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 President Therber can be contacted by email at or by  telephone at 317.352.3282

  • Congratulations to the Class of 2015


    Scecina Memorial High School Valedictorian Robert "Bo" Addison Leszcynski gives his address to his fellow classmates.

    I delivered these remarks at Scecina's 59th Commencement on May 22, 2015:

    Good evening. In a few moments, the Class of 2015 will begin the next stage of their lives as proud Scecina alumni. As that moment nears, I want to offer thanks to those who have made this occasion possible for them:

    To Archbishop Tobin: For your service, wisdom, and guidance in leading the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.

    To East Deanery pastors, principals and members of the Scecina Board of Directors: For preparing and guiding so many of our students, and for supporting our school as an anchor for the people of the Eastside and our city.

    To our graduates’ teachers, family members, and friends: For educating and supporting the Class of 2015.

    To all of the parents: For believing in your children and sacrificing your time, energy, and treasure so that your children can receive a Scecina education in spirit, mind, and body.

    To the Class of 2015, you have earned many achievements during your years here. For example, you have:

  • Become champions in academic competitions
  • Earned a record dollar amount in college scholarships.
  • Strengthened our Eastside and city communities through your acts of Christian service
  • Prayed every day and worshipped every week of high school
  • Experienced two exciting state championship football games; city championships and a state title in softball, a high state-wide ranking in boys basketball, and many advancements in state tournaments for individual sports. 
  • Inspired us with your musical and theatrical talents.     

    The real value, though, of a Scecina education runs deeper than numbers or trophies. That deeper value lies in recognizing the dignity in every person while living your faith through acts of service.

    As Pope Francis told young people at this year’s World Youth Day:

    “Challenge yourselves, and with a pure heart do not be afraid of what God is asking of you! From your ‘yes’ to the Lord’s call, you will become new seeds of hope in the Church and in society. Never forget: God’s will is our happiness!”

    I know you, as Crusaders, are up to this way of life and all the challenges, known and unknown, that lay before you now.

    Soon, you will walk outside as Scecina alumni. You are forever fortunate to bear the “Scecina” name, the name of a devoted, heroic, even saintly, Christian and patriot.

    Father Tom, who served as a United States Army chaplain during World War II with its indescribable cruelties, probably lived with fear. We can easily think of him as a neatly dressed and comfortable man, as the pictures in our main hallway indicate. A book titled "Ghost Soldiers," though, paints a completely different picture. "Ghost Soldiers" tells very detailed stories of United States and Filipino soldiers fighting, falling, becoming unspeakably ill, praying, dying, and surviving exactly when and where Father Tom did. The stories of the physical and mental torture they endured cause great sorrow and gratitude to spring up inside you at the same time. To wrestle these challenges to the ground, Father Tom and his unit soldiers must have drawn upon immense courage, faith, and commitment to service.

    Father Tom’s story proves that the fullness of our lives is not measured in years alone; his was only 34 years, yet his transcript of service and love has enriched the world for over a century.

    He continues to enrich the Crusader community today. I’ll give you an example. Historically, many military units have issued challenge coins that bear the unit’s insignia or emblem. Challenge coins are presented to members of the unit in recognition of their achievements and to prove membership in the group. In other words, a challenge coin says that you are a member and have met the challenge.

    Scecina’s Veterans Committee thought it would be appropriate to give each new Scecina graduate a challenge coin commemorating the life of Father Tom and his service to God, country and neighbor. This summer, each Crusader from the class of 2015 will receive a challenge coin depicting Father Tom, the school’s crest, and words of encouragement to live in service to God, country, and neighbor. I hope it reminds you of his faith-filled service and inspires you to make those virtues your own.

    On behalf of everyone at Scecina Memorial High School and our entire community, thank you, congratulations, and may you rise to life’s joys and challenges as courageous Crusaders always.

  • 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

  • Scecina Parent Ambassador Team

    Our Parent Ambassadors help out at various events throughout the school year, like student orientation.

    The role of parental involvement in education is a key element for student success. We at Scecina honor the role of parents and guardians as the first and primary educators of their children.

    Actively engaged parents are critical in helping establish and sustain healthy, ongoing relationships among students, parents and school staff. Therefore, we are forming a new organization known as the Scecina Parent Ambassador Team.

    The Parent Ambassador Team will have four focus areas. These areas, with an example for each category, are:

    1. School and Family Communication: Welcome calls to new families

    2. Special Events: Open House and Club 53 involvement

    3. Affirming School Staff: Back to School Night dinner for staff and Teacher Appreciation Week luncheon

    4. Legislative Affairs: Keeping school families informed of legislative opportunities that have the potential to impact Catholic schools like Scecina.

    We would define a good parent leader as someone who:

    • Believes in the mission of Scecina.
    • Will enlist other volunteers and is a good delegator.
    • Likes to affirm and thank fellow volunteers.
    • Will work collaboratively with the school staff.


    If you have questions about the Parent Ambassador Team, please feel free to contact President Joe Therber  ( or Julanne Sausser (, the current chairperson.

    Again, we value your input and your involvement in our school. 

    Sincerely yours,

    Joe Therber

  • 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

    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

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