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

  • Affirming Academic Excellence

    On April 28, at our President’s Academic Excellence Awards, Scecina Memorial recognized 62 outstanding young people for their academic performance during the 2013-2014 school year. These students, in-turn, honored the individuals whom they believed to be influential in their success. My remarks from that evening follow:

    “As we begin, Mr. Hegarty and I wish to convey a sincere thank you and a couple words of encouragement to the honorees this evening.

    First, we thank you. You bring an outlook, a presence, a set of talents and abilities, and a willingness to learn and lead by example that motivates and inspires your peers, younger students (who don’t know you, but who read or hear about your accomplishments), and us as adults. You inspire our hope and faith in the future.

    We are all blessed to have you in this school community. Your abilities to achieve goals contribute significantly to your classrooms, teams, families, and communities outside of school. Years later—and this will happen—your classmates, friends, and teachers will remember your values and your spirit as much as or more than your specific accomplishments. So stay faithful to why you do what you do, not just what you choose to achieve.

    Our encouragement is to affirm you in placing your academic pursuits within the context of Christian faith.

    A giant in the history of the Catholic Church, Saint Thomas Aquinas, wrote centuries ago that, "Reason needs the guidance of faith to do its best."

    You know that the gift of your mind and its ability to reason come from God. When you look at your awards, display them, or wear the senior ring, we hope that you see in them the God who has blessed you with powerful abilities, the unity of reason and faith within you, the people who are here with you tonight, and everyone who has helped you along your way.”

    View the photo gallery of our 2014 President’s Academic Excellence Awards.

  • Father Paul Koetter Honored by NCEA

    Talk about an experience I will never forget! I was in Pittsburgh this week for the National Catholic Education Association Convention, a gathering of thousands of workers in the vineyard—bishops, priests, central office personnel, school administrators, teachers, catechists, and volunteers. On Tuesday night, I attended an awards program as “one of our own” received a Distinguished Pastor Award for his support of Catholic education at the local level.

    Monsignor Paul Koetter, or Father Paul, Pastor of Holy Spirit Church on the Eastside, deservedly and humbly received this national award. Father Paul is a tremendous servant of God. His pastoral heart, keen mind, and administrative abilities are wonderful gifts that strengthen Holy Spirit Parish and Scecina Memorial High School. As the masters of ceremonies were describing Father Paul, they testified to his collaborative style, vision, and commitment to Catholic education for children of a wide range of backgrounds and talents.

    I felt very grateful to have worked alongside Father in recent years. As Dean of the East Deanery, Father Paul’s role includes being an advisor to the President of this high school—and an important part of my annual goal-setting and performance appraisal process along with the members of our Board of Directors and the archdiocesan Office of Catholic Education. If it is good to be in the midst of many smart and dedicated people, then I have no worries!

    The evening was a great reflection of family and community. Father Paul’s sisters, brother, and in-laws were present to support him. Principal Rita Parsons of Holy Spirit Parish (a 1976 Scecina graduate); archdiocesan education leaders Harry Plummer, Gina Fleming, and Rob Rash; and other friends attended the awards program, too.

    When you see Father Paul, give this Distinguished Pastor a pat on the back for being the true servant of God and supporter of Catholic education that he is!

  • Our Shared Vision

    Who do you want to become? What legacy do you want to leave for the world? These are questions of vision.

    The theme of our Strategic Growth Planning process was Uniting People. Faith. Vision. We are about uniting the people of our community around the Faith of our Church to build a shared vision for our future. Along with Scecina Memorial's mission and core values-which I touched on in previous posts-our new Strategic Growth Plan provides an updated vision for our school. Our vision statement reads:

    Welcoming all who desire our Catholic education, we are the school of choice for students and families seeking unique moments to learn, grow, and go forth to transform the world inspired by the light of Christ.

    How does a school measure its effectiveness and improve in living according to its vision?

    The Net Promoter Score survey is an instrument that the Harvard Business Review introduced. It asks one simple question that generates helpful input: How likely are you to recommend this institution to a friend or colleague? Respondents rate their likelihood to promote on a scale of 1 to 10. They explain why they selected 10 or which areas need to be priorities in order for their rating to be 10.

    Conducting an annual Net Promoter Score survey of our school families is an initiative in our Strategic Growth Plan. This January, we invited our families to complete this survey. The participants provided insight into which areas of school life should be priorities.

    Based on survey responses, we will select key areas of importance to implement in the following year or years. For example, a frequent recommendation was to improve our technology environment. As a result, you will see significant improvements in our technology infrastructure, teacher devices, staffing, and professional development during the 2014 - 2015 school year. I will provide detailed updates later this spring or summer after our Board of Directors approves the school budget for next year.

    A summary of the Net Promoter Score survey results can be found here:

    The needs of our students, families, and staff will inevitably change through the years. In order to realize our vision, Scecina Memorial must adapt to these changing needs, while remaining true to our mission and core values. The Net Promoter Score survey will be a valuable tool to help us continually move towards attaining our vision.

    Thank you for your continued commitment, and Easter blessings to you and your family!

  • Celebrating Our Core Values

    Who is a person whose approach to life is so compelling that you want to learn his or her underlying values? Schools have values, too.

    Recently, I wrote about our school mission statement; it is a guiding star for our community. Today, I will discuss a related vital asset, our core values.

    A question that our mission statement answers is: “Whom do we serve?” A question that our core values answer is: “What values motivate our service?”

    We hope to weave our core values into our work, hour by hour and day by day. They should shape all of our interactions. They should be the “talk that we walk.”

    Our updated core values are yet another positive advancement resulting from our 2012-2013 Strategic Growth Planning process. The core values section of our updated plan reads:

    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.

    When Scecina alumni who impact our Church and society in positive ways, I believe that they grew into their God-given vocations as students at Scecina Memorial High School. When I read our students’ written prayer intentions in the new Prayer Book that is available for them, I believe in their servant-leadership potential. When I see our students working diligently to develop their academic, artistic, and athletic gifts, I know that they are good stewards. And when our students earn prestigious honors while living Gospel values, I see the excellence that is in their lives.

    How do you see us living our core values?

    Thank you for being a valuable part of our Scecina Memorial community, and go Crusaders!


    Joe Therber

  • Mission | Our Guiding Star

    Mission is a beautiful and powerful word.  It is a guiding star, a motivator with ultimate purpose.  It helps keep us true to being who we say we are and want to be.


    The President of Scecina Memorial High School is responsible to ensure that the school has an inspiring and appropriate mission statement. A President's duties include overseeing the Catholic identity of the school in faithfulness to the mission statement.


    During the Strategic Growth Planning process of 2012 - 2013, hundreds of people in our community had an opportunity to give input regarding our mission statement of the future.  A highlight of our new plan is an updated school mission statement.


    A mission statement should address valuable questions:  What is our purpose?  Whom do we serve?  What makes us unique?  What do we offer to our community?


    In our case, a special question is:  What meaning does the life of Father Thomas Scecina have for us today?


    Most experts advise that mission statements be easy to memorize, understand, and communicate.  Our new mission statement has 46 words.  You and I can memorize it.  More importantly, we as a community can actually live it!


    As you read our new school mission statement, what word or idea touches a special chord within you?  How might you want to help us live our mission?  I hope you agree with and find meaning in the Scecina Memorial High School mission statement:


    "Scecina Memorial High School, established by the Archbishop of Indianapolis, is a co-educational Catholic college and life preparatory school that motivates our diverse and gifted community of students to attain educational excellence, be lifelong learners, and live as servant leaders in the inspiring footsteps of Father Thomas Scecina."



    May the inspiring life of Father Thomas Scecina help us to more fully live the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.




    Joe Therber
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