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The Arc- SJA's School Blog

January Letter to Families

January 02, 2020
By Mr. Gabriel Jakubisin

Dear St. Joan of Arc Families,

Happy New Year! Tonight, we turn a new leaf and enter a new decade - may this year be one of grace and peace for your families and may all your resolutions be met!

I like setting New Year’s Resolutions. Sure, it is somewhat arbitrary to decide to change one’s life at this time of year as opposed to any other time, but goal-setting is a very healthy habit and the changing of the year makes a great time to re-examine one’s goals and one’s progress toward them. Apropos of the season, I thought this month might be a nice time to review our school’s goals.

As I noted in the December SHIELD put out by the parish, St. Joan of Arc School is accredited by the Ohio Catholic School Accrediting Association. OCSAA requires each school to commit to a goal in each of the following areas each six-year cycle. This cycle, our goals are:

  • Academic Performance Goal: Students at St. Joan of Arc will increase their critical thinking skills and analysis of subject knowledge, across the curriculum, as demonstrated through differentiated instruction.
  • Catholic Identity Goal: Students at St. Joan of Arc will develop a deeper understanding of the Catholic Mass in order to strengthen their relationship with Jesus.

One blessing is that, unlike New Year’s Resolutions, we cannot just forget about these goals! We are held accountable to them by OCSAA and will have to make a progress report in the spring. Expect the January SHIELD, which looks at the school in particular, to contain much regarding these goals.

Hopefully you’ve heard by now that La Soiree Rouge has been rebranded! The Cross & Shield Annual Gala is February 1st and Mrs. Jakubisin and I are particularly excited for it. The theme is a “whodunnit” mystery; the event promises to be a great time. We look forward to seeing everyone there!

As always, please do not hesitate to reach out to myself or my staff with any questions or concerns. And thank you for entrusting SJA with your children’s education and formation.

St. Joan of Arc, pray for us!
Go Warriors!

Gabriel A. Jakubisin
SJA Interim Principal

December Letter to Families

December 03, 2019
By Gabriel Jakubisin

Dear St. Joan of Arc Families,

Happy New Year! Yesterday, the Church celebrated the beginning of a new liturgical year. It is fitting that we begin our Catholic year with the season of Advent, since it is the coming of Christ which changed the course of human history forever.

The word “Advent” derives from the Latin “adventus”, which comes from the prefix “ad” affixed to the participle form of the verb “venio”. “Venio” means to come or go; the “ad” (to, toward) clarifies the meaning as coming or approaching. How incredible it is that we have a God who approaches us even in the midst of our darkness! As the New Testament reminds us, He chose to save us even when we were dead in sin (cf. Romans 5:8). We are often in our lives afraid to approach someone who is angry with us or who has let us down, fearful of their reaction. With what boldness God, desiring our eternal happiness, approaches us! 

On a different note, in my studies at the University of Notre Dame, we learned last week about the six key factors of a resilient classroom, or rather, a classroom that nourishes resilience in its students. In generational studies, resilience was found to be a common trait in those overcoming obstacles that could otherwise have held them back. According to the research, one of the best ways a school can help a child become resilient is by maintaining an effective partnership with parents (one of the reasons I stress the importance of our cooperation so much). Another piece is a student’s academic efficacy. This, like a self-fulfilling prophecy, is their internal belief that they can learn and be successful. Those who believe this take the steps to become successful and therefore succeed; those who believe they will fail, often do. As much as you can, encourage your child! Every student can learn; every student has strengths. Our task, yours and SJA’s, is to help students see those strengths in themselves, believe they can succeed, and so become the saints, servants, and scholars that God is calling them to be.

Let’s keep working together! As always, please don’t hesitate to reach out to myself or my staff in our ongoing cooperation. And thank you for entrusting SJA with your children’s education and formation.

St. Joan of Arc, pray for us!
Go Warriors!
Come, Lord Jesus!

SJA Interim Principal

November Principal Letter to Families

November 03, 2019
By Gabriel Jakubisin

Dear St. Joan of Arc Families,

I thought this letter might be better received today than in the busy-ness of last night; I know my family was quite occupied with trick-or-treating despite the weather, so I hope this day finds you with a little more spare time.

Today the Church celebrates the Solemnity of All Saints. On this day, we express our love and gratitude to God for the models of holiness He’s given us throughout the centuries in the lives of holy women and men.

I love the image here of the Communion of Saints. At the top, with God the Father in Heaven, is the “Church Triumphant” - those who have already been completely transformed by the love of God into great saints, known and unknown. Today is their feast. In the middle, unified by their common celebration of the Mass, is the “Church Militant”. I wrote last month about how our “militancy” is not that of violence but that of those wholeheartedly committed to bringing about the will of God. At the bottom of the picture, it’s not Hell, but Purgatory, “the Church Suffering”, where those who have gone before are being purified to prepare them to fully enjoy Heaven. Our prayers at Mass (especially tomorrow on their feast, the Feast of All Souls) are a comfort to them and speed along their process of purification.

Why do I remind you of all this? In short, because our mission as a school is remembered today more than any other day. We, the faculty and staff of SJA, are here to help Jesus Christ form your children into great saints. Well-educated, well-rounded saints. STEM-knowledgeable and Arts-creative saints. Innovative saints. But saints, first and foremost!

As always, please don’t hesitate to reach out to myself or my staff with any concerns. And thank you for entrusting SJA with your children’s education and formation!

All you Saints of God, pray for us!
Go Warriors!

Gabriel A. Jakubisin
SJA Interim Principal

October Principal Letter to Families

October 01, 2019
By Gabriel Jakubisin

Dear St. Joan of Arc Families,

In a turn of phrase I’ve heard a lot in the last few months, it’s not that the school has a mission, but the mission has a school. Our “mission statement” at SJA is a reflection of the “mission statement” of the Church, instituted by Christ, which is actualized in this school. It’s His mission, Christ’s mission, which incarnates as a school here at 5950 Heatherdowns Blvd.

It’s in this sense that we imitate the historical St. Joan of Arc herself and call ourselves Warriors. St. Joan of Arc devoted herself entirely to the will of God, even to the point of sacrificing her life. A quick Google search reveals that a warrior is “a brave or experienced soldier or fighter”. St. Joan of Arc was a soldier and a fighter in the military sense, but she was also a soldier and a fighter in the sense of total obedience to God. As a Catholic school, we don’t recommend fideism, which can result in a sort of unhealthy “blind obedience” which may or may not be actually following God. Rather, we promote the use of faith and reason together. When we ask our students to become Saints, Servants, and Scholars, we ask them to use their minds and hearts to be fighters for God, for others, and for Truth.

Our mission, then, is the same as Christ’s mission. Christ came, not as a zealot, but as a man willing to give everything for God, others, and the Truth. In fact, many of his contemporaries were frustrated that he wasn’t the kind of fighter they wanted, that he was unwilling to overthrow the Romans. His disciples realized he was a fighter in a different sense. As men and women today, we can be Warriors with that same willingness to devote ourselves wholeheartedly to serving God, others, and Truth with both our faith and our reason.

Just a little reflection on our school identity as we enter October! As always, please don’t hesitate to reach out to myself or my staff with any concerns. And thank you for entrusting SJA with your children’s education and formation!

St. Joan of Arc, pray for us!
Go Warriors!

Gabriel A. Jakubisin
SJA Interim Principal
 

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