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SJCS Unveils Cutting-Edge STEM Lab for Students’ Exploration and Innovation

September 05, 2023
August 18 Proclaimed as St. John the Evangelist Catholic School Day

St. John the Evangelist Catholic School (SJCS) announces the grand opening of its state-of-the-art STEM Lab, designed to ignite the curiosity and creativity of students from Kindergarten to 8th Grade. This remarkable STEM Lab stands as the sole establishment of its kind in the surrounding counties, firmly positioning SJCS as a pioneer in hands-on, experiential learning. The ribbon-cutting ceremony took place Friday, August 18 2023 amidst a gathering of the school’s educators, community leaders, and enthusiastic students.

The ribbon-cutting event was attended by Most Reverend Stephen D. Parkes, Bishop of the Diocese of Savannah, and Valdosta Mayor Scott James Matheson. Bishop Parkes' dedication to education and his remarks resonated with attendees, emphasizing the transformative power of innovative learning environments and creating soaring opportunities for all students. Mayor Matheson proclaimed August 18 as "St. John the Evangelist Catholic School Day," recognizing the school's profound impact on the community and its commitment to nurturing young minds. His proclamation underscored the school's role as a pillar of educational excellence and its strong partnership with the local community.

The SJCS STEM Lab features an array of cutting-edge amenities, including brand-new computers, engaging activities tailored to various age groups, and a diverse array of equipment such as a 3D printer, milling machine, and etching machine. These resources empower students to explore, plan, create, reflect, and share their discoveries, fostering a unique "growth mindset" approach to education. The role of the teacher transforms into that of a facilitator, guiding students on their journeys of exploration and discovery.

Principal Cheri Carter of St. John the Evangelist Catholic School underscored the significance of the STEM Lab's launch: “Our STEM Lab represents an unparalleled opportunity for our students to engage in hands-on exploration and discovery. This innovative pedagogy encourages critical thinking, problem-solving, and a deep passion for learning that will serve our students well throughout their lives. With this distinctive facility, SJCS stands at the forefront of educational excellence, setting a precedent for the region.”

At the helm of this groundbreaking endeavor is Arlene Manning, an accomplished educator with over 18 years of certified teaching experience in Georgia. Holding a BS degree from Florida State University, Manning's expertise in the natural sciences has greatly enriched the lives of countless students. Her commitment to education is further exemplified by her involvement in SJCS for the majority of her career, teaching middle school science. Manning's extensive background includes facilitating STEM programs in public school systems, leading STEM-related field trips, and inviting professionals from various fields to share their expertise with students. 

With over a thousand project opportunities within the lab's kits, students at SJCS will enjoy a diverse range of experiences, each contributing to their depth of knowledge and critical thinking skills. As the only institution of its kind in the region, SJCS continues to demonstrate its commitment to providing an exceptional education that prepares students for a future driven by innovation and exploration.

SJCS continues to expand its commitment to cutting-edge education with the introduction of a state-of-the-art Broadcast Lab. This innovative facility, equipped with high-quality cameras, professional lighting, a versatile green screen, and advanced editing tools, empowers students to not only write and create captivating stories but also seamlessly integrate multimedia into various subjects. This dynamic space encourages collaborative learning and nurtures essential skills in communication, technology, and storytelling. Complementing this modernization, the school's Media Center is undergoing a comprehensive renovation, with all-new books, shelves, circulation desk, and comfortable seating areas. Scheduled for completion by the end of the month, the updated Media Center will provide an inspiring environment for students to explore the world of literature and embark on imaginative journeys. 

St. John Catholic School Honors Veterans at Special Program

November 15, 2022

The students, faculty and staff of St. John the Evangelist Catholic School recently honored veterans and active duty members of the military at a special reception Thursday, November 11 2022. The special event included a patriotic procession, reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance, letters to veterans, the Armed Services March performed by the school band and refreshments. 

“Many of members in our SJCS community have served or are currently serving in the military and we felt it was important to say ‘thank you’ to them in a special way,” said SJCS Principal Vito Pellitteri. “Our Veterans Day program demonstrates to our students the importance of service and showing appreciation to others.”

St. John Volleyball Team Donates to Family Affected by Breast Cancer

November 01, 2022

The St. John the Evangelist Catholic School (SJCS) volleyball team recently raised donations to support a family affected by breast cancer in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. During a recent tri-match event, the volleyball team collected donations to benefit a family of five from Tallahassee who recently lost their mother to breast cancer. The team presented a $3,000 check to the Cameron family in memory of SJCS mom Stephanie Nelson.

“In front of their biggest fans - their teachers, classmates and families, the SJCS volleyball team presented a check to a family in need,” said SJCS Volleyball Coach Tiffany Mira. “The breast cancer fundraiser was a huge success and we are so proud of the team’s hard work. It’s been a blessing to be their coach this season and I’m humbled by the girls on the team.”

St. John Catholic School Volleyball Team Raises Money to Fight Breast Cancer

September 26, 2022

Fundraiser Volleyball Tri-Match Set for October 3

Saint John the Evangelist Catholic School’s (SJCS) volleyball team recently organized a bake sale to raise funds to support those in the community fighting breast cancer. The team hosted the bake sale at school and after Mass at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church, raising $1,000.

The school is hosting a breast cancer fundraiser volleyball tri-match event on Monday, October 3 in honor of Stephanie Nelson, a SJCS parent who passed away in 2020. The proceeds of the funds raised from the bake sale and the volleyball game will go to the Cameron family of Tallahassee who recently lost their mother to breast cancer.

“It is important for our students to understand the importance of helping one another, especially those battling cancer, and to demonstrate that compassion,” said SJCS Volleyball Coach Tiffany Mira. “Not only did these athletes plan a fundraiser and upcoming game, they are also praying for those in the community who have overcome and those who are still in the fight.”

The breast cancer volleyball tri-match event is Monday, October 3 and begins at 4:00 PM with a match against Lighthouse Christian School. The second game begins at 5:00 PM between Lighthouse Christian School and Scintilla Charter Academy followed by a 6:00 PM match between SJCS and Scintilla Charter Academy. The games will take place  in the SJCS Parish Center located at 800 Gornto Road in Valdosta. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for students.

Local School Surpasses Peers in Testing Scores

September 12, 2022

St. John the Evangelist Catholic School Students Score Higher than National Average in All Subjects

Saint John the Evangelist Catholic School (SJCS) recently received results from its Fall 2022 MAP testing. The school conducts testing three times a year, Fall, Winter and Spring, to measure achievement and growth of its students in kindergarten through eighth grade in the areas of math, reading, language usage (second grade through eighth grade) and science (third grade through eighth grade). 

Fall 2022 MAP testing results show that SJCS students score higher than the national average in all four areas: math, reading, English/language arts and science for all 31 of the subject and grade level combinations tested. 

“I can’t put into words just how proud I am of all of our Eagles in continuing to score higher than their peers nationally in all four subject areas,” said SJCS Principal Vito Pellitteri. “This confirms the dedication our teachers have to provide students with a strong academic foundation, continuing the tradition and reputation SJCS has for developing high achieving students.” 

School Service Project Delivers Prayer Packages to Local Hospital

March 23, 2022

Students and teachers of St. John the Evangelist Catholic School recently delivered 586 prayer packages to nine units at South Georgia Medical Center as part of their “We Prayed for You” service project. The project began last Fall with students volunteering their time and talent to create artwork, write prayers for prayer cards and to pray for the community.

Students assembled the prayer packages which contain a prayer card, snack, hand lotion and mints. “With these prayer packages, we hope to provide comfort to those going through challenging times, both the medical staff at South Georgia Medical Center and to those with family and loved ones being treated there,” said SJCS Art Teacher Christine Cabral. “We plan to continue distributing these packages in the community, where they are needed most.”

The “We Prayed for You” service project began with the creation of prayer cards. Each grade selected a specific prayer focus: perseverance, recovery, loved ones, patience, peace, protection, healing, strength, and comfort.  They then created unique artwork to reflect each prayer, to be printed on the front of the prayer cards. Lastly, the students of each class then prayed their prayer together, making a recording of it.  Recipients of the prayer cards can access the recording by scanning the QR code printed on the card. Recordings of each prayer are also available on the school’s website, 

The school welcomes donations to be used to create more prayer packages to distribute in the community. 

“So many in our community are facing trials and hardships and with the ‘We Prayed for You’ service project, we hope to provide those in need with support, compassion and prayer,” said Cabral.

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