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Everything listed under: Joe Therber

  • Principal Search Committee begins its important work


    In November we announced that we would be searching for a new principal for the 2017-18 school year. I’m pleased to tell you that the Principal Search Committee has been formed and I’d like to update you on the purpose of the committee and the search process. 

    First, I want to thank the 13 members of the Search Committee. They are women and men of racial and ethnic diversity and include an East Deanery pastor and principal, parents and past parents, alumni, Board members, East Deanery parishioners, an archdiocesan high school principal, a young Scecina alumna, leaders with experience in education, a retired Scecina teacher, two assistant superintendents from the Archdiocese’s Office of Catholic Schools, and me. 

    The committee’s essential purpose is to recommend the most qualified person to serve and enhance the Scecina community by:

    • Carrying out its work faithfully to the mission of Scecina as well as best practices in Catholic high school education
    • Recommending candidates to be interviewed
    • Participating in telephone and in-person interviews
    • Recommending finalists to the Scecina president, who will ultimately make a hiring decision in concert with the Office of Catholic Schools and Scecina Board of Directors. The process may include an opportunity for the finalist(s) to meet and interact with a group of Scecina staff members before a hiring decision is made.

     The Search Committee has held its organization and orientation meeting. Our time together included reflection and discussion of the Scecina mission, vision, and core values; the National Standards and Benchmarks for Effective Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools (; the Scecina principal role description, and a summary of 500 survey responses regarding Scecina’s strengths, areas for growth, and the attributes that stakeholders value in the role of principal.

    We are scheduling telephone interviews and the first round of in-person interviews will be held in March. We hope to reach a hiring decision during May.

     Thank you for your interest in this process, and please pray for the committee to have the blessings of wisdom, collaboration, and insight. Please feel free to contact me at if you have any questions about the process.


    Joe Therber

  • Lent at Scecina offers several opportunities to deepen faith


    The upcoming season of Lent offers more opportunities for Scecina students and staff to experience and live our Catholic Christian identity than at any other time during the school year. 

    Lent is the period before Easter that we Christians devote to fasting, abstinence, and penitence. As Pope Francis has said, "Lent comes providentially to reawaken us, to shake us from our lethargy." The period commemorates Christ’s fasting in the wilderness. Lent begins with Ash Wednesday. 

    Director of Campus Ministry Maria Siap again has produced a Lenten schedule that will deepen the spiritual experience for our school. We’ll be able to adore, to confess, and to reflect collectively and individually. 

    Our Ash Wednesday service next week at 9:35 a.m. will be led by Father Paul Koetter of Holy Spirit Parish. 

    On Friday March 3 we will mark the Stations of the Cross, or the Way of the Cross. You can learn more about this Catholic devotion that follows Jesus’ last day at .

    We have set aside two days, March 9 and March 16, for adoration in our chapel in St. Francis Hall. Theology classes will rotate so that someone is continuously with the Blessed Sacrament. Students also can receive passes to pray in the chapel. 

    The gymnasium will become a solemn space for reflection and prayer on during students’ resource periods on March 31. Several priests from the East Deanery parishes will be with us. Students can use the space to examine their conscience and receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Students who are not Catholic also may speak with one of the priests during this time, if they wish. 

    Our Lenten observance as a school will conclude on April 14 with our Good Friday service at 12:10 p.m. in the gym. You are welcome to join us. 

    If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Mrs. Siap at

    Again, our Lenten practices are an important facet of being a great Catholic high school. I wish you and your family peace this Lenten season. I also invite you to the baseball team’s Ash Wednesday Fish Fry from 4:30 to 8 p.m. March 1 in the cafeteria. This is a great tradition for breaking your fast on Ash Wednesday. 

    Joe Therber

  • Your feedback helps Scecina provide the best education

    Science teacher Mrs. Dee Ann Sinclair  in her Scecina classroom. 


    For the fourth consecutive year, we invited parents, students and staff in December to take part in our Net Promoter Score survey. This input opportunity shows us what we’re doing well at Scecina Memorial High School, as well as the areas where we can improve in our service to students and families.

    In the survey, parents are asked one simple question: "As a parent, how likely is it that you would recommend Scecina Memorial High School to your family, friends, and colleagues?" Respondents rate their likelihood to promote on a scale of 1 to 10. They explain why they selected 10 or what areas need to be addressed in order for their rating to be a 10.

    Conducting the Net Promoter Score survey, a customer loyalty metric, is an initiative of Scecina's Strategic Growth Plan. Thank you to all who took the time to complete the survey. Several of you also left compliments about the job we’re doing at Scecina. Here are a few of those positive comments from parents:

    • “Because SMHS is small, the staff and faculty know the students, and every student has the opportunity to participate in many things (sports, music, etc.).” 
    • “Very happy with how my children who graduated from Scecina have done in college.” 
    • "I think Scecina offers the best education and spiritual guidance these students need. Faculty is awesome!” 

    The results also show your feedback on areas where you believe we can improve. Again, thank you for this valuable input. You can read more about the survey and the results at -saying

    Implementing this survey also reinforces one of Scecina’s Core Values, Excellence: Living the Gospel and attaining the best possible results in all that we do. 

     Thank you for sharing for insights with us, and God bless you and your families, 

    Joe Therber

  • Catholic Schools: Communities of Faith, Knowledge and Service

    The Motherhouse of the Sisters of St. Francis in Oldenburg, Ind. Several of the sisters will come to Scecina on Jan. 29, 2017, for a special viewing of "A Sign of The Cross," a film that documents the Sisters' history.


    We're celebrating National Catholic Schools Week from Jan. 29-Feb. 4. This year’s theme is “Catholic Schools: Communities of Faith, Knowledge and Service.” We exist for these reasons! 

    It’s fitting during Catholic Schools Week that we honor a community of women who each day live out their commitment to faith, knowledge and service. Since the late 1950s, the Sisters of St. Francis, Oldenburg, have profoundly touched the lives of many who walked the halls of Scecina Memorial High School. The Sisters served Scecina as administrators, teachers, friends, coaches and mentors. Our school’s connection to the Sisters remains special to this day.

    On Sunday, January 29, Scecina hosted a viewing of “A Sign of The Cross,” a documentary about the Sisters of St. Francis, Oldenburg, that already has appeared on PBS. The film was written, directed and produced by a Scecina graduate, Jeannine “Andy” Murphy, and is narrated by local TV anchor Debby Knox. 

    More than 50 years after she graduated from Scecina, Andy still felt a close connection to the Sisters and was moved to tell their story. Her 50-minute film documents the Sisters’ incredible 165 years of history, not just in Indiana and at Scecina, but across the world. 

    Most of you likely have seen the display wall in our main hallway that pays tribute to the Sisters and their service to our school. If you haven’t seen it, I encourage you to stop in and take a moment to learn more and reflect with us.

    Also at Scecina during Catholic Schools Week, we explored vocations. Fifth-graders from our partner schools joined Scecina students to hear a panel discuss vocations. Our second annual vocations panel included a priest, a nun, a married couple and a deacon. 

    I can repeat and write plenty of superlatives about our school and Catholic education in general. I think the Catholic Schools Week theme sums up what matters most: faith, knowledge, service. Thank you for choosing Catholic schools!;

    Joe Therber

  • Scecina builds international relationships

    Father Jerry Kirkhoff (left) led the school in a special blessing for Principal John Hegarty. Mr. Hegarty is headed to China for 17 days.

    Dear Scecina community, 

     After our weekly Mass on Tuesday, All Saints Day, our celebrant, Father Jerry Kirkhoff, offered a special blessing for Principal John Hegarty. More about that blessing in a moment. 

    Father Jerry is definitely linked to Scecina. If your mother or father was a student at Scecina in the 1970s or 1980s, chances are he or she knew Father Jerry as the school chaplain. Father also has been the pastor at St. Philip Neri, so if you attended St. Philip as a student or are a parishioner there now, you share that common bond with him. His sister is also a Scecina graduate.

    Father’s special blessing pertains to an opportunity we have decided to explore after seeking the input of many people. It has the potential to expand our service to others and to make our academic program and cultural diversity even stronger. We enroll students not only from various corners of Indianapolis, but also from various corners of the world. Now, for example, from France, China, and India; and we have enrolled students from other countries through the years. This diversity expands our horizons academically, culturally, and socially. This fall, we have been in conversation with the Archdiocese and our Board of Directors about the possibility of making our international student program even more robust. 

    A couple of weeks ago, an international organization visited Scecina and liked the hospitality of our people, the appearance of our facilities, and our overall environment. They were so impressed with our school that they contacted us the next day with an invitation. This invitation involves a trip to China to learn about Chinese culture and to present Scecina to educators and students who may be interested in attending our school. 

    This trip has the potential to increase our understanding of our international students' native environments, and to increase the number of people who are aware of Scecina across the globe. 

    Because of his knowledge of international affairs and international students, as well as this enthusiasm for Scecina, Mr. Hegarty kindly has agreed to represent Scecina on this trip and to look into ways for us to serve international students further and benefit from their presence here at Scecina now and in the years ahead. The trip begins on Thursday, Nov. 3. 

    I thank Mr. Hegarty for representing Scecina in China this month and ask us all to pray that he will enjoy safety and new relationships during the next two and a half weeks. 

    Joe Therber