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

  • Scholar Athlete Awards | Guest Speaker, Jack Doyle

    The month of May is an exciting time for our Scecina Memorial High School families. There are a number of events that celebrate the successes of our students and that affirm the school community’s role in making these successes possible. This week, I would like to share my remarks from two such events, starting with the Scholar Athlete Awards that took place on May 18th.


    "I would like to begin by welcoming and congratulating our 8th grade guests and their parents from the East Deanery Catholic schools.

    To the parents of our Scecina students, you are your children's first and primary educators. Thank you for supporting and encouraging your children in all that they do.

    To our students, congratulations on earning the Scholar Athlete award. It has come your way because you enjoy and are good at setting and achieving goals in spirit, mind, and body. What is equally impressive is that you are committing to academic and athletic success at a time when more is being asked of you in these areas than perhaps at any time in the history of education in this country.

    This program began in 1997, when many of you were born, so you could say that the Scholar Athlete Awards program is a classmate of yours.

    We have continued this tradition because it reflects our mission of standing for academic excellence while encouraging students to develop all the gifts that God gives us, just as Father Scecina did during his lifetime.

    Indianapolis Colt and East Deanery alumnus, Jack Doyle, speaks to student-athletes at the 2014 Scholar Athlete Awards.

    Today, it is my pleasure to introduce a successful and Christian person who grew up on the East side, Mr. Jack Doyle of the Indianapolis Colts.

    Jack is a great role model for us because he works hard, sees a temporary setback as a new avenue on the road to success, and sets a good example as a friendly, honorable person. Jack attended and graduated from one of our partner schools, Holy Spirit. He has played in the same gymnasium and football field and learned in the same classrooms as many of you have. Jack then went on to become a successful student-athlete at Cathedral High School.

    When I think of Jack, a particular saying comes to mind: "It's not where you start that counts; it's where you finish."

    One example of that saying, and I mean this as a compliment to Jack, is that he did not make the high school All-City football team, yet his work habits, optimism, determination, and commitment to academic success lead him to be a starter in the National Football League during the most recent season.

    Jack played college football at Western Kentucky University in the Sun Belt Conference. During his freshman year, he started 10 games, caught 37 passes, and was named to a national All-Freshmen team. As a sophomore, he suffered a season-ending injury during the year, but still started 7 games and caught 20 passes, again embodying the importance of "it's where you finish that counts."

    During his junior year, he started every game and was named second-team All-Sun Belt Conference. During his senior year, he started all 13 games--including a bowl game with a touchdown on national television--and caught 53 passes. That year, he was named first-team All-Sun Belt Conference. During Jack's four-year college career, he was a three-time captain for Western Kentucky.

    After his college career, in 2013, Jack signed with the Tennessee Titans. Soon after, the Colts traded for him. Last season, Jack made a quick impact with the Colts, starting on special teams and on offense as a receiver and run blocker.

    Please join me in welcoming Jack Doyle.”

    View the Scholar Athlete Photo Gallery Here!

    58th Commencement Ceremony

    On Friday, I will share my remarks from our 58th Commencement Ceremony that took place on May 23.

  • 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

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