Dr. Jane Kurucz’s acceptance speech for the Irish Legends Hall of Fame Gala 2016:
Thank you for this honor. Paul and I are humbled to be included in such grand company!
We did not have pictures of us working for St. Joe because we preferred to be in the background; so we chose to share the pictures of our family as they journeyed through St. Joe, since this event isn’t about Paul and I. It’s about catholic education and the opportunities that it provides.
My children are everyday people. None of them were the class valedictorian, or even salutatorian. But they were able to catch a glimpse of the potential of the gifts bestowed upon them by the Good Lord and have those talents nurtured in the environment of learning fostered by St. Joe. They were encouraged to keep their focus on the future and its possibilities and to channel their energies in that direction. They each were able to go on to seek the path best for them, supported by their biological family as well as the expanded family of faculty and staff at St. Joe who also mentored them to be “the best version of themselves”.
They are a tribute not only to Paul and I but also to the St. Joe family and our community at large, as are all of our students. When our students are successful, our whole community shares in that success.
Over the years I have had the opportunity to review letters written by students desiring scholarship monies to attend St. Joe. A common theme in these letters are how St. Joe was “ the best decision of my life”, “a place where the teachers really cared about you and your success”, “an atmosphere of family”, and “that they would be glad to be a leader and set a good example among the students”. So the “warm and fuzzy” feelings we have about St. Joe is not just our perspective, its shared by others as well. I’m sure all of you in this room also share these feelings.
The impact of catholic education is enormous. In the US alone, 2.6 million students attend catholic school every day, at a cost of 10 billion dollars a year to parents and parishes. The cost to educate these students in the public school system would be 18 billion dollars per year. There are more than 230 catholic universities and colleges, educating 700,000 students a year. This troubled world desperately needs individuals to step forward as leaders, who are here to serve, in the gospel sense. Catholic education is a forerunner in producing those individuals.
But I am preaching to the choir, each and every one of you here tonight understands the benefits of catholic education. You are committed and dedicated about the treasure we call catholic education, manifested locally as St. Joe High School. And I am sure that each of you remains passionate about “paying it forward” to continue the opportunity of a catholic education to future generations.
So tonight is not about Paul and I. It is about each and every one of you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart….
My name is Stephanie Hill. I am writing as a teacher with over twenty-eight years experience in the classroom, both public (25) and private (3), and as a parent of one, Madelyn. I would like to share why an education at St. Joseph Catholic School is a worthwhile investment.
2013-2014 was Madelyn’s first academic year to attend SJHS. While she attended St. Joseph Catholic School beginning in Kindergarten, high school represented a crossroads in Madelyn’s academic career. Due to the fact that my husband and I are both teachers, we were fully aware of the fact that our daughter’s high school education mattered, especially if she is going to earn an academic scholarship. Therefore, the decision was a no-brainer for our family. Madelyn would attend SJHS. Since that choice, we have had no regrets.
The first advantage offered by SJHS is the personal relationship teachers share with their students. Students often have teachers over the course of several years. This allows staff to know how to best adapt the curriculum to meet all students’ needs. Additionally, students feel comfortable asking questions or discussing new material because the SJHS staff genuinely care and are able to actively engage students in a wider variety of activities. Furthermore, this personal relationship increases accountability on both the part of students and teachers.
The second advantage of SJHS: test scores. SJHS staff know that standardized tests scores, such as the ACT and SAT, are key to students being accepted to college and/or receiving a scholarship. Therefore, SJHS staff continually work with students to not only increase their academic knowledge, but also to develop appropriate test taking skills, including but not limited to: problem-solving, critical thinking, vocabulary development, and effective written and spoken communication.
We personally have witnessed Madelyn’s ACT test score increase from pre-freshman summer to the end of her sophomore year. The results have been impressive. Now, we receive emails and letters from colleges daily trying to attract and woo the attention of our daughter. In fact, one college, based on her fall ACT scores alone, offered her $69,000.00 in tuition reduction!
The third and final advantage of choosing SJHS is the sense of family/community by students across all grade levels. When attending SJHS, there is not a sense of separation among freshman, sophomores, juniors, and seniors. Rather, students respond to one another as members of “their school family.” From sports to academics, students of all grades come together to support one another. Whether it is a study/work-group, a small group of athletes putting in extra time to help each other improve outside of practice, a club event, or a school/church-wide event such as a homecoming, my family has witnessed this phenomenon repeatedly throughout each school year.
Ultimately, my family believes in SJHS! Our daughter is actively participating in a well-rounded education. The personal relationship she has with her teachers, as well as a strong sense of community, has fostered her work ethic, shaped her character, and increased her academic knowledge. Thus, we sincerely have faith that Madelyn will earn a substantial scholarship for a university unique to her learning style; and, this will ultimately lead to a successful adult/career path thanks to the education she is currently receiving at SJHS.
St. Joseph Central Catholic High School provides a safe, faith-based setting for achieving academic and athletic excellence. The small class size enhances student-teacher interaction/instruction, and curriculum content is stimulating, challenging, and often hands-on. Community service, human respect, faith in God, and the importance of helping others are vital components of the curriculum, as well. An educational foundation from St. Joe prepares students to perform well on college entrance exams, earn college scholarships, and make a difference in the world.
Thanks to the staff, faculty, students, and families of St. Joe, the educational experience provided by the school has been a blessing to our daughter and our family. We are indeed fortunate to have such an outstanding school in Huntington.
Every parent is faced with making tough choices about where to send their son or daughter to high school. We had not decided on a high school for our daughter until the 8th grade. My daughter had attended both private and public schools in Cabell County and this gave us a better understanding of what the schools can offer to a student. She spent one day at St. Joseph Central Catholic High School and she was hooked. My daughter fell in love with all aspects of the school. From the kindness of the student body to the intelligent and engaging teachers, she knew this was the place she wanted to attend. She felt like St. Joseph Central Catholic High School would allow her to grow as a person and push her academically.
St. Joseph Central Catholic High School provides a safe and fun environment for our kids. You can see it when you drop off or pick your child up from school. The students are usually smiling, opening doors for one another and represent the school in the community with honor. The students are involved in many community service projects and are taught to help others and respect God.
The academic options presented to our daughter were very impressive. The advanced level math curriculum and the dual credits offered were big draws. We were impressed with the special study sessions for the ACT and SAT. That is wonderful and surprising. The school wants every student to succeed and will help them achieve the goals they have set for themselves. The amount of scholarship money the students receive at this school is outstanding. This happens through support with the teachers, administrators and the guidance counselor.
The Athletic program at St. Joseph Central Catholic is another big plus for the school. This was a nice bonus for us when choosing the school. The school is small enough for students to compete in many sports. Some kids have played tennis, volleyball or softball for the first time and had a blast. Students also found out they were quite the athletes at these sports. At a large high school, this is not possible. Extracurricular activities are a vital part of social development. Sports are not just good for physical health; sports are great for mental health too.
I would encourage every parent to set up a day of shadowing day at St. Joseph Central Catholic High School. I would do it early in 8th grade, but also any student 9th-12th that feels they are not being challenged academically, if they feel unsafe, or if their current school isn’t supporting their growth. You and your student will not be disappointed in St. Joseph Central Catholic High School.