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 President Therber can be contacted by email at jtherber@scecina.org or by  telephone at 317.352.3282

  • The Class of 2014

    Earlier this week, I shared with you my remarks from our annual Scholar Athlete Awards program. It was one of several May events where we honored our students for their outstanding achievement during the 2013-2014 school year. Today, I invite you to read my remarks from the 2014 Commencement Ceremony.

    58th Commencement Ceremony

    "Good evening. In the midst of all these wonderful accomplishments, I would like to thank our guests.

    Bishop Coyne: For your ministry and for representing Archbishop Tobin’s support and the people of the
     
    Bishop Coyne addresses the audience at Scecina Memorial's  58th Commencement Ceremony.
    Archdiocese of Indianapolis.

    Sister Lavonne Long: For representing the Sisters of Saint Francis and the school staff on which you served for our first graduating class in 1957.

    East Deanery pastors, principals, and members of the Scecina Board of Directors: For envisioning a bright future for our students and knowing that our school is an anchor for the people of the Eastside and our city.

    Our graduates’ family members, friends, and teachers: For encouraging, guiding, and believing in the Class of 2014.

    Parents: For being our graduates’ first and primary teachers. Last night at the Baccalaureate Mass, Father Noah opened the Mass by suggesting that you should be invited to receive diplomas with your seniors, which is a really good idea. We will not ask you to do tonight what you are not prepared to do, but please know that we appreciate ALL the sacrifices you have made from before your children’s birth until now.

    I would suggest that one of the greatest assets in our community is the commitment, unity, and continuity among Scecina families. More than 1/3 of the Class of 2014 have parents or grandparents who are Scecina alumni, or are at least the fourth family child to graduate from Scecina Memorial."

    Class of 2014

    "To the Class of 2014, you have attained great heightsand measurable results in academics, athletics, service, and the arts. Your grades, prayers, scholarships, awards, championships, acts of kindness, worship, service, conduct, and attendance throughout high school—these are now facts in the history book of Scecina Memorial High School. At the same time, so much of a Catholic education is not measurable, but is real and transformational--like the friendship, courage, commitment, discipline, and prayer that each of you has in your life. All of these successes are God’s and yours forever.

    I have heard it said that we all have a “dash” in our lives—that time between the year of our birth and the year at the other end. And so we ask, “How will you live the rest of your dash?”

    In the words of Pope Francis speaking to students just like you at World Youth Day, “Be revolutionaries. Swim against the tide; it is good for the heart and takes courage. Rebel against this culture that believes you are incapable of responsibility, that you are incapable of true love. The Church needs you, your enthusiasm, your creativity, and the joy that is so characteristic of you. The measure of the greatness of a society is found in the way it treats those most in need. Go and bring Christ into every area of life, to the fringes of society, even to those who seem farthest away.”

    That’s an AWESOME challenge. But because you are CRUSADERS, I know that you are up to the challenge!

    You will walk outside very soon as alumni. You are privileged. I hope your dash through life will be longer than Father Scecina’s was. And when you meet success, may humility and gratitude be your first responses. When surprise greets you, may you be graceful and composed--just as your classmate, Abel, was upon hearing his name called to receive a prestigious student-athlete award at Awards Day this week! When you experience a setback, may hope and determination be your companions.

    I recall the story of Aimee Mullins, who was a college student in the 1990's. When having both of her legs amputated at about age 1, she had no input into that decision. Rather than see herself as disabled, Aimee decided that prosthetic legs would give her superpowers of which others could only dream. She proceeded to become an NCAA track and field record holder, fashion model, actress, and on the list of People Magazine's 50 Most Beautiful People.

    You are fortunate to bear the “Scecina” name, the name of a devoted, even saintly, Christian and patriot. The destiny that God intends for you is just as noble as Father Tom’s. Remember that you are a CRUSADER.

    Last night at Baccalaureate, Father Noah reminded you that people whom you have never seen have helped you receive this education. One day, you can make the same difference by returning that favor and experiencing the same joy.

    On behalf of our entire community, thank you, congratulations, and may you live the greatness that God sees in you.

    Thank you all once again."

  • 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.

    Welcome!

    "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: www.scecina.org/net-promoter-survey.

    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!

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