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Everything listed under: Joe Therber

  • Scecina embarks on summer projects

    Leffler Scholarship recipient Will Ferree (left) with Coach Ott Hurrle.

    Leffler Scholarship recipient Will Ferree (left) with Coach Ott Hurrle.

    Greetings!

    I hope everyone is enjoying the summer break and getting some deserved rest and relaxation.

    Work on a couple of exciting and important summer projects is well underway for the benefit of the Scecina experience for all our students, staff and visitors.

    The full-scale library renovation is underway and will result in a transformed technology-rich, college preparatory learning and meeting space for our students and community groups. We also soon will begin replacing and repairing sidewalks around the perimeter of the school.

    Looking even further ahead, Scecina recently presented our Exploration, Discovery, and Financial Feasibility Study Report regarding the next phase of our educational and facility improvements to the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. The report and consultant recommendations reflected input from a variety of sources, including more than 130 personal interviews and mailed surveys. Scecina’s Board of Directors and administration are now in forward-looking conversations with the archdiocese about Scecina future.

     Lastly, I want to thank all who participated in or were sponsors for the Alumni Golf Classic that was held June 17 at West Chase Golf Club in Brownsburg. This was the first year the Classic was played at West Chase, owned by Scecina alumni Rick ’69 and Patti (Nonte) Smith '71. The Classic, besides being a fun time for Scecina alumni and friends, funds the annual Kenneth R. Leffler Scholarship. The scholarship is awarded to an incoming senior who excels in academics and leadership and is the child or grandchild of a Scecina alumnus. The scholarship also reflects the values Mr. Leffler encouraged as a teacher, coach, and friend. This year’s recipient is Will Ferree (pictured above with Coach Ott Hurrle). Congratulations, Will!

    Enjoy the rest of your summer; please look for more library transformation updates; and may peace be with you and your families!

    Joe Therber
    President

  • Giving We Receive: The paradox of being generous


    The new book "The Paradox of Generosity," by University of Notre Dame professors Christian Smith and Hilary Davidson, explains data and research that show how and why people give and how being generous affects  our well-being.

    Can generosity be learned? Yes, according to Notre Dame professor Christian Smith. Smith is co-author of the book “The Paradox of Generosity: Giving We Receive, Grasping We Lose” and gave a lecture recently at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. Smith cited his research showing how our parents, our social networks and the calls to give that we hear in our faith communities heavily influence whether we become people who happily give back to their communities and to charities.

    And people who are generous are happier and healthier, Professor Smith has found. No matter their income levels or bank accounts, they believe they live lives of abundance and want to share those blessings with others.

    Generosity comes to mind now, while we are in the midst of our annual Campus Crusade. Our students will participate in the annual walkathon on May 11. They are seeking pledges to raise money for their school. Through Campus Crusade, we hope to inspire our students to learn the value of giving back. They have been encouraged to share the news of their Scecina experience with others to emphasize the value of a Catholic education.

    The students themselves experience generosity every day at Scecina: the legacy of Father Thomas Scecina’s selfless service to others; Scecina’s programs, facilities and tuition assistance that are the tangible effects of many generous donors; the teachers, advisors and coaches who give up their own time to help students. In return we want our young people to learn to “pass it on.” We hope giving and generosity become second nature to them.

    We learn through our Catholic-Christian faith that it is through giving that we receive. It’s a lesson that many of you can attest to in your personal lives. In “The Paradox of Generosity,” Professor Smith and co-author Hilary Davidson write:

    “Giving money, volunteering, being relationally generous, being a generous neighbor and friend, and personally valuing the importance of being a generous person are all significantly, positively correlated with greater personal happiness, physical health, a stronger sense of purpose in life, avoidance of symptoms of depression and a greater interest in personal growth.”

    On May 11, we’re walking together, in the spirit of community and generosity, for our school, Scecina Memorial High School. It’s just one way we at Scecina teach students to look and to give extra beyond themselves as servant-leaders.

    These are the moments we hope will become fond memories and will influence a new generation of generous givers.

    Thank you very much for being generous givers and for providing opportunities for the students of today to learn this habit and shape our world of tomorrow.

    Blessings to you and yours,

    Joe Therber
    President

  • Father Scecina Magazine Winter 2015 Special Edition

    Father Scecina Magazine 2015

    This special edition of the Father Scecina Magazine focuses on history. History fascinates almost everyone. We love the History Channel. We love watching movies like “Unbroken” and television documentaries on the Roosevelts. Books like “American Sniper,” recently made into a feature film, fascinate us.

    Our new Scecina Story project satisfies our desire to learn about our origins and traditions. More importantly, they inspire us. I invite each of you to visit the school, see our tributes to Father Thomas Scecina and the Sisters of Saint Francis Oldenburg on the first floor of the main building and reflect on the stories that are told.

    So why do we study history? And why are we making a big deal out of the life and death of Father Scecina, the school’s namesake, and the decades of service from the Sisters of Saint Francis Oldenburg? After all, Father Scecina never stepped foot on this campus and the Sisters are no longer here. Why now?

    The answers are pretty straightforward, and at Scecina we think history will help our students understand their place as Christians walking in a world of constant change.

    The study of history shows us what it means to be human. Through history we see the good and the bad aspects of humanity. To paraphrase the historian R.G. Collingwood, “History is for human self-knowledge. The only clue to what women and men can do is what women and men have done.” In telling the stories of Father Scecina and the Sisters of Saint Francis Oldenburg, we are calling attention to them. Most importantly, we are saying it is possible to live in service to God and others.

    History helps us be better citizens. Thomas Jefferson thought history was very important for educating citizens. As citizens, it is important to remember that 1,792 American prisoners of war died on the Arisan Maru at the end of World War II. Father Scecina administered last rites to many U.S. POWs before the ship sank. He died with them. These men were the heroes of Bataan, Corregidor, and the Philippine campaign. What does this teach us about being citizens? Freedom is not free.

    History helps us see things over time. It helps us see ourselves as part of something bigger than we are. For Christians, the Incarnation—Christ coming into the world—is the most important event in human history. Father Scecina is part of that continuing story. He gave his life for his friends. To recognize his service to God, country and his friends, the Archdiocese of Indianapolis named our high school after him. Over 800 years ago, St. Francis of Assisi founded the Franciscan movement to follow Christ by living the Gospels. The Sisters of Saint Francis Oldenburg are part of that story. The Scecina community, all 7,500 plus, are part of these continuing stories.

    I am grateful to the sponsors of the Scecina Story project. Without their support we would not be able to tell the stories of Father Scecina and the Sisters of Saint Francis Oldenburg. I also am grateful for the support of the Scecina Veterans Committee and its efforts to raise money for the bust of Father Scecina. These are your stories, my story, our stories.

    God Bless,

    Joe Therber
    President

    P.S. To view the new special edition of the Father Scecina Magazine 2015 and Annual Report, please click here.

  • Christian Service Program

    Scecina students and staff volunteered at St. Elizabeth Coleman during the 2014 Day of Service.

    Scecina students and staff volunteered at St. Elizabeth Coleman during the 2014 Day of Service.

    Dear Crusader Community,

    Scecina’s mission statement calls us to motivate our diverse and gifted community of students to “live as servant leaders in the inspiring footsteps of Father Thomas Scecina.” Our Christian Service program plus daily opportunities to live and learn in a spirit of service are integral to our success in living this mission.

    During the last five years, the Christian Service program has successfully provided numerous service and reflection opportunities for our students and staff. Looking back further, our students have engaged in invaluable community service for decades.

    As we implement our Strategic Growth Plan, we will take a fresh look at the program to continue its strengths and to update or improve it where most valuable for our students and community. We will partner with Catholic School Management, Inc. (CSM). CSM works with Catholic elementary and secondary schools nationwide. Therefore, this relationship provides an opportunity to learn from successful Christian service programs nationally and to look ahead in light of our updated (2013) school mission statement.

    CSM and we want to engage many stakeholders in this endeavor. Therefore, during the second week of Lent on March 2, 3, and 4, two CSM representatives will be on campus to invite the viewpoints and inputs of faculty, students, parents, administrators, East Deanery clergy, Board members, and other friends of the school pertaining to Christian service as a core feature of the Scecina experience. Letters of invitation have been extended to members of these constituent groups to ensure a combination of random selection and broad-based representation. We will then receive a report from CSM with their commendations and recommendations.

    Please pray for this worthy undertaking that is at the heart of a Catholic school education. With your help, we will continue to live the school’s vision to “go forth to transform the world inspired by the light of Christ.”

    Sincerely yours,

    Joe Therber
    President

  • It's All About Relationships

    SMHS students celebrated Mass outside at Turkey Run State Park

    Catholic Christians begin prayer by saying, “In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” These words identify the person praying as a Catholic. Those simple words remind Catholics of the Blessed Trinity and to do everything in the name of the Lord.

    The Trinity is a gift and the model for all relationships. It is a model that emphasizes love and unity. This one relationship sets the standard. It is a challenging standard. Every day and in every way, it demands much of all Catholics and everyone who serves in Catholic schools.

    Every Catholic school takes on the challenge of nurturing students to have life-giving and loving relationships. In that way, all Catholic schools are the same. Schools differ, however, in how they address the challenge.

    Today, as has been the case since 1953, our mission, vision and values guide our efforts to help students love God, themselves, others, and all of Creation. These values say, “Inspired by our Lord Jesus Christ and his servants Father Thomas Scecina and the Sisters of Saint Francis, we embrace:

    • Vocation:  Honoring and living according to the unique gifts that God has given us in keeping with the teachings and values of the Catholic faith
    • Servant Leadership:  Following Jesus’ example of meeting people’s needs and helping them fulfill their highest destinies
    • Stewardship:  Receiving, cultivating, and sharing God's gifts gratefully and generously
    • Excellence:  Living the Gospel and attaining the best possible results in all that we do.

    These values guide us as we prepare students to be Crusaders, not just now, but forever. We want our students and graduates to do the right thing for God, themselves, others, and creation. We want them to be servant leaders.

    What is a servant leader? I would suggest that the answer includes being a person who is committed to meeting the highest priority needs of others. We prepare students to make the world better. We want them to build and nurture relationships that are based on a love of God, themselves, others, and creation.

    We begin by focusing on each student. Teachers and staff help students appreciate their uniqueness and cultivate their talents and gifts to the fullest. They help students strive to be all that God wants them to be. This spirit of servant leadership is why we are developing individual success plans for students. It is why we are strengthening our guidance program. It is why we had a spiritual retreat for faculty and staff at the beginning of the school year so that we can reflect upon our important ministry in the world.

    We help students love God through study and worship. We are blessed to have a strong Catholic Theology program, vibrant Campus Ministry offerings, and many priests from the East Deanery who care deeply about our students. We have a Mass in the gym almost every week during the school year. This week, our seniors are on a spiritual retreat. For many, it is the high point of their senior year. Please remember them in your prayers while they are making this spiritual journey.

    We help students appreciate others, for example, their teachers, coaches, family, classmates, and friends. Each person, after all, has vast dignity as creation of God that contains a spark of the divine. We help others in need through community service such as the food drive that is in progress. And, we are a diverse group. If you were to walk our halls between classes you would see that we look like the world, a happy world with lots of smiles.

    We are more than just a school. We are a Catholic ministry, which means that we are to foster affirmation in the midst of our strengths and forgiveness in the midst of our imperfections. Counting students, teachers, staff, parents, and alumni, we are a community of more than 7,500 persons strong.

    As a community, we gather at Mass to praise and worship God on Wednesdays in the gym. We gather at football and basketball games and other sporting events to cheer our teams and see our friends. We gather at Commencement to celebrate the present and the future, and to remember days gone by. We gather to celebrate Father Tom Day and the veterans who served our nation. We gather at Club 53 to relax and dance—some well and some not caring so much about their gracefulness.

    We want our students to love all of creation. We have an excellent science curriculum, which includes a series of biomedical science courses that can result in college credit. And, it is not all about studying. For example, recently our Campus Ministry staff led a weekend outing to Turkey Run State Park. The pictures on Facebook and Twitter showed our students enjoying God’s creation, enjoying each other, hiking, and just having a good time.

    Teaching young people to love God, themselves, others, and creation is a very challenging undertaking. When we succeed, our graduates are uniquely prepared to continue building positive relationships after they leave Scecina. The Trinity and the Catholic education that they have received become the rock upon which they can live their lives to the fullest and make the world a better place.

    For those of you who live in central Indiana, let me double back and mention community again. On Tuesday, November 5 we will celebrate Father Tom Day, and Archbishop Tobin will celebrate Mass with priests of the East Deanery. This year marks the 70th anniversary of Father Tom’s death at sea during World War II. We will gather at 9:30 am. You can RSVP online. It would be great if you could attend. And I hope to see you at Club 53 on Saturday evening, November 15. You can purchase tickets online.

    Thank you for your part in our Crusade and for supporting our Crusader students of today.

    Sincerely,

    Joe Therber
    President