St. Joan of Arc Catholic School set to deliver new programs, initiatives this school year

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 26, 2023

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LAPLACE–Fresh school supplies and uniforms are standard for a new school year, but at St. Joan of Arc Catholic School in LaPlace the 2023-2024 school year offers many more exciting new initiatives and changes.

  In spring it was announced that Christine Creppel accepted the position of SJA principal. She is a familiar face in the community and a SJA alumna.

  “St. Joan of Arc gave me so much as a young girl,” she said. “I am honored and humbled to be able to return home and to lead as principal of this school.”

  Each school year a scripture theme is chosen as the year’s motto, and this year that scripture is Micah 6:8.

  “More than I chose this scripture verse, it chose SJA,” Creppel said. “It started with singing the hymn ‘We Are Called’ in Mass one weekend. It’s always been one of my favorite hymns. I decided that week to look up the verse in Micah 6:8 that the hymn comes from. How perfect is our God? He is laying it out here in front of us on how we should treat others. This is what God wants the SJA community to live out and learn this year.”

  Creppel said one of the most important missions of a Catholic school is to model for students how they should treat each other.

  “This verse tells us that the Lord is asking us to act justly, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God,” she said. “This year as a school, we will focus on how we can do these three things in every aspect of our daily lives.”

  Creppel said her hope is that this school year SJA Vikings and their families will fulfil their call to serve one another, not only in school and the classroom, but in the greater community.

  “My hope is that we will grow closer as a school and learn valuable lessons, including a life-long desire to serve the community,” she said.   

  One way that will be accomplished is through service-learning programs.

  “Each grade-level will be choosing a community service project to work on together this year,” she said. “Serving others is one of the greatest gifts that we can give to our fellow man, and something that I believe will help our students and their families to grow in their faith and appreciation for all of the blessings that God has bestowed upon us.”

In addition to recently launching a new website and seeing many of its facilities upgraded this summer, SJA will also introduce a school garden and agriscience initiative this school year. This summer two SJA teachers participated in LSUAG Center’s Farm to Schools Professional Development, which included learning about building spaces for a school garden and how to align all aspects of caring for a school garden with the school’s science curriculum and state standards.

  “I am excited to see how our students react as they build, tend to, and reap the benefits of our school garden,” Creppel said. “This initiative will just be getting off the ground – pun intended – this year, but in the not-so-distant future, I look forward to having each grade-level contribute their part to our STREAM initiative with a focus on agriculture and learning about how God created everything in our world to live symbiotically. Whether it be kindergarten raising our needed earth worms for the third grade’s composting, our preschool’s butterfly garden, our middle school’s vegetable garden and hydroponics, first grade’s observation beehive, our fourth grade’s berry trees and fruit cultivation, our pre-school’s container garden, or our second grade’s butterfly garden- how amazing will it be for our students and community to be able to learn so much about the Earth and how the cycle of life works?” 

  While this addition to the curriculum will be new, students of all grade levels at SJA have seen the fruits of their hard work pay off in recent years as test scores have risen and a large percentage of high school scholarships have been secured. Six members of the class of 2023 collected academic scholarships, and this fall four out of SCC’s top five incoming eighth graders will be products of SJA. 

  Creppel said this school year she will be the lead-learner on campus, and will take every opportunity to grow and reflect in her own daily practice. In doing this, she will model for the students and faculty how learning takes hard-work, dedication, problem-solving, collaboration, and perseverance. 

  “I believe that the faculty at SJA are some of the best around, and I admire their dedication to all students,” she said. “The school is blessed to be able to support the students alongside of this group of educators. The SJA teachers have been preparing student-centered and engaging lessons this summer and they are looking forward to the start of the school year and having their Vikings back on campus. All SJA students should be ready for an awesome year of learning and Viking spirit.”

Submitted by Monique Roth,  St. Joan of Arc Development Director.