JPII South opened through the Providential union of several disparate forces: Amy Steppig’s insistence and perseverance, Fr. Waldman’s welcome, the JPII Association of Christian Faithful’s greenlight and support, Mrs. Schmitz’s magnanimous lending of JPII North staff time, and economist Tyler Cowen’s grant through Emergent Ventures. Those good forces all conspired and agreed that classical Catholic education in the hybrid model is not merely a ‘nice-to-have’ thing but a real and unmet need of our community and of society at-large.
As we enter our third year, I want to present the plan for fundraising that will keep our school growing in virtue, faith, and knowledge. Each year we add to our program with excellent teachers, new grade levels, and enrichment opportunities.
Throughout this upcoming year, we will develop our strategic plan prioritizing areas of development to receive funds over the next five years: namely, Additional Grade Levels, Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, Simply Classical program, Scholarship Funds, and development funds.
In 2020 our first year we started with 6 full time students and reached 10 by November. We received over $57,000 through grants and donations. In the fray of the covid year, we did not have time to do any additional fundraising. Nonetheless we initiated our high school program in the humanities with Church History, Latin, Medieval Literature, Logic, Rhetoric, and Public Speaking. Our students helped establish the house system under the patronage of St. Martin of Tours, St. Thomas Aquinas, and St. Louis. Our math and science program spanned from pre-algebra to precalculus and from physical science to physics.
The inestimable and wise Mr. Martel and the storied master of belles-lettres Mr. Colston graced our students with their tutelage.
We were able to dispense just over $1,300 dollars in scholarships and multi-child discounts. Despite all the obstacles and problems in the world, the Holy Ghost blessed this work.
In our second year we started with 17 students and ended with 22. We received $11,700 through a grant from John and Mary Jane Lee Foundation, our fundraiser, and donations. We expanded the program into PreK and 4th grade which allowed new families to join and current families to be served. (We always place opening up grades for current families as a high priority!) Mr. Nicholas Rao joined us to teach Latin, Logic, and Philosophy. This next year he is taking time to work on his PhD in philosophy at SLU. Ms. Sophia Forget joined us to teach Ancient Literature and Sacred Scripture. She offered the most inspiring and dedicated class in Sacred Scripture in all the Midwest! Since God has called her to bless a religious community of sisters in Michigan next year, we will wait for her to return and establish a new religious community associated with JPII in the future!
Furthermore, we received a wonderful donation of time and effort from Mrs. Rose Fulton who jumped straight from the farmlands of Canada into teaching fourth grade with confidence and verve. She also held a great workshop for 7-12th grade on explaining the pro-life position to nonreligoius people (which is her other expertise, besides music and teaching).
We finally had the chance to implement economics into the upper high school curriculum alongside Morality and Catholic Social Teaching, which together provide a strong foundation for doing good and living righteously in the world.
We were able to provide about $10,800 in multi-child discounts and scholarships. Our first graduate Dru Nations received a full ride to College of the Ozarks.
In our third year, we are adding two more grade levels: kindergarten and a combined 5th/6th. We have hired two experienced teachers for high school, Mrs. Alysia Horst and John Tardiff, whose skills are broad and deep and whose enthusiasm is not limited to science and literature, but extends through all subjects! Renaissance men and women these!
Here is the list of our fundraising items for this upcoming year:
- 1) Grade level expansion in lower and middle school.
- 2) Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. CGS is a children’s catechesis program in a specially prepared environment called an atrium. There they observe and participate in both parables and liturgical themes and develop a relationship with Christ as the Good Shepherd.
- 3) Simply Classical for special needs students. Based on the excellent classical Christian education provided by Memoria Press. This curriculum has been adapted especially for students with special learning needs.
- 4) Scholarship Fund. Each year we provide discounts to families who have multiple children in the school. Furthermore, we do the best we can so that no parent who desires a Catholic classical education is without some recourse.
- 5) Development Fund. Teacher training, enrichment programs in arts and sciences, expanding our physical space.
Here is where we go from here.
This year we will have two fundraising events: a Thanksgiving appeal and an online Spring fundraiser, which will be vitally important in growing the school for years to come. So be making a list of which companies and donors you are willing to ask to donate toward these top five priorities.
While fundraising will continue to be important, growing and retaining the student body is the biggest sign that what we are doing is good. It is the vote of confidence from families that matters most.
Thank you everyone for all your volunteering, for the way you promote our school in word and deed, and for making this a community one we all want to be part of.
“To provide students with excellence in education, both academically and spiritually, to prepare them to become faith-filled adults who will live and defend the Catholic faith with confidence and joy.”