 a.m., and we hope
give them space. This means that                                    that everyone will be able to join
we have to create the material                                      the celebration through technol-               Mater Dolorosa Catholic School
and spiritual conditions for their                                  ogy.                                         Excellence in Education for 100 years in grades PreK-8!
full development; to give them a                                       Following Mass, school lead-              New PreK-2 Program starting for 2021-2022 School Year
solid basis on which to build their                                 ers who courageously and tire-
lives; to guarantee their safety                                    lessly worked to reopen schools                     Tuition Assistance for Qualifying Families
and their education to be every-                                    safely and on-time this year will     Additional Part-Time Teachers provide Academic Support for Students
thing they can be…                                                  be honored. These outstanding                               After School Care Program
– Pope Francis                                                      educators helped students and
    The Holy Father’s reminder of                                   their families return to a more                   509 Pine Street, Independence, LA 70443
the ministry of Catholic educa-                                     normal reality despite the uncer-
tion helps us to realize the impor-                                 tainty in our world. They are tru-
tance of the work that is celebrat-                                 ly worthy of our gratitude!
ed during Catholic Schools Week.
After recently completing the self-
                                       From the                        In addition to prayer during
                                                                    Mass, two important signs of our               RedemptoRist st. GeRaRd school
study process for national reac-
creditation and preparing to meet
                                    Superintendent                  Catholic identity are included in
                                                                    Catholic Schools Week activities.                                  Motto:
online with the quality assurance                                   First, schools donate to Catholic     “ A Building of Excellence with Four Walls built on Christian
visiting team, Catholic schools in-
                                      Dr. Melanie Palmisano         Charities of the Diocese of Baton        Values & Tomorrow’s Future Resource –Our Children”
volved in district accreditation are                                Rouge as a sign of their commit-
                                                                                                          Come and see what we have to offer ...
keenly aware of the importance                                      ment to service. Second, faculty
of creating material and spiritu-                                   members with anniversary years        ❖     TOP GAINS Pre-K Program for EBR
al conditions for the full devel-        This year’s                of service are recognized as a        ❖     Morning Care and After Care
opment of students in their care.                                   sign of gratitude for their work in         Improved Athletic Program
Our vision to Evangelize Hearts,      Catholic Schools              Catholic education. We all know
                                                                                                          ❖     Tutoring Program                   Now
Educate Minds, Encourage Talent,                                    teachers and staff members who
and Embrace the Future is focused     Week Mass will                have made a positive difference       ❖     Enriched Curriculum
on providing a solid foundation                                     in our lives, and we take time        ❖     Religion Education Program                 w!
that helps students fully develop     be livestreamed               during Catholic Schools Week to       ❖     Tuition Assistance Program      Apply No
their God-given gifts so that they                                  honor that dedication.
can fulfill their potential.          on Catholic Life                 As we celebrate the work of
                                                                                                                   Pre-K – 8th Grade for 2019-2020
    It has been tradition in the Dio-                               Catholic schools, we are grate-
cese of Baton Rouge that students     TV on Feb. 3 at               ful for the leadership of Bishop
                                                                                                               Cheryl Domino, Principal • Fr. Tat Hoang, CSsR, Pastor
from each school come together                                      Duca and for the support of cler-     For more information visit or call 225-355-1437.
for Mass during Catholic Schools           10 a.m.                  gy, administrators, faculty, staff,
Week. With the pandemic, adjust-                                    parents, students and all part-              Cultivating Scholars with Pride and Passion
ments needed to be made. Instead                                    ners in the work of the schools.
of filling the church with students,                                With strong stakeholder support,
school administrators and their family members      Catholic schools will continue to serve genera-
will gather to celebrate Mass with Bishop Mi-       tions in the Diocese of Baton Rouge!

      St. Michael serves a devastated
              Lake Charles
   Special to The Catholic Commentator              the gift cards, students made personalized
                                                    prayer cards to include notes of sorrow and en-
   Hurricane Laura made landfall on Aug. 27         couragement.
in Cameron Parish as a Category 4 storm with           In September, St. Michael football coach Joey
150-mile-per-hour winds.                            Sanchez and football parents spent the day in
   After the devastating effects of the storm       Lake Charles, cooking and serving jambalaya
came to fruition, the St. Michael the Archangel     and volunteering with cleanup efforts. While
High School family rallied together to help St.     they were there, Sanchez delivered the gift
Louis Catholic High School in Lake Charles. St.     cards and prayer cards.
Louis Catholic, along with many of the fami-           “It was a humbling experience to see every-
lies whose children attend the high school, sus-    one so thankful for our help,” he said. “Living in
tained severe damage from Hurricane Laura.          Louisiana, we all know the devastating effects
   Students and faculty at St. Michael collected    that hurricanes can bring, so it felt good to give
gift cards from Home Depot, Lowes, Walmart,         back to our neighbors in their time of need.”
Amazon, grocery stores, fast food restaurants          The St. Michael football team added its own
and gas stations raising more than $10,000 for      special touch to the efforts by donating $1,100 to
the high school and their families. Along with      the football program at St. Louis Catholic.
4B   The Catholic Commentator                                            CATHOLIC SCHOOLS WEEK 2021                                                                          January 29, 2021

                                Honoring Catholic school principals
                                                children safe.                                   she can do “anything I put my mind to.”
           Stacia Andricain                        Andricain also understands how her               She noted that Holy Family continues                   Jason Chauvin
          ST. JOSEPH’S ACADEMY                  past can shape the future of others.             to grow in numbers and more important-         CATHOLIC SCHOOL OF POINTE COUPEE
                BATON ROUGE                        “I want to become a mentor for others         ly in the students’ schoolwide display of                     NEW ROADS
                             For the past       because I was so blessed in this area and        Catholic values.                                                           Jason Chauvin
                          25 years, includ-     to continue to promote Catholic ideals              “I anticipate growth of my school and                               previously served
                          ing the past four     and the charism of the Sisters of St. Jo-        new fresh ideas being put into action,” she                            as principal at
                          as principal at St.   seph,” she said.                                 said.                                                                  Catholic Elemen-
                          Joseph’s    Acad-                                                                                                                             tary School of
                          emy, Stacia An-                    Alise Ashford                                     Jan Breen                                                Pointe     Coupee
                          dricain has been                  HOLY FAMILY SCHOOL                            ST. JOSEPH’S ACADEMY                                          for the past two
                          blessed to serve                        PORT ALLEN                                   BATON ROUGE                                              years and is in his
                          under      several                                 Catholic school        In her role as president at St. Joseph’s                            first year as prin-
                          mentors.                                       values were in-                                 Academy, Breen                                 cipal of the newly
     Stacia Andricain        She cited for-                              stilled in Holy                                 oversees the for-           Jason Chauvin      structured ele-
                          mer SJA admin-                                 Family principal                                mation of young                                mentary school
istrators such as Jacquline Labat, Linda                                 Alise Ashford at                                women in the                                   and high school.
Harvison, Sister Adele Lambert CSJ and                                   an early age but                                charism of the           His philosophy, nurtured during his
Kathy Meares for “seeing in me what I did                                those same values                               Sisters of St. Jo-    12-year career in Catholic education,
not see in myself.”                                                      have shaped her                                 seph.                 seeks to develop students’ faith, academ-
   During the past quarter of a century at                               role as an admin-                                  Her       educa-   ics and talents by incorporating the teach-
SJA Andricain said she has learned that                                  istrator.                                       tional philosophy     ings of the Catholic Church.
a Catholic education allows for a culture              Alise Ashford         She said the                                includes “young          “Amidst a global pandemic Catholic
of mutual respect and understanding and                                  values students                Jan Breen        women serving         of Pointe Coupee is carrying out its mis-
an expectation of excellence in all areas of    learn at an early age “enhance a person’s                                the dear neigh-       sion,” Chauvin said.
formation, growth and education.                life.”                                           bor, young women developing their aca-           He is thankful to his faculty and staff,
   She is also proud of being able to keep          Ashford, who is in her first year as prin-   demic potential and young women devel-        the Catholic Schools Office of the Diocese
the school open amid a global pandem-           cipal at Holy Family and seventh overall         oping their leadership skills,” said Breen,   of Baton Rouge staff and the New Roads
ic and having the parents’ trust that the       in Catholic education, said she is most          who has served in Catholic education for      community.
school’s top priority is to continue to keep    thankful to her family for believing that        48 years.                                        As for the immediate future his goal is
                                                                                                    “I am grateful to the Sisters of St. Jo-   to continue “navigating through the pan-
                                                                                                 seph, my parents belief in Catholic edu-      demic waters while always remaining fo-
                                                                                                 cation, Brother Donnan Berry (SC) and         cused on providing a religious, academic
                                                                                                 Brother Francis David (SC).”                  and disciplined Catholic education.”
                                                                                                    Her goal is to continue to further the
                                                                                                 mission of SJA in difficult economic                     Cheryl Domino
                                                                                                 times.                                                REDEMPTORIST ST. GERARD
                                                                                                                                                          ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
                                                                                                             Erin Candilora                                     BATON ROUGE
                                                                                                           ST. ALOYSIUS SCHOOL                                                Redempto-
                                                                                                               BATON ROUGE                                                 rist St. Gerard
                                                                                                                                                                           School principal
                                                                                                                             Erin Candilo-                                 Cheryl Domino
                                                                                                                          ra has spent the                                 has a simple mes-
                                                                                                                          past six years as                                sage for her stu-
                                                                                                                          principal at St.                                 dents, the major-
                                                                                                                          Aloysius build-                                  ity of whom live
                                                                                                                          ing upon her                                     in north Baton
                                                                                                                          philosophy that                                  Rouge, perhaps
                                                                                                                          Catholic educa-             Cheryl Domino        one of the most
                                                                                                                          tion provides the                                impoverished ar-
                                                                                                                          foundation      of   eas of the city worsened by a high crime
                                                                                                      Erin Candilora      faith for students   rate.
                                                                                                                          to be the hope           She simply asks her students to believe
                                                                                                 and light for future generations.             in themselves and take God along as a
                                                                                                    She said what she finds most reward-       partner.
                                                                                                 ing about her career, which has includ-           “My belief in Catholic education is ev-
                                                                                                 ed 28 years in Catholic education, is the     ery child has something that is achiev-
                                                                                                 community’s resolve in managing the           able,” Domino said. “With God on your
                                                                                                 ever-changing expectations while of-          side you can do all things through Christ.
                                                                                                 fering students a safe environment to         He strengthens you.”
                                                                                                 thrive.                                           Her challenges have been many in the
                                                                                                    Candilora is encouraged by the sup-        past two years but she takes pride in the
                                                                                                 port of her home and school families          fact she has been able to navigate the dif-
                                                                                                 and the previous adminstrators who            ficulties of being a first-time principal and
                                                                                                 have served as mentors.                       being strong enough to address myriad of
                                                                                                    Moving forward, she hopes to devel-        challenges.
                                                                                                 op the faith life of the St. Aloysius com-        “I consider and believe that I am a re-
                                                                                                 munity in order to provide hope for the       silient leader,” she said.
                                                                                                 future.                                                     SEE PRINCIPALS PAGE 5B
January 29, 2021                                                      CATHOLIC SCHOOLS WEEK 2021                                                           The Catholic Commentator   5B
PRINCIPALS                                   partners who believe in our mission and          “God is the reason that Catholic schools
From page 4B                                  believe in our students,” said Engemann,      exist,” he said. “Forming a God-centered               Michelle Gardiner
                                              who is in his second year at Cristo Rey as    partnership with educators and parents is           ST. JUDE THE APOSTLE SCHOOL
   She expressed gratitude to Catholic        well as his second year being a Catholic      essential to educate the whole child.”                        BATON ROUGE
Schools Superintendent Dr. Melanie            president.                                                                                                                Michelle Gar-
Palmisano, the entire CSO staff, St. Ge-         His philosophy is to provide a faith-                Angele Fontenot                                                diner’s proudest
rard Majella Church pastor Father Tat         based Catholic education that will im-                   ST. GEORGE SCHOOL                                             moment during
Hoang CsSR, the Friends of Redemp-            power not only academic growth and                           BATON ROUGE                                               the past four
torist and her mentor, Paula Johnson,         achievement but a true desire to fully                                    St.     George                               years as princi-
principal of St. Francis Xavier School in     develop the God-given potential of all the                             School principal                                pal at St. Jude is
Baton Rouge.                                  school’s students.                                                     Angele Fontenot                                 when the school
   Domino also knows her work is not             “We are most proud of our 41 seniors in                             has spent much                                  received the Na-
done and expressed ambitious plans for        our inaugural graduation Class of 2020,”                               of her first year                               tional Blue Rib-
the school’s future.                          Engemann said. “We want to continue to                                 assuring that the                               bon School Award
   “In the next year or two I would like to   grow our student enrollment and build a                                faculty continues         Michelle Gardiner     in 2020. Because
change the climate of the school, to rep-     culture of excellence in our school.”                                  to work together                                of COVID-19 re-
resent a self-worth feeling,” Domino, who                                                                            to map out the       strictions, a limited number of people
has been a Catholic educator for 37 years,               Zachary Fields                                              school’s    entire   were allowed to gather in the school gym
said. “One that we as a school can go and             MATER DOLOROSA SCHOOL                      Angele Fontenot     curriculum.          for the announcement.
compete against anybody.”                                     INDEPENDENCE                                              She said the         “I am most grateful for the faculty,
                                                                           In his first     process has required collaboration, re-       staff, students and parents for their ded-
               Eric Engemann                                            year as principal   flection and meaningful planning and          ication and hard work in realizing the ac-
 CRISTO REY BATON ROUGE FRANCISAN                                       at Mater Dolorosa   added that she is thankful to her staff.      complishment of being named a National
                HIGH SCHOOL                                             School Zachary         “Our teachers are continuously learn-      Blue Ribbon School,” said Gardiner, who
                           As president                                 Fields has cer-     ing and implementing new ways to engage       has spent 16 years as a Catholic educator
                        of Christo Rey                                  tainly been busy.   and instruct students,” said Fontenot,        and 25 overall in education.
                        Baton      Rouge                                   His many ac-     who has been a Catholic educator for all         Her philosophy as a Catholic school ed-
                        Franciscan High                                 complishments       of her 18 years as a professional.            ucator is based on the principle that Cath-
                        School, Eric En-                                include forming        “Catholic schools provide a well-round-    olic schools are the primary instrument
                        gemann presides                                 a new adviso-       ed education for the whole person by ad-      for fulfilling the mission of the Catholic
                        over the most                Zachary Fields     ry board for the    dressing the academic, physical, emotion-     Church,” she said.
                        unique school in                                school and creat-   al and above all spiritual needs of all its      Gardiner said the school plans to inte-
                        the diocese. But      ing a Dad’s Club.                             students,” she added.                         grate a robust technology program which
                        he embraces the           “I am grateful for the support of the        Fontenot’s goal is to continue to sup-     will include a one-to-one student initia-
      Eric Engemann     challenge.            Catholic Schools Office, our pastor (Fa-      port teachers in their teaching practices     tive across all grade levels, which Gardin-
                           “We have been      ther Rueben Dykes) and partnership with       that directly impact learning, resulting      er said “will ensure our students’ success
blessed by God with amazing faculty and       our school stake holders,” said Fields, who   in academic success and Blue Ribbon           in an ever-changing digital era.”
staff as well as families and community       is in his 19th year as a Catholic educator.   (School of Excellence Award).                              SEE PRINCIPALS PAGE 7B

                   T H E  C A T H O L I C
                   C O M M E N T A T O R

        Hot-off the Press &
      Delivered to You for Only
            $14 per year

   TO SUBSCRIBE, CALL 225-387-0983.
6B   The Catholic Commentator                      CATHOLIC SCHOOLS WEEK 2021                                          January 29, 2021

                                                                                                Diocese of Baton
                                                                                                Rouge schools
                                                                                                are nationally

         In 2020, the
                                                                                                          ACT scores in
         Diocese of
         Baton Rouge
                                                    EVANGELIZING                                          the Diocese of
                                                                                                          Baton Rouge are
         Schools had                                  HEARTS                                              above state and
         100 percent
         graduation rate.
                                               EDUCATING MINDS                                            averages.

                                            ENCOURAGING TALENT
                                                      THE FUTURE

     BATON ROUGE                  Catholic Schools                                                       225.336.8735

January 29, 2021                                                        CATHOLIC SCHOOLS WEEK 2021                                  The Catholic Commentator   7B
PRINCIPALS                                              precautions and recommendations regarding
From page 5B                                             COVID-19 safety.
                                                            “We are most grateful to the students, facul-
                     Cheri Gloe                          ty and parents for trusting in the guidelines and
        MOST BLESSED SACRAMENT SCHOOL                    measures set forth to keep our school safe,” he said.
                    BATON ROUGE                             Future goals are to increase St. Elizabeth’s tech-
                             During her five years as    nology use by providing individual devices to stu-
                          principal at Most Blessed      dents from third grade through eighth grade, King
                          Sacrament School, Cheri        said.
                          Gloe has spearheaded the
                          growth of the school by                            Ellen Lee
                          offering two pre-kinder-            ST. MICHAEL THE ARCHANGEL DIOCESAN
                          garten classes and has also                         HIGH SCHOOL
                          added advanced math to                             BATON ROUGE
                          the fifth and sixth grade                                    For the past 10 years,
                          classes.                                                  Ellen Lee has been a sower
                             Those additions are                                    of seeds of spirituality at
        Cheri Gloe
                          testimony to what she be-                                 St. Michael the Archangel
lieves is the foundation of Catholic education.                                     High School, a philoso-
    “I believe that a Catholic school’s main purpose                                phy she has embodied as
is to work with students and families to nurture                                    a Catholic educator for the
Gospel values, academic excellence and a life of                                    past four decades.
prayer and service,” she said. “We are looking for-                                    “Catholic     education
ward to constructing a new multi-purpose build-                                     plants seeds of faith while
ing and renovating classrooms and for seeing what                 Ellen Lee         bringing students closer to
the future brings.”                                                                 Christ and calling them to
    Gloe, who has spent 25 of her 31 years in Catho-     lead a life of service to those in need,” Lee said.
lic education, said she is grateful for the support of      She proudly boasts that St. Michael returned to
Most Blessed Sacrament Church pastor Father Phil         in-person learning at the beginning of the 2020-
Spano, the school’s Council of Education, faculty        21 school year, while keeping students and faculty
and families.                                            safe on campus.
                                                            “Our administrators, faculty, staff, students and
                   Paula Johnson                         families have worked diligently to adjust to health
 ST. FRANCIS XAVIER INTERPAROCHIAL SCHOOL                and safety guidelines during the pandemic,” Lee
                    BATON ROUGE                          said.
                            Despite the global pan-         Regarding the future, Lee said her priority is to
                         demic, St. Francis Xavier       increase “our students’ achievement as measured
                         School was able to cele-        by standardized tests such as the ACT and PSAT.”
                         brate its 100th anniversary
                         in 2020, a source of pride                      Cecilia Methvin
                         for principal Paula John-                 SACRED HEART OF JESUS SCHOOL
                         son.                                                   BATON ROUGE
                            “The entire church/                                        Cecilia Methvin, in her
                         school community was                                       second year as principal
                         around that we made it                                     at Sacred Heart of Jesus
      Paula Johnson      100 years,” she said.                                      School and her 25th year
                            Johnson, who spent the                                  as a Catholic educator, is
majority of her 38-year career as a public educator                                 committed to her philoso-
but has spent the past three at St. Francis, said her                               phy of preparing students
philosophy is to make every decision with the stu-                                  to serve God.

                                                                                                                              King it Up A n
dents at the forefront academically, spiritually and                                   “Students are inspired
socially.                                                                           to strive for academic suc-
   During the next two years she plans to provide                                   cess through a rigorous
                                                                Cecilia Methvin
                                                                                                                         e                  ot
more opportunities for students to increase their                                   curriculum while also de-
prayer life.                                                                        veloping spiritually, phys-         r                     c
   “Additionally I plan to support student goals         ically, emotional, socially and intellectually,” she                           with              h

that include continual improvement,” she said.           said. “Our dedicated faculty and staff have worked
                                                         diligently to provide a quality education to all stu-
                   Dr. Andrew King                       dents in grades Pre-K4 to eighth grade in person                             Choices
               ST. ELIZABETH SCHOOL                      and online during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
                   PAINCOURTVILLE                           She expressed her gratitude to the faculty, staff
                            Catholic education goes      as well as the school’s supportive parents and                              students
                         beyond academics, it also       added her goal is to increase total enrollment and
                         meets the spiritual and         completing the Capital Campaign of making over
                         educational needs of the        classrooms.                                                                    the
                         child in the light of the
                         church’s faith in Jesus, said                   Kristy Monsour                                               diocese.
                         St. Elizabeth principal Dr.               ST. MARGARET OF CASTILLO
                         Andrew King.                                    REACH PROGRAM
                            King, in his first year at      As administrator of St. Margaret of Castil-                Child Nutrition
                         St. Elizabeth and 21st as a     lo REACH Special Education Program, Kristy
     Dr. Andrew King     Catholic educator, said he
                         is proud of his staff’s abil-
                                                         Monsour encounters unique challenges daily.
                                                            Despite those obstacles, Monsour remains
ity to successfully implement the CDC and LDDH                          SEE PRINCIPALS PAGE 8B
8B    The Catholic Commentator                                           CATHOLIC SCHOOLS WEEK 2021                                                                      January 29, 2021

PRINCIPALS                                                  Brian Moscona
                                                         ST. THOMAS MORE SCHOOL
                                                                                                  “We are hoping to earn a second Na-
                                                                                               tional Blue Ribbon School of Excellence
                                                                                                                                                         Kim Naquin
                                                                                                                                                  ST. JOHN PRIMARY SCHOOL
From page 7B
                                                                 BATON ROUGE                   Award,” said Moscona, who has spent                        PRAIREVILLE
                            committed to the                                 In the three      all of his 18 years as a Catholic educa-                             As a 35-year
                            program’s mis-                                years        Brian   tor.                                                              educator, all in
                            sion.                                         Moscona        has                                                                     Catholic schools,
                               “I believe that                            served as princi-              Christine Musso                                         Kim Naquin un-
                            children        are                           pal at St. Thomas          ST. THERESA MIDDLE SCHOOL                                   derstands     that
                            God’s hands on                                More, he, along                        GONZALES                                        Catholic educa-
                            earth,” she said.                             with St. Thom-                                   Christine                             tion provides a
                            “Catholic     edu-                            as More Church                                Musso has de-                            moral foundation
                            cation      allows                            pastor      Father                            voted her entire                         as well as oppor-
                            children to grow                              Michael Alello,                               41-year career to                        tunities for spir-
     Kristy Monsour         in him in a safe,                             have rebranded                                Catholic educa-                          itual growth and
                                                        Brian Moscona                                                                             Kim Naquin
                            nurturing envi-                               the school and                                tion, including                          academic excel-
ronment.”                                                                 were the driving                              the past 15 as      lence.
   Perhaps her proudest moments come              forces to several improvements to the                                 principal at St.        Naquin, the principal at St. John said
when she receives a phone call regard-            campus, including a new playground,                                   Theresa.            the staff has been focusing on strategies
ing admission to the program because              renovation of the existing gym, land-                                    For more than    to improve unpacking standards and up-
of a recommendation from another par-             scaping and an athletic field.                                        four decades she    dating Atlas. She is also grateful for the
ent.                                                  Additionally, Moscona has overseen             Christine Musso    has     witnessed   assistance of her administrative staff.
   “My teachers work hard to ensure               the development of a new logo and web-       first-hand the value of Catholic education       “(We) will continue to refine our mea-
each child has their individual needs             site while technically enhancing com-        on students who have passed through          sured progress strategies,” Naquin said.
met,” said Monsour, who is in her first           munication methods.                          her doors.
year at St. Margaret of Castillo and in               “Partnering with parents to provide          “A Catholic education is steeped in                   Jack Nelson
15th overall as a Catholic educator.              faith format, intellectual development       the love of Jesus Christ and is focused on         ST. MICHAEL THE ARCHANGEL
“This does not go unnoticed in the com-           and cultivation of value as students         students learning how to create a better             DIOCESAN HIGH SCHOOL
munity.”                                          come to know God and his love for him”       world,” Musso said.                                         BATON ROUGE
   She is hoping to add a new special ed-         is the core of Moscona’s Catholic educa-         She noted with pride how the 2019                                     Jack       Nel-
ucation site in the future.                       tion philosophy.                             ACT Aspire scores in every grade level                                 son,     president
                                                      He expressed his appreciation to Fa-     and subject at St. Theresa were above the                              of St. Michael
                                                  ther Alello, school president Greg Bran-     national average this past year.                                       the Archangel,
                                                  dao, an “amazing faculty, supportive             “The faculty has embraced aiding stu-                              believes there is
                                                  families and wonderful students.”            dents to raise ACT Aspire scores since we                              no substitute for
                                                                                               began in 2015,” she said, while acknowl-                               an educational
                                                                                               edging much work remains.                                              environmen-
                                                                                                   She said reading scores need to climb                              tal infused with
                                                                                               and students need to embrace reading                                   the presence of
                                                                                               for comprehension and enjoyment, so                 Jack Nelson        Christ.
                                                                                               that is a priority.                                                       The 25-year
                                                                                                                                            Catholic educator said his philosophy is
                                                                                                                                            “providing an excellent Catholic educa-
                                                                                                                                            tion to all students during a pandemic.”
                                                                                                                                                        SEE PRINCIPALS PAGE 9B
January 29, 2021                                                     CATHOLIC SCHOOLS WEEK 2021                                                        The Catholic Commentator   9B
PRINCIPALS                                                             Chris Porche                         who has spent the past 18 years as a Catholic educator. “The ded-
From page 8B                                                      OUR LADY OF MERCY SCHOOL                   ication of parents, faculty, staff and students allows us to learn
                                                                          BATON ROUGE                        safely in person and incorporate this new technology in a mean-
   He expressed gratitude to his team of admin-                                    Catholic education is     ingful way.”
istrators, teachers, staff, parents and students                               unique in that it provides       Ross said her goal is to continue to update and increase technol-
for preserving and meeting all of the challenges                               an opportunity to teach       ogy in the younger grades.
during these difficult times.                                                  the whole student aca-                                 SEE PRINCIPALS PAGE 10B
   Nelson, who has been at St. Michael for seven                               demically, physically and
months, said his goal is a “continued upward tra-                              spiritually. Additionally,
jectory toward excellence, and sharing the good                                it molds young people
news of St. Michael.”                                                          into great contributors
                                                                               to the world, said Chris
                   Sandy Pizzolato                                             Porche who has spent 35
        ASCENSION CATHOLIC REGIONAL                                            years as a Catholic edu-
                                                             Chris Porche
                     HIGH SCHOOL                                               cator
                  DONALDSONVILLE                                                   During the past five
                             Creating an environ-      years as principal at OLOM, Porche has spear-
                         ment that goes beyond         headed the fundraising and construction of two
                         providing quality aca-        buildings on campus and has also increased the
                         demic is the role of Cath-    school’s enrollment.
                         olic education, according        “I am grateful for God’s grace to accomplish
                         to Ascension Catholic         these things along with the support and prayers
                         principal Sandy Pizzola-      of our families and employees,” Porche said.
                         to.                              He said the school is also in the starting phase
                             “Our role as educators    of developing a robust STEM program.
                         is to live out our Catho-
     Sandy Pizzolato
                          lic faith through our in-                  Danette Ragusa
                          struction and interaction                     ST. JOSEPH SCHOOL
                          with our school commu-                         PONCHATOTULA
nity and beyond,” she said.                                                         Danette Ragusa said
   Pizzolato, who spent the past 10 years as                                     she has is proud of the
principal at Ascension and 16 years as a Cath-                                   growth she has seen of
olic educator, is proud of the continued success                                 her teachers and stu-
the school has achieved with fourth through                                      dents in classroom en-
12th grade students and teachers successfully                                    gagement and how they
trained and implementing the 1:1 Google Class-                                   have increased owner-
room and Google tools to enhance learning.                                       ship of their learning
   “I’m grateful to our teachers to learn the                                    during her seven years as
Google programs necessary in such a short pe-                                    principal at St. Joseph.
riod of time to be able to recall all students,” she         Danette Ragusa         That growth is in line
said. “In the next two years I am anticipating                                   with her philosophy of
implementing STEM activities in all grade lev-         Catholic education.
els PreK-12 with formal training and tools that            “I believe Catholic education is a true reflec-
will enhance teaching and learning.”                   tion of honoring God’s greatest creation – man-
                                                       kind – by nurturing the whole child to flourish in
                    Paula Poche                        all ways,” said Ragusa, who spent 21 years of her
 ST. PETER CHANEL INTERPAROCHIAL SCHOOL                career in public education.
                     PAULINA                               “I am grateful to our teachers who have be-
                          As do many of her            come great models for their students as lifelong
                       Catholic educator peers,        learners and adults of service,” she said. “I an-
                       Paula Poche, principal          ticipate a continued growth in our Catholicity
                       of St. Peter Chanel, con-       through our works of service and focus on family
                       siders her vocation as an       faith formation.”
                       educator a ministry and
                       not a job.                                       Wendy Ross
                          Armed with that be-                     ST. JEAN VIANNEY SCHOOL
                       lief, Poche, who has                             BATON ROUGE
                       spent the past seven of                                      During the coronavi-
      Paula Poche      her 27 years in Catholic                                 rus pandemic, St Jean
                       education at St. Peter, is                               Vianney has continued
able to share her philosophy of faith “with all of                              to provide in-person
my students by word and example.”                                               learning in a safe envi-
   Poche also takes pride in St. Peter being able                               ronment. But the school
to establish a program for two-year-old chil-                                   has also been able to
dren as well as building a new daycare building                                 add technology in grades
and renovating a playground.                                                    fifth through eighth, both
   She expressed her heartfelt thanks to her                                    points of pride for prin-
parents for raising funds to build the new build-            Wendy Ross         cipal Wendy Ross, who
ing and renovate the playground without hav-                                    is in her 15th year as the
ing to tap into the school’s savings.                  school’s top administrator.
   “I want to continue working on improving               “Catholic education allows our students to
technology so we can be more one to one in the         grow spiritually as well as academically in a car-
lower grades,” Poche said.                             ing, secure, faith-filled community,” said Ross,
10B    The Catholic Commentator                                       CATHOLIC SCHOOLS WEEK 2021                                                                       January 29, 2021

PRINCIPALS                                   provide an excellent Catholic education
                                              to all of our students,” Ryals added.
                                                                                            people who have built the foundation for
                                                                                            our present day success,” Schlatre said.
                                                                                                                                                    Donna Wallette
                                                                                                                                                     HOLY GHOST SCHOOL
From page 9B
                                                                                            “I am grateful for the love and sacrifice                      HAMMOND
               Dr. Cindy Ryals                           Cherie Schlatre                    of my family, the support of our school                                  During      her
    ST. ALPHONSUS LIGUORI SCHOOL                 ST. JOHN INTERPAROCHIAL SCHOOL             community and ultimately the guidance                                five years as
             GREENWELL SPRINGS                                 PLAQUEMINE                   of our heavenly father.”                                             principal at St.
                            A 32-year ca-                                Cherie Schla-                                                                           Joseph,        stu-
                         reer spent en-                               tre has spent 15                  Gerald Tullier                                           dents’ scores on
                         tirely in Catholic                           of her 25 years                CATHOLIC HIGH SCHOOL                                        the ACT-Aspire
                         education      has                           as an educator in                     BATON ROUGE                                          have continued
                         formed Dr. Cindy                             Catholic educa-                                  As      Catholic                          to rise.
                         Ryals vision.                                tion, the past 13                             High president,                                  “I am most
                            “Catholic edu-                            as principal at St.                           Gerald Tullier is                            proud that we
                         cation is not sim-                           John.                                         most grateful for            Donna Wallett   have outscored
                         ply here to im-                                 During that                                the     dedication                           the nation in ev-
                         pact knowledge                               time, she has                                 and generosity of     ery subject in all tested grades (third
       Dr. Cindy Ryals   but to inspire and         Cherie Schlatre   gained an under-                              his staff who gen-    through eighth),” Wallette said. “I
                         prepare all stu-                             standing of the                               uinely “love our      would like the school to continue to ex-
dents to learn, to work, to serve God and     importance of building a strong academ-                               students.”            cel on the ACT and to inspire more peo-
to serve one another,” said Ryals, who        ic and spiritual foundation that can only                                At the heart       ple to love the Catholic faith,” she said.
is in her 12th year as principal at St. Al-   come through Catholic education.                    Gerald Tullier    of   Catholic ed-         Throughout her 36-year career as a
phonsus.                                          “Catholic education is vital to help                              ucation is the        Catholic educators, Wallette said her
    Acknowledging the difficulty of edu-      young people grow through rigorous ac-        mission of forming the whole person ac-       philosophy has not altered, promoting
cating students during a worldwide pan-       ademic experiences and faith and more         ademically, socially, physically and spiri-   an environment of loving and learning
demic, Ryals said the faculty, staff and      formation, instilling in them a commit-       tually, Tullier said.                         in Christ through academic excellence,
students have all maintained their Cath-      ment to serve in our communities and             “I am proud that all in our community      Gospel values and a nurturing commu-
olic faith by continuing to attend school     our world,” Schlatre said.                    – students, parents, teachers and alumni      nity.
Mass, prayer services and class retreats.         She said St. John continues to faith-     – have invested in our mission,” Tullier,         “I am grateful to my entire staff for
    “I am grateful to my wonderful faculty    fully provide compassion, support and         who has spent 44 years in Catholic edu-       their determination and diligence, es-
for always having a positive attitude and     education for the school’s families under     cation and the past 15 at Catholic, said.     pecially during the COVID-19 pandem-
making learning as ‘normal’ as possible       what she said are “unprecedented cir-            He anticipated the continued growth        ic,” she said.
during the pandemic,” she said.               cumstances.”                                  of the school’s retreat and service pro-
    “We are looking forward to growing            “St. John school strives to continue      grams and continued improvement in
our campus facilities and continuing to       the legacy of the many religious and lay      college readiness scores.                               SEE PRINCIPALS PAGE 11B

        “Educating the whole child
               in the Catholic tradition
           for a life of meaning and
January 29, 2021                                                                                         CATHOLIC SCHOOLS WEEK 2021                                             The Catholic Commentator   11B
PRINCIPALS                                                        dedicated faculty and staff.”
                                                                      Willis’ goal is to increase the school’s
                                                                                                                        STA’s accomplishments in the next two
                                                                                                                        years, increasing service to the commu-
                                                                                                                                                                  school’s Catholic identity to include prayer
                                                                                                                                                                  for vocations, weekly Mass, student and
From page 10B
                                                                   enrollment to serve even more families in            nity and a continued emphasis on the      staff retreats and campus ministry nights.
         Claire Losavio Willis                                     the Baton Rouge area.
                  HIGH SCHOOL                                                          Tania Woods
                              During      her                          ST. THOMAS AQUINAS REGIONAL
                           four years as                                          HIGH SCHOOL
                           principal at Cris-                                       HAMMOND
                           to Rey, principal                                                     Tania Woods’
                           Claire Willis has                                                 first year at St.
                           met and aptly ad-                                                 Thomas Aquinas
                           dressed several                                                   has been chal-
                           challenges,    in-                                                lenging because
                           cluding oversee-                                                  of the COVID-19
                           ing the move of                                                   pandemic,       but
     Claire Losavio Willis the students from                                                 she talks highly
                           attending classes                                                 of her staff being
in a business park to temporary trailers at                                                  able to provide a
its north Baton Rouge location. The move                                  Tania Woods        quality education
to the business park was necessitated by                                                     for all of the stu-
the flood of 2016, which destroyed the                             dents.
buildings at the former site of Redemp-                               “Students are still high performing ev-
torist High School, where Cristo Rey is                            idenced by three new additions to the 30+
located.                                                           Veritas Club,” Woods said. “I am grateful
    During the past year Willis has also                           to God for his grace, the superintendent
guided faculty and staff through the coro-                         and Catholic Schools Office for their sup-
navirus pandemic. While still following                            port, parents for entrusting St. Thomas
protocols, Cristo Rey was able to hold its                         Aquinas with their students, students for
inaugural graduation in 2020, for which                            rising to the occasion but most impor-
Willis is most grateful.                                           tantly for the staff who has shown nothing
    Even through some of the most diffi-                           but dedication and excellence.”
cult of times, Willis has never waved from                            She said Catholic educators foster op-
her own philosophy of Catholic education.                          portunities leading to optimal growth of
    “A Catholic school provides all families                       students spiritually, academically, social-
access to an excellent education rooted in                         ly and behaviorally, ultimately preparing
Gospel values to prepare children for col-                         them for post-secondary education and
lege and life,” she said. “I am grateful to                        positively contributing to society.
the faith families and benefactors and a                              Woods said her goals are to increase

                                                                 One Family, One Vision—In Christ!
                                                                                        Since 1904

                         Educating and caring for the children of Pointe Coupee
                                 and surrounding areas for 116 years.

                  Spiritual Growth
                                    The gifts of a Catholic education …….
                                                                               Community Service
                                                                                                                              41             Inaugural Graduates in Class of 2020
                    Moral values                                             Extracurricular Activities                     100%             College Acceptance for Class of 2020
                Academic Excellence                                           Parental Involvement
            Higher Education Preparation                                       Committed Faculty                              44             Corporate Work Study Partners
                                                                                                                                                         Earned in 2020-2021 by Cristo
                                          Catholic of Pointe Coupee
                                             405 Louisiana Street                                                          $1.1 million                  Rey students toward their tuition
                                           New Roads, LA 70760
                             Please visit our website or contact us for more information:                                               Be a Part of the Cristo Rey Story.
                               (225) 638-9313                                                                  Learn more at

              Catholic of Pointe Coupee does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin.
12B   The Catholic Commentator                                     CATHOLIC SCHOOLS WEEK 2021                                                                      January 29, 2021

                                                                                                                The body of Christ
                                                                                                                   By Penne Leier               morning, the school begins the
                                                                                                                      Special to                day with Mass, just as before the
                                                                                                              The Catholic Commentator          pandemic. Classes take turns
                                                                                                                                                attending Mass in person, while
                                                                                                              Just like everyone else, the      the rest of the school tunes into
                                                                                                           students of Most Blessed Sac-        the MBS Church YouTube chan-
                                                                                                           rament School in Baton Rouge         nel to attend virtually.
                                                                                                           have had to make adjustments             Thanks to technology, ev-
                                                                                                           to their daily routines because of   eryone is able to listen to God’s
                                                                                                           COVID-19.                            word, sing praise and worship
                                                                                                              Stickers are on the ground ev-    songs and even laugh at Father
                                                                                                           ery six feet, reminding everyone     Phil Spano’s homilies. Once
                                                                                                           to social distance. Signs on the     Mass has concluded, Deacon
                                                                                                           walls of classrooms, the office      Don Musso and Deacon Mark
                                                                                                           and other areas ask students and     Berard bring the ever-present
                                                                                                           faculty wear a mask before enter-    Lord to the students on cam-
                                                                                                           ing. Instead of meeting together     pus. They travel from class-
                                                                                                           as a school for morning assem-       room to classroom, offering the
                                                                                                           bly, announcements, prayer and       body of Christ to every student.
                                                                                                           reciting the pledge are done via         Each Thursday morning, the
                                                                                                           SMART boards. Life isn’t as it       MBS school community is re-
                                                                                                           was last year, but it is as normal   minded that they do not have to
                                                                                                           as it can be these days.             be physically with each other in
Deacon Don Musso gives the Eucharist to McKenzie Chuilli, a student at Most Blessed Sacrament School in         Despite the endless list of     order to truly be together. After
Baton Rouge. Photos provided by Most Blessed Sacrament School                                              adaptations, one thing that has      all, we are the church, the body
                                                                                                           remained a constant at MBS is        of Christ. We are Most Blessed
                                                                                                           the Eucharist. Every Thursday        Sacrament.

                                                                                                          Deacon Mark Berard, left, and Deacon Don Musso Musso deliver the Eu-
                                                                                                          charist to students at Most Blessed Sacrament School in Baton Rouge.
January 29, 2021                                                         CATHOLIC SCHOOLS WEEK 2021                                                              The Catholic Commentator   13B

 Technology helps OLOM students become critical thinkers
          Special to
  The Catholic Commentator

    This year Our Lady of Mercy
School in Baton Rouge launched
a 1:1 iPad program with its mid-
dle school students.
    Each middle school student
now has access to an iPad to use
as a tool in enhancing their ed-
ucation. The goal in bringing a
1:1 iPad program to the students
is to teach them to be critical
thinkers, creators of meaningful
content and also for students to
learn to use technology respon-
sibly to enhance not only their
learning but the world around
    The hope is that by focusing
on these things will not only pre-
pare students for high school but
also for many years beyond.
    Understanding this was an
ambitious goal from the start.
Administrators viewed this pro-
gram as a partnership with all
stakeholders including students,
teachers, parents and school
board members. The process be-
gan by conducting focus groups
with all stakeholders. The input      Middle school students at Our Lady of Mercy School in Baton Rouge uses iPads as part of a 1:1 iPad program. Photo provided by Our Lady of Mercy School
received from students, parents
and teachers was invaluable in        Committee in creating E-Safety         negatives of a digital environ-           OLOM officials said they are        and they are looking forward to
guiding the decision making to        newsletters. The goal is to help       ment and about how their child         excited about all of the possi-        continuing on this journey as a
launching the program.                create an awareness amongst            is interacting with the digital        bilities and opportunities this        community of prayer, knowledge
    After a full semester with        parents of both the positives and      world.                                 program will bring to students         and service.
the devices administrators have
learned a tremendous amount
along the way, including dis-
covering new ways to engage
students daily. Despite the chal-
lenges presented because of
COVID-19, school officials were
grateful that they were able to
launch this program this year
as it has allowed them to con-
tinue educating students largely
uninterrupted. Although teach-
ing students face to face and
shoulder to shoulder rather than
remotely, the addition of this
technology has allowed OLOM
students to continue to thrive ac-
    Now that teachers, students
and the technology team have
gotten their feet wet, so to speak,
they are eager to start the next
semester trying new and inno-
vative ways to utilize technolo-
gy daily with students so they
can have the opportunity to
think critically and creatively.
In an effort to make sure OLOM
students understand the great
importance and responsibility
of being a good digital citizen
Mercy has collaborated with
the School Board’s Technology
14B   The Catholic Commentator                                               CATHOLIC SCHOOLS WEEK 2021                                                                                                     January 29, 2021

 SJA students present research
     in virtual science fair
          Special to                    processes. But with COVID-19            alyzing the students’ research.
  The Catholic Commentator              restrictions prohibiting onsite             The surveys also enabled the
                                        judging, SJA’s science fair coor-       judges to share their comments.
   Each year, students taking           dinators turned to technology to        Scores and comments were sub-
an upper-level honors science           enable the students to showcase         mitted electronically for compi-
course at St. Joseph’s Academy          their research efforts.                 lation.
in Baton Rouge participate in the            Science Fair Coordinator                The process mimics the re-
school’s science fair as the first      Jacqueline Savoia approached            quirements that will be in place
step in attempting to advance to        science teacher Aimee Cronan to         for this year’s regional compe-
the Region VII Science and En-          determine the best way to con-          tition, also virtual, enabling the
gineering Fair at Louisiana State       duct a virtual school fair. Cronan      students to become comfortable
University.                             suggested using Flipgrid to en-         with the online judging process.
     Typically, students present        able the students to submit their           “We felt it was important that
their original research proj-           presentation videos and a shared        the girls follow the same guide-
ects, which they have worked on         drive for uploading their papers.       lines for the school fair to best
during the course of two years, to         Cronan linked the two and            prepare them for regionals,”
a panel of experts from a variety       transmitted them to the judges,         Cronan said. “I’ve been using
of disciplines. The judges come         who were given a week to score          Flipgrid with my own students
to campus to review the projects        the projects. Cronan also set up        since the start of the school year,
and ask participating students          a Google survey for the judges          and I knew it would be the per-
questions about their scientific        with the criteria to use when an-       fect platform for this scenario.”
                                                                                                                                                 Maria Hargrave, an honors science student at St. Joseph’s Academy in
                                                                                                                                                 Baton Rouge, gathers research for her science fair project. Photo provided
                                                                                                                                                 by St. Joseph’s Acadmey
                                                                                                                    Photo by Darlene Aguillard

                                                                                                                                                     Although the process worked        readying their forms for upload.
                                                                                                                                                 seamlessly, there were inherent           Savoia expressed immense
                                                                                                                                                 challenges with condensing two         pride in her students’ resilience
                                                                                                                                                 years’ worth of research into a        in overcoming the challenges put
                                                                                                                                                 three-minute video presenta-           in their paths by the pandemic.
                                                                                                                                                 tion.                                     “This group of girls showed
                                                                                                                                                    “Three minutes is not a long        more grit and determination
                                                                                                                                                 time when you are trying to pres-      than any I have ever seen,”
                                                                                                                                                 ent volumes of work,” Cronan           Savoia said. “The setbacks, dis-
                                                                                                                                                 said. “There was a fine balance        appointment and frustration
                                                                                                                                                 between making sure they cov-          with not being able to complete
                                                                                                                                                 ered everything they needed to         what was originally planned
                                                                                                                                                 get across in those three minutes      were unbelievable. The students
                                                                                                                                                 and trying to talk slowly enough       and I worked hard and worked
                                                                                                                                                 to be understood.”                     together to get everything ac-
                                                                                                                                                      There was a learning curve        complished for our originally
                                                                                                                                                 for the judges, as well.               scheduled fair date.
                                                                                                                                                    “Normally, the judges have a           “We pushed deadlines back
                                                                                                                                                 chance to ask the girls questions      and doubled up on meetings,
                                                                                                                                                 to get clarification on the details,   meeting in person and online.
                                                                                                                                                 but that wasn’t an option this         Many professors were very ac-
                                                                                                                                                 year,” Cronan said.                    commodating of the situation
                                                                                                                                                      To combat this deviation          and were very helpful mentoring
                                                                                                                                                 from the norm, the surveys en-         students and meeting with them
                                                                                                                                                 abled the judges to share com-         online. I do not think I could
                                                                                                                                                 ments and the questions they           be prouder of this very special
    come get in the

                                                                                                                                                 wish they could have asked.            group. These students will move
                                                                                                                                                    “This should give the girls         on to college knowing how to
                                                                                                                                                 a chance to improve their pre-         persevere and overcome despite
                                                                                                                                                 sentations if they are invited to      the obstacles they may face.”
                                                                                                                                                 move on to regionals,” Cronan             Messina agreed. “I was in
                                                                                                                                                 said.                                  total disbelief when I saw what
                                                                                                                                                    Linda Messina, retired SJA          the SJA girls had accomplished
                                                                                                                                                 science teacher and former sci-        in such a short amount of time,”
         OUR LADY OF MERCY SCHOOL                                                                                                                ence fair coordinator, will help
                                                                                                                                                 the students who are advancing
                                                                                                                                                                                        she said.
                                                                                                                                                                                           This year’s science fair was
                                        400 Marquette Avenue
                                                                                                                                                 to the regional fair. She is filling   the largest in school history,
                                    Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70806                                                                                 in while Savoia is on maternity        with 150 projects. Thirty-nine
                                   (225) 924-1054 •                                                                               leave and will assist the students     students will advance to the re-
                                                                                                                                                 in editing their videos based on       gional fair, set for Feb. 22-26 at
   Our Lady of Mercy Catholic School does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin
                                                                                                                                                 the judges’ comments and in            LSU.
January 29, 2021                                                         CATHOLIC SCHOOLS WEEK 2021                                                                       The Catholic Commentator   15B

  Sodality going strong despite current restrictions
        By Ellen Dupiere             the highest ideal of womanhood.
         and Andy Kling                  Sodality members of St. Eliz-
            Special to               abeth School serve the school
    The Catholic Commentator         and community as children of
                                     Mary. It is one of the most im-
    The recent pandemic has left     portant organizations that the
its mark on almost every facet       seventh and eighth graders par-
of life, including Sodality of the   ticipate in at St. Elizabeth. It fos-
Militia of the Immaculata at St.     ters devotion, reverence and love
Elizabeth School in Paincourt-       toward the Blessed Mother.
ville.                                   Our motto is “To Jesus
    Students at St. Elizabeth        through Mary.”
continue to participate in a tra-        Christ is the center of So-
dition that began more than 80       dality devotion and members
years ago. The purpose of the        perform acts of service dedicat-
organization is paramount to         ed to the church. In years past,
the school’s mission of spiritu-     students have adopted nursing
al growth because it focuses on      home residents, participated in
nurturing the spiritual author-      silent protest against abortion,
ity of children. Getting them to     attended the Blue Mass in honor         Sodality at St. Elizabeth School in Paincourtville. Photos provided by St. Elizabeth School
realize they can lead prayer and     of law enforcement officers and
other spiritual activities is tre-   collected items for the local food      placed blessed Miraculous Med-             (Vice Prefect), Aiden Paine,               Krista Naquin, Braydon Romero
mendously powerful. Motivat-         bank.                                   als around the necks of each               Austin Paine (Prefect), Renee              and Hayden Thibodeaux.
ing students to become active            Despite COVID-19 restric-           inductee, as well as offered a             Ryland, Ashley Salazar, Seth                   The Sodality of the Militia
in their faith builds a strong       tions, this expectation of service      blessing for them and the newly            Strubb, Andrew Thibodeaux                  of the Immaculata has been a
foundation for their spirituality    continues. Students attend Fri-         inducted officers.                         (Secretary) and Cecile Thibo-              tradition at St. Elizabeth since
going forward in their life and      day Mass, where members serve              Members of the 2020-2021                deaux.                                     1938. This is an organization
provides a positive model for        as lectors and altar servers. Re-       Sodality of the Militia of the Im-            Seventh-grade     students:             students look forward to par-
younger students in the school.      cently, they participated in the        maculata are as follows:                   Brennan Blanchard, Sarah                   ticipating in as early as the ele-
    The Sodality of the Militia      living rosary with the Silver              Eighth grade students: Chole            Blanchard, Vaughn Blanchard,               mentary grade levels. The school
of the Immaculata is a Roman         Rose. They also created Christ-         Caminita, Haden Cedotal (Trea-             Hunter Borne, Wyatt Diaz, Is-              depends on Sodality members
Catholic Marian Society which        mas cards for other children.           surer), Joshua Delhommer, Alex             abella George, Skylar Granier,             to set an example of kindness
began in 1563 under the leader-          Students wear special attire        Landry (Sergeant At Arms),                 Cooper Hood, Kollin Landry,                and true love for Jesus through
ship of a young Belgian Jesuit,      every Friday to honor the Bless-        Aiden LeBlanc, Lincoln Naquin              Megan LeBlanc, John Lewis,                 Mary, his mother.
Father Jean Leunis, at the Col-      ed Mother. Girls wear powder
legio Romano of the Society of       blue skirts and white tops and
Jesus. Through the centuries,        boys wear khaki pants, white                          St. John Primary                        225-647-2803                       St. Theresa Middle
this ministry spread throughout      dress shirts and powder blue                        37407 Duplessis Rd.                                212 E. New River St.
Europe, India and the Americas.      ties. Members also adorn the Mi-                         Prairieville                                       Gonzales
    In the 1800s, the Children       raculous Medal, which is silver
of Mary Sodalities began in          in color with blue accents and
France. Carmelite nuns from          is suspended from a royal blue
France established schools in        ribbon.
New Orleans and ultimately at            Seventh graders at St. Eliza-
St. Elizabeth School, where the      beth School were inducted into
Sodality tradition continues.        The Sodality of the Militia of
    Sodality is a spiritual orga-    the Immaculata on Friday, Sept.
nization where Catholics act to-     4 at St. Elizabeth Church’s the
gether for the Savior, the Blessed   weekly Mass. Pastor Father Tomi
Mother and the church. The So-       Thomas, with the help of Dea-
dality holds the Blessed Virgin as   con Ehren “Wheeler” Oschwald,

                                                                                                                 SJP: PK4– 3rd grades         STA: 4th—8th grades
                                                                                               Technology in every class     1:1 Laptops 6 –8th grades
                                                                                                                                                            1:1 iPads 4th—8th grades
                                                                                                                          Choir, Band, Athletics, Robotics
                                                                                                           Professional, caring staff      Before & After Care Program

Sodality members Austin Paine and Sister Anija at St. Elizabeth School                  Faith-filled                          Family-oriented                              Future-focused
in Paincourtville.
16B   The Catholic Commentator                                         CATHOLIC SCHOOLS WEEK 2021                                                                     January 29, 2021

                 For pennies a day receive
                the Commentator at home!
                       Serving over 40,000 households of the Diocese of Baton Rouge
                                        with over 150,000 readers.

              For only $14 per year,                               T H E            C A T H O L I C                                                  To advertise,
               receive The Catholic                                                                                                                call The Catholic
                   Commentator                                                                                                                      Commentator
              at your home or office.                                                                                                              at 225-387-0983
                                                    SERVING THE DIOCESE OF BATON ROUGE SINCE 1963
                    To subscribe,                                                                                                                   or e-mail us at
                call 225-387-0983.                                THECATHOLICCOMMENTATOR.ORG                                             

        SUBSCRIPTION:                   Renewal         New Subscription                         TO PAY BY CREDIT CARD, CALL: 225-387-0983

        ENCLOSED  Check                Money order for $14 per person per year.                   I’d like to give a subscription for an additional $14 per year.
            SEND MY SUBSCRIPTION TO:                                                               GIFT SUBSCRIPTION GIVEN BY: _________________________________________

            NAME _______________________________________________________                           RECIPIENT’S NAME _______________________________________________
            ADDRESS _____________________________________________________                          RECIPIENT’S ADDRESS______________________________________________
            CITY __________________________ STATE ________ ZIP ______________                      CITY __________________________ STATE ________ ZIP ______________
January 29, 2021                                                     CATHOLIC SCHOOLS WEEK 2021                                                                            The Catholic Commentator      17B

                                   STM completes gym renovation
  Special to The Catholic Commentator         Church pastor Father Michael J. Alello.
                                                  Additional improvements to the gym
    “This place is soooo beautiful, I could   include the installation of LED lights,
marry it!”                                    painting of walls, removal of outdated
    “Wow, this is amazing!”                   window coverings and acquisition of
    “Oh my goodness! I am so happy my         a new scorer’s table and new sideline
parents donated to help get us a new          chairs.
gym.”                                             GraceHebertCurtis Architects gener-
    “I can run so much faster on this cool    ated the design for the renovation. Al-
floor!”                                       though the timeline for completing the
    “Can’t believe we raised enough mon-      project was ambitious, because of an
ey to get a new gym!”                         amazing group of partners the project
    “We are so lucky!”                        was completed on schedule, opening for
    Following Christmas break, these          students use after Christmas break on
were comments overheard by the St.            Tuesday, Jan. 5.
Thomas the More School in Baton Rouge             The Catholic School Athletic Associ-
teachers when students walked into            ation will resume sports this semester,
their newly renovated gym for the first       so boys basketball and girls volleyball
time.                                         will be the first teams to utilize the new-
    In the midst of a worldwide pandem-       ly renovated space.
ic, St. Thomas More parents, grandpar-            The STM gym was constructed as            GraceHebertCurtis Architects generated the design for the gym renovation for St. Thomas
ents, parishioners and teachers demon-        the original church for the parish in         More School in Baton Rouge. Photo provided by St. Thomas More School
strated incredible generosity this fall,      1960 and was the home to liturgy and
raising just more than $100,000 to            worship until the new church was built        concession stand as part of the “Legacy                      to completion and provides a beautiful
install a new floor and bleachers in the      in 1986. The former church was decom-         Campaign.” This most recent set of proj-                     space for students to enjoy for many
school gymnasium.                             missioned and converted into a gym in         ects brings the gym renovation efforts                       years to come.
    The remaining balance to complete         1987.
the project was covered by parish re-             In 2012, the school renovated the                                                                 Diocese of Baton Rouge
sources approved by St. Thomas More           gym lobby with new bathrooms and a
                                                                                                                                                    Catholic Schools Office

                                                                                                                                        PRINCIPAL OPENING
                                                                                                                                                        2021-22 School Year
                                                                                                                                   St. Thomas More Catholic School
                                                                                                                                                           Baton Rouge, LA
                                                                                                 St. Thomas More Catholic school seeks a joyful, faith-filled, dynamic, and visionary
                                                                                             leader to serve as principal of our parish school, beginning in the summer of 2021.
                                                         For the past                        STM has a rich history of success in the Baton Rouge community, and the parish has
                                                            71 years                         experienced revitalization in the past several years. We seek a leader who will continue
                                                      Holy Family School                     the positive momentum for our community as we move STM forward.
                                                      Has Instilled Values                       The principal serves as the leader and chief executive of the school, reporting
                                                                                             directly to the pastor of STM Church. The ideal candidate will embrace and promote
                                                           Through a
                                                                                             best practices in Catholic elementary education: spirituality, pedagogy, curriculum,
                                                        Comprehensive                        student formation, etc. The ideal candidate will also be an excellent communicator
                                                      PreK4 to 8th Grade                     desiring to partner with parents, to support colleagues, and to nurture students.
                                                          Curriculum                             St. Thomas More Catholic School opened its doors in 1960 and was recognized as
                                                                                             a national Blue Ribbon School of Excellence in 2016. STM currently serves 675
                                                                                             students in PK3 through 8th Grade. The faculty consists of 80 dedicated employees
       Cordially Invites You to                                                              including teachers, teaching assistants, two counselors, two resource teachers, a
             Attend Their                                                                    school nurse, and office staff.
                                                                                             Mission Statement:
             Open House
                                                                                                 St. Thomas More Catholic School is committed to continuing a legacy of excellence
      Thursday, February 4, 2021                                                             in religious and academic education in a nurturing environment that fosters self-disci-
          9:00 AM – 2:00 PM                                                                  pline.
              BY SCHEDULED                                                                   Applicants who meet the following criteria will be considered:
                                                                                                 ● Practicing Catholic
           APPOINTMENTS ONLY                                                                     ● Master’s Degree, able to meet LA non-public requirements
         Contact Mrs. Annette Fitzgerald,                                                        ● Minimum of five years of experience in education, preferably in Catholic schools
           Advancement Director, at                                                              ● Demonstrated leadership ability, preferably in Catholic education
                                                                                                 ● Must be available on or before July 1, 2021
                                                              Mail resumé, letter of interest, philosophy of education, copies of all college transcripts
                                                                                             showing degrees, and three letters of recommendation to:
                                                                                                                                    Catholic Schools Office
                        335 N. Jefferson Ave, Port Allen, LA 70767                                                                  Attn: St. Thomas More Principal Search
                            WWW.HOLYFAMILYSCHOOL.COM                                                                                P.O. Box 2028
                        For additional information, please contact                                                                  Baton Rouge, LA 70821-2028
                                                                                               Evangelize Hearts, Educate Minds, Encourage Talent, and Embrace the Future
                        Annette Fitzgerald, Advancement Director                            The schools of the Diocese of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, admit students of any race, color, national and ethnic
                                      (225) 344-4100                                        origin to all rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at its
                                                                                            schools. They do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin in administration of educa-
              Holy Family School has a non-discriminatory admissions policy.                tional policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school administered
You can also read