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Miller named Boys Basketball head coach

Former Boys Basketball player and assistant coach Ryan J. Miller ‘99 has been named head of the Boys Basketball program with Lance Stemler as associate head coach. Coach Miller also played collegiately at Eastern Kentucky University. He was assistant coach here, as was Coach Stemler, under former coach Lou Lefevre. 

During Miller’s five years as assistant coach at Providence, the boys’ program experienced levels of unprecedented success, with a No. 1 state ranking, three sectional titles, and two semi-state appearances. The program also led the state in lowest defensive points-per-game allowed in Class 2A.

Coach Miller also was assistant coach at Floyd Central High School for five seasons. During that time, the Highlander program was consistently ranked in the top 10 in Class 4A. Coach Miller said he is grateful for the mentoring he received from both head coaches.

Coach Miller and his wife, Danielle (Himmelhaver) Miller ’99, and their three children are members of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish, where their children also attend school.

Coach Stemler played basketball at Gibault Catholic High school in Waterloo, Ill., and collegiately at Indiana University, where he was the team captain on a Top 10 nationally ranked team, and was recently inducted into the Illinois Basketball Hall of Fame. He is married to Amanda (Loi) Stemler ‘05, and they have two sons. The family also are members of OLPH, and the boys attend OLPH School.

Coach Miller said he is excited to return to his alma mater as head coach, noting that his extended family — from his parents to their siblings and his own siblings – all are Providence graduates.

“Providence is our community,” Coach Miller said. “I’m just glad to be back here. I have a great deal of pride for the entire New Albany Deanery and Providence.”

Coach Miller and Coach Stemler are looking forward to coaching together again and leading the boys’ basketball program.

“We look forward to bringing a great sense of pride for our players and the community and how we play and represent the program,” Coach Miller said.

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’61 grad prizes Honor Flight experience

When Bob Petraits ’61 applied to take part in an Honor Flight, which provides veterans of World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War with a free one-day trip to Washington, D.C., to tour the city’s war memorials and nearby Arlington National Cemetery, he never thought he would be selected. Most of the recipients of the trip are World War II or Korean War veterans, so he mostly forgot about it.

In March, he was thrilled to receive word he was selected to be a participant in May on Honor Flight 30 out of Indianapolis. Petraits had been to D.C. with his wife, Gayle, a few years ago, but that trip could barely compare to the Honor Flight he just took.

Petraits said he did indeed feel honored at every step of the trip. The day started with breakfast in a high school gym accompanied by his oldest daughter, Amy, as his guardian. (The program requires a veteran to have a younger family member or friend to accompany them on the trip and assist them as needed.) The 85 veterans and their guardians took a bus to the airport, where they sailed past security and immediately boarded their flight.

“What was so neat was we didn’t have to wait on any lines,” he said. “We just walked right through and got to our plane.”

The group arrived in D.C. at 8 a.m. and were immediately welcomed as heroes.

“When we got off the plane and got into the concourse there, there were people lined up on both sides cheering us,” Petraits said. “That was kind of awesome because if you ever talk to any Vietnam veterans when they came back to the States, it was the exact opposite. … So having people on both sides, you walk down the middle of them, and they would cheer us, they wanted to shake our hands. I thought, ‘Wow, this is cool.’”

The participants then boarded charter buses with a police escort that got them through any congested traffic and to their stops on time. The veterans visited the World War II Memorial, and many of them, including Petraits, had their photo taken next to the Indiana pillar. Eleven other Honor Flights from other states also were there that day, and those members took photos at the pillar representing their state, Petraits said.

Next, they visited the U.S. Air Force Memorial and saw the garden dedicated to those killed in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack on the Pentagon – two places Petraits had not seen on his prior visit. Then they toured the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial, featuring the flag raising at Iwo Jima. Petraits was a Marine, doing one 13-month tour in Vietnam and being honorably discharged as a sergeant in 1967. They also visited the Lincoln Memorial, the Korean War Veterans Memorial, and the Vietnam War Memorial.

Petraits said he was glad he had more time on his first visit to the Vietnam Wall to locate the names of friends killed in action in the war. The second trip was still meaningful, especially since the majority of the veterans on this Honor Flight were fellow Vietnam veterans. The most touching experience was their visit to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington Cemetery.

A primary reason veterans are accompanied by a younger relative and not their spouse is so their guardian can push the veteran’s wheelchair should he or she get tired and need a break from walking during the whirlwind tour, Petraits said. He wondered how many veterans would need to have wheelchairs in Arlington due to the distance of the tomb from the parking lot. Much to his surprise, however, the group was delivered by their charter bus right to the steps at the foot of the memorial.

Even though it was his second trip to the tomb and witnessing the changing of the guard, he said he was still struck by the solemnity of the occasion.

“It brings tears to your eyes,” Petraits said.

By the end of the day, the group was exhausted, and about half of the veterans had resorted to wheelchairs, he said. But the honors weren’t over. As the group got ready to board the plane, each veteran was handed a large manila envelope stuffed with letters written by family as well as strangers. Petraits said he spent most of the return flight looking through the letters and several more hours the next morning.

The biggest surprise came at the school where they had met earlier that day. When they drove up, two fire trucks with ladders extended held a huge American flag. Then, when they entered the school gym, he was overwhelmed by the families, friends, and strangers welcoming the group back to Indianapolis. His daughter carried an oversized cutout of him in his Marine uniform as he entered the gym with his name announced over the loudspeaker.

“I almost broke down crying because it’s so overwhelming,” he said.

Petraits said he is very grateful to the Honor Flight program and the chance to visit D.C. with his daughter on her first trip to the nation’s capital. He has two other children, a son and a daughter, and five grandchildren plus his wife’s five grandchildren. So getting to spend time with her alone was special.

“It was good education for her plus we got to spend some quality time together,” he said. “It was just good for both of us to be together, and she could enjoy it just as much as I did.”

Petraits spent most of his life in the Indianapolis area. He grew up in Speedway, a suburb on the west side of the city, until his father was transferred to New Albany, bringing him to Providence as a sophomore. His family moved back to Indianapolis while he was still trying to make his way through the University of Cincinnati. He left college after his sophomore year and within six months received a letter he should report for his physical for the draft. A friend convinced him to visit the Marines recruiting office, and although his friend wasn’t accepted and was later drafted into the U.S. Army, Petraits did enlist and was later stationed in Vietnam.

After returning to Indianapolis, he eventually settled into a career driving 18 wheelers over the road and locally while also operating a Christmas tree farm in Pittsboro with his first wife, who passed away just prior to his retirement in 2000. He said going through her death was difficult on him and his children, who were then in their 20s, but they were able to work through it. He met his current wife while he lived in Florida, where he moved after selling his interest in the tree farm. She convinced him to move back to Indianapolis several years ago, and they stay busy visiting their children and grandchildren.

As for the Honor Flight, it’s an experience he will long treasure.

“It was just a memory I’m going to have the rest of my life,” Petraits said. “I feel lucky I was able to get to go.”

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Class of 2019 has many accomplishments

The Class of 2019 celebrated its commencement and entry into the Our Lady of Providence Alumni Association on Sunday. With 96 graduates, the class has put up some impressive statistics:97 percent will go on to pursue additional education/training, 3 percent are entering the workforce, 70 received an Indiana Honors Diploma, and four received an Indiana Technical Honors Diploma. For the first time, two students have each earned the Indiana Honors and the Technical Honors diplomas. Additionally, our graduates received $10.7 million in direct college scholarship offers and donated nearly 7,500 service hours to the community during their four years at Providence. Thirty percent of the graduates are children of alumni, and 10 percent are from two-generation alumni families.

The class was presented with their awards last week, and the full list can be found here.

Beyond the statistics, these graduates have been accepted into colleges all over the state of Indiana as well as in Kentucky and Ohio. Three students will attend the all-male Wabash College, two students will be involved in college ROTC programs, one student will be attending a college aviation program, and one has been accepted into an apprenticeship program. Also of note, four graduates earned their Boy Scout Eagle Scout rank during high school. 

Top two students to be roommates in college
The Class of 2019 valedictorian, Adriel Nacpil, and salutatorian, Ross Reyes, share a lot of the same interests. Both like math and science and were on the Quick Recall team together. The two friends plan to attend Purdue University West Lafayette and major in computer engineering – and room together. They also split the David C. Smith ’82 Memorial Scholarship Award, granting each $3,000 to pursue an engineering degree at Purdue.  

Even though Adriel earned the No. 1 spot, the two said there never was any competition between them for the top two ranks. Adriel held the No. 1 rank during his time at Providence. His motivation was partly to earn the same rank as his brother, Justin ’14, who was valedictorian of that class. Additionally, he wanted to make his parents proud, and now that he’s given his speech and received the award, he’s proud of his accomplishment.

“Finally, all the work has paid off,” Adriel said. “I also see it as giving back to my parents for all they’ve done for me. The least I can do is work hard and try my best.”

Adriel was named a National Merit Scholarship Commended Student for his score on the PSAT as a junior. He also was named an AP Scholar with Distinction for his success on multiple AP tests last May. Additionally, he earned fifth place on the Math Team among seniors in the district.

Ross, who was president of Spanish Club in theatre, including Providence Singers, learned he had moved up to the No. 2 rank last year and worked to maintain that spot. Achieving salutatorian is validation of his efforts, he said.

“It makes you feel you’ve accomplished something,” Ross said. “Your hard work didn’t go unnoticed.”

The two are looking forward to Purdue. Adriel turned down the University of Notre Dame to attend Purdue because its engineering program is more renowned, he said. Ross said he also chose Purdue for its reputation.

“I see myself as a Boilermaker,” Ross said.

Three to attend Wabash College
In the past decade, one alumnus has attended Wabash College, and this year, three have chosen the all-male school in Crawfordsville, Ind., northwest of Indianapolis. Austin Hughes and Tanner Carver will be playing college sports for the NCAA Division III schools, Austin for men’s soccer and Tanner for men’s diving. Like Brandon Schafer, they also chose the school for its academics, camaraderie, and alumni network.

Austin said he heard about Wabash while attending a soccer camp at Xavier University, and a Wabash assistant coach was his group leader. The coach invited Austin to tour Wabash “because he thought we’d be great fits for each other,” Austin said. He was right.

“After visiting campus and meeting the people there, it reminded me heavily of Providence,” Austin said. “The school goes above and beyond to not only be a great and unique college experience but also a ‘life prep’ school as well. Wabash has the second highest rated alumni network in the country, and they produce highly successful, influential graduates on a regular basis who go all over the world after school. Once I got the full grasp of these ideas and the entire ‘Wabash experience,’ I knew that was a place I wanted to be a part of.

Austin plans to major in a new program known as philosophy, politics, and economics (PPE) studying business classes in the Center for Innovation and Business Entrepreneurship (CIBE) program. He said he also is looking forward to studying abroad at some point, made possible thanks to a generous alumnus who has made a donation that pays for U.S.-based immersion trips and overseas travel abroad experiences.

Austin also said he looks forward to being part of the men’s soccer team, which will allow him to reconnect with friends he has made playing on various teams over the years. He also wants to help the team achieve its goals of winning its conference and qualifying for the NCAA tournament, two benchmarks it has been close to reaching in recent years.

Brandon heard about Wabash after talking to Austin’s dad, Chris Hughes ’89, who suggested he consider the small, private college. The more Brandon looked into Wabash, the more impressed he was, especially after hearing about Austin’s visit. After going on his own college visit, Brandon made the decision to go too.

Brandon plans to major in chemistry as a pre-med track. He said he is looking forward to the freedom he will experience in college as well as the chance to make new lifelong friends. He said what he finds most appealing about Wabash is “the very impressive alumni network, the brotherhood, and the ability to take free immersion trips across the world.”

Tanner said he first considered Wabash as his college destination after seeing its alumni network ranking in a publication featuring Indiana colleges. He also was impressed by the college’s merit scholarship. Knowing two others from his class also were enrolling didn’t impact his decision.

“I chose the school because I view college as an investment for the future, and this stood out to me as the best investment,” Tanner said. “I would attend Wabash regardless of who else is attending.”

Tanner plans to major in economics with a minor in philosophy and is looking forward to the new experiences during college and being on the diving team.

“The most appealing thing about the dive program is that it will be an easy way for me to get to know people,” Tanner said.

Four earn Eagle Scout rank
Four graduates achieved the rank of Eagle Scout from the Boys Scouts while at Providence. Matthew Reger, a member of Troop 36 at Holy Family, earned his in 2017, Joe Gryboski, also a member of the Holy Family troop, earned his last summer, and Matthew Nokes and Sam LaMaster, members of Troop 4010 at St. Anthony, earned theirs this past spring.

Joe’s project was to build two mobile gaming carts for Norton Children’s Hospital. The carts were equipped with a flatscreen, an Xbox, a Wii, and security features to allow children to play video games during hospital stays. His project totaled 180 hours of volunteer work in order to plan, build, and install the carts, which didn’t include donated time from the crew he organized to help with the project.

Joe said he felt proud to complete the project because “a lot of work had been put into the carts, so it felt good to see all of that come together into one finished project, but it also felt good knowing that I was able to help the hospital. Knowing that those two carts would be used to help children be happy while they are recovering in a hospital means the world to me.”

Like the other four Eagle Scout recipients, Joe learned a lot through the process.

“I learned that working with a lot of other people can be challenging due to scheduling and communication conflicts,” Joe said. “I also learned that there are a lot of very generous people in this area that are happy to help a good cause.”

Joe’s Eagle Scout project help him earn the PHS Service Award for accumulating the most service hours with a total of 263.5 hours of service. His Scout project made up most of the hours, and he also volunteered for local nonprofit Miles 4 Merry Miracles.

Joe said he got much more out of helping others than he anticipated.

“Starting out, I knew that I had a service requirement to fulfill in order to graduate, but once I got started, I ended up enjoying the opportunities to help others,” Joe said. “My motivation was my hope to see my actions impact those that needed it the most. Whether it was donating my time at a soup kitchen or helping community organizations around the holidays, I wanted to help others.”

He most enjoyed helping Miles 4 Merry Miracles (M4MM) with its Christmas Party and Angel Tree Shopping Day. The annual event goes beyond simply buying gifts for those in need as identified through the Salvation Army Angel Tree. The M4MM members also host a Christmas Party for the “Angels” and their families, which includes dinner, a visit from Santa Claus, and the gift distribution.

“I love this activity because of how excited the kids get when they see Santa,” Joe said.

Senior earns apprenticeship
Dylan Seals
will be starting an apprenticeship with UA Local 502 (United Association and Plumbers, Pipefitters & Service Technicians) as a welder. He has taken welding at Prosser for the last two years and earned the Indiana Technical Honors Diploma. He was one of 62 applicants and the only student from his Prosser class accepted into the program, which will include the opportunity to earn an associate’s degree from Ivy Tech Community College tuition free while also receiving on-the-job training over the next five years. Once he completes the five-year program, he will achieve the level of journeyman and be able to start a professional career as a welder.

Dylan said he is looking forward to starting the program. He is waiting to receive word of his first job training and will start classes in August, taking classes two evenings a week. He decided to take the welding class initially because he was interested in learning a trade rather than going to college. Welding appealed to him because his grandfather had been a welder at Jeffboat. He is happy to be able to start learning the trade professionally right away.

“I like being able to do hands-on stuff and build stuff,” he said.

Dylan said he’s relieved to be accepted on his first application, especially since he has heard many people have to apply several times and spend some time in pre-apprentice metal trades work before being accepted. He said knowing people in the union may be helped him some, but his skills also had to be up to par. He also is grateful to be able to receive his schooling for only the cost of books. He will pay monthly union dues of less than $50.

Two to join college ROTC programs
Two graduates will be entering ROTC programs in college in preparation for future military careers. Kaden Williams will participate in the U.S. Army ROTC at Butler University, and Tyler Upton will join the U.S. Air Force ROTC at Purdue University. Kaden decided to join the military after hearing about the opportunity from a family friend who is a recruiter. Also, his grandfathers served in the military. He chose to start out by taking part in the ROTC program at Butler because he liked the campus and received an ROTC scholarship.

Kaden said he is looking forward to the physical fitness and camaraderie aspects of being in ROTC, which he would otherwise miss since he will no longer be playing football or baseball. ROTC involves training four days a week plus taking a military science class each semester and taking part in a lab that involves military exercises off campus.

“I like it because I’ll still be part of a team and be able to stay active,” Kaden said. “And it’s working for something that’s bigger than yourself.”

Tyler said he decided to enter the AFROTC program in preparation for his future career as a commercial pilot. He has been interested in a career in flying since he signed up for an aerospace project in 4-H several years ago. As part of that project, he interviewed a UPS pilot, who advised him that the Air Force provides one of the quickest routes to becoming a commercial pilot.

The AFROTC program has similar physical training and military science course and lab requirements to what Kaden will take for the Army program. After earning his degree in aviation management or professional flight (which will cost an additional $25,000 annually), Tyler plans to enlist in the Air Force after his sophomore year, which will include a 10-year commitment – and then move on to commercial flight.

Tyler said he was inspired to go the military route to becoming a pilot in part because he has two uncles who were military pilots. He first fell in love with flying as a child when a great uncle would fly him in his plane.

“That’s where I got the flying bug,” Tyler said.

He has already started preparing for his college major through the Prosser Vocational School aviation program. He just completed the first-year program, which involves classroom work to prepare him for the written, oral, and practical exams to getting his pilot’s license. He passed the written exam and this summer will take flight lessons in order to get the required number of flight hours before starting classes at Purdue.

Like Kaden, Tyler anticipates the AFROTC will be a good substitute for his sports participation, which included cross country, track, and swim. He also said those sports have prepared him well to take the fitness test for pilots at Purdue. Tyler hopes he will do well enough to eventually qualify for an AFROTC scholarship.

Two earn Honors, Technical Honors diplomas
Tyler has another distinctive achievement that sets him apart from his classmates. He is one of two graduates who were the first graduates in recent years to earn both the Indiana Honors Diploma and the Indiana Technical Honors Diploma. The other is Ronny Grimes. Both attended Prosser this year only, which enabled them to earn both diplomas. Ronny studied fire and safety. He plans to attend Ivy Tech Community College and major in business administration.

One on to Vincennes aviation program
The Class of 2019 has another pilot, Frank Caylor. Frank took two years of aviation, which included the first year of classwork at Prosser and the second year of flight classes after school. He has 10 flight hours and needs a total of 250 to get his pilot’s license. He plans to continue taking flying lessons over the summer in preparation for entering the aviation program through Vincennes University.

Although his bachelor’s degree will be from Vincennes, Frank will not stay on campus. He will live in Indianapolis, where the flight school is. Once he earns his degree, he said, he will have 1,000 flight hours and a guaranteed job as a pilot as a regional airport that has a partnership with Vincennes.

The Vincennes program is expensive, and will require about $100,000 in loans over four years, but Frank said he is confident that his commercial pilot’s salary will enable him to repay the debt quickly. He plans to work his way up from flying at regional airports to become a UPS pilot. He said he chose the college route over the Air Force because he didn’t want to commit 10 years to the military.

He first became interested in flying after hearing about the aviation program at Prosser and was impressed by the average pilot’s salary. Now that he’s been in the air, he’s confident in his choice.

“With flying, it’s (the view) so pretty, and it’s such a good experience,” Frank said. “I like the challenge of being a pilot. I have to study a lot.”

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Class of 1969 hits $50K milestone

The Class of 1969 set new heights for class endowment fundraising efforts in honor of its 50th reunion. It is the first class to raise $50,000 for its class endowment fund. The goal was to accomplish that by May 22, the 50th anniversary of the 1969 Providence graduation, and the class met its goal.

Tom Raidy ’69, Jerry Wayne ’69, and Dottie (Galligan) Zipp ’69 were instrumental in leading the charge to meet the $50,000 goal. They are pleased that their classmates rose to the challenge and believe it is a testament to the cohesiveness and specialness of their class.

“I feel very happy and proud to be a member of the Class of 1969,” Raidy said. “It is full of great people and we had an amazing class president and lifelong friend to all of us, (the late) Mike Naville (’69). We have had great turnouts to the reunions over the years, and the classmates seem to have remained good friends regardless of time and or distance.”

Naville continued to lead the class long after graduation, and his classmates followed his example of his support for Providence. And they continue to do so after his passing.

“Mike was a kind and generous man, and I think it spread throughout the class, so, I’m not surprised we made the goal,” Raidy said. “I believe Mike is looking down with a huge smile. Reaching the $50,000 goal and being the top donating class during our 50th anniversary year shows the rest of our fellow alumni what we already knew – the Class of ‘69 is a great class made up of very good and very generous people.”

The class has several other leaders as well. Raidy credits Diane Lander-Simon ’69 with sparking the initial class endowment fundraising efforts at the class’s 40th reunion. Lander-Simon told her classmates that their endowment was below $5,000 and encouraged them to donate. They responded, and within a decade, donated more than $40,000 to reach the milestone amount today.

Wayne agrees with Raidy that their classmates’ generosity is a testament to the special quality of the class.

“The class of 1969 was always special,” Wayne said. “We heard it from teachers long after we graduated. Being the first class to hit $50,000 is another example of the uniqueness of this remarkable group of fine individuals. Mike Naville … led by example, and a lot of us give him credit for holding us together, and he would be so proud of this benchmark we’ve achieved.”

Zipp said she is pleased to see her classmates continue to support the school she loves so dearly. Her love for Catholic education began with her parents, who valued it highly, sent her and her siblings to the old St. Augustine School in Jeffersonville and to Providence. She would have attended Bellarmine except it didn’t offer her major, physical education and health. So she attended the University of Louisville and was hired to teach P.E. after earning her degree. Her goal was to “build sports programs for girls from scratch” to give them more opportunities than what she had, “to be a cheerleader or a tennis player,” she said. 

“I worked to get basketball, volleyball, and softball teams started,” she said. “Fast forward to now, and I want anyone who wants to attend Providence to be able to. My parents worked hard and sacrificed to put six kids through Catholic school, and I hope everyone in the Class of 1969 appreciates the sacrifices their parents made for them and will contribute.

“I am so happy our class has met its goal because as a teacher at Providence, I personally taught many children of my classmates and I got to see the success of future leaders of our community. We need to keep Providence thriving in our community.”

Twenty percent of the Class of 1969 made contributions to help the class get to $50,000, and Wayne, Raidy, and Zipp want that number to grow to 50 percent participation in honor of their 50th reunion – and to meet their next goal.

“Now that we’ve hit $50,000, I say let’s get to $69,000, and let’s do it quickly,” Wayne said.

While Providence has made great strides in building the school’s overall endowment fund, it stands below the objective of reaching $3 million set forth in the Endowing the Future campaign. Endowment funds are still invested for growth in the short term, but in the long term, the plan is to use them to address the ever-present need for financial assistance and fortification of teacher salaries. If your class is not “on the board” in class endowment efforts, it not too late to get started. You can benefit from a challenge gift that will match the first $500 raised and also contribute an additional $500 if the total has reached $4,500.

 

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CASA volunteers find PHS connection

By coincidence, three members of the Class of 1981 and one from the Class of 1980 are helping children by working or volunteering for Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Floyd and Washington Counties. Lorie (Zoeller) Edwards ’81, is a staff advocate for the organization that currently is under the umbrella of St. Elizabeth Catholic Charities. Sue (Crone) Glordan ’81, Maria (Kinder) Triplett ’81, and Ann (Kaiser) Day ’80 are all volunteer advocates.

Maria (Kinder) Triplett ’81, left, and Sue (Crone) Glordan ’81, right, recently realized both are CASA volunteer advocates for Floyd and Washington counties. Classmate Lorie (Zoeller) Edwards ’81, center, is a CASA staff advocate.

To hear their stories, however, it seems that God had a hand in calling them to be part of the agency in order to serve as a voice for abused or neglected children in court. Edwards first became a CASA volunteer in 1988 while in law school in California after doing a class project on the then-fledgling organization. Once she got married and started a family, she no longer had time to volunteer until three years ago when she reconnected with CASA and eventually left her job as a paralegal to work for the agency full time. She said she always enjoyed working with children, and the time was right for a change.

“After 30 years in the legal field, I wanted to get back to my passion for working with kids,” said Edwards, who has a caseload of 60 children in Floyd and Washington counties.

Glordan and Triplett are classmates of Edwards, but their connection had little to do with their initial call to become a CASA volunteer. Three years ago, Glordan was looking for “a new volunteer opportunity that would take me out of my comfort zone a bit” and allow her “to connect with those I was serving on a more personal level,” she said. A Sunday homily from a visiting priest on service and answering God’s call resonated with her, and after Mass, she shared with parishioner Brenda Smith Falkenstein ’78 how it had touched her. Falkenstein, who serves on the St. Elizabeth board, invited her to the human service agency’s open house later that week. There, Glordan learned about CASA and immediately signed up.

“I think God’s hand in finding the opportunity was there,” Glordan said.

Triplett signed up in 2017 after reading a newspaper article about the agency’s growing need for volunteers as the number of children in foster care continued to rise due to the opioid crisis. She didn’t know that Glordan was a volunteer until they each ended up representing her CASA child in court on the same day.

Day recently signed up and completed her four weekly training sessions. She heard about the need for CASA volunteers while attending the St. Elizabeth Gala a few years ago. With her youngest in college, she was looking for more volunteer opportunities but wanted to do more research first. She reached out to Glordan as well as CASA volunteer Pamela (Lilly) Kraft ’77 and the Hon. J. Terrence Cody ’67, a Floyd County Circuit Court judge, who each answered her “many questions,” Day said.

Edwards said it’s not unusual for people to be reluctant to volunteer as a CASA advocate.

“A lot of volunteers are scared off by the term abused and neglected kids,” Edwards said. “They say, ‘Oh, I can’t do that. It’s too hard. It’s too sad,’ but the majority of these kids are in the system because their parents have made bad decisions, because of drugs or criminal activity, or just not being the parents they need them to be.”

Those who do volunteer become an advocate for the child in the court system. The Department of Child Services often focuses on the parent and reuniting the family, while CASA volunteers work to learn the children’s needs in order to speak up for them in court.

Volunteers typically interact with a child on at least a monthly basis and sometimes visit the child’s teachers and others to help determine the child’s needs. CASA works to match children with adults whose career or life situation may be of particular help to the child. Those with more free time can be assigned several cases, while those with limited time can represent only one child at a time.

“We can use anybody who has just a little bit of free time up to somebody who has a lot of free time,” Edwards said. “It just depends on the person, but we can use anybody who has any amount of time and we’ll make it work somehow.”

The agency is still in need of volunteers and has about 200 children without an advocate.

“Now is an ideal time to get people involved,” Edwards said.

For several years, CASA of Floyd and Washington Counties has been under the auspices of St. Elizabeth, but now it has grown to the point of being able to file for its own nonprofit status and will be hiring more staff. The agency will continue to rely on volunteers, however.

Triplett, Glordan, and Day all find the volunteer work rewarding.

Triplett said she likes “knowing that I am making a difference in a young person’s life during a very difficult and traumatic time.”

Glordan said she especially likes “being a consistent person in their life, listening, spending time with them, [and] encouraging them.”

The grandmother of the child in Glordan’s first case pointed out the importance of having children having multiple people in their lives willing to give their time and their care, and Glordan continues to recall that statement.

“It can be as simple as that,” Glordan said. “You can make an impact just by being present.”

Working with the adults in the children’s lives also is rewarding. Glordan enjoys working with the teachers, social workers, and counselors who are part of the team to help the children heal and grow. She also has found herself empathizing with their parents or guardians, who often “are struggling in ways I never have,” she said, noting “that has been a real growth experience for me. When you truly get to know people and know their life story, it’s easier to have more compassion and less judgement.  CASA is a program where you can really put your faith in action.”

Day, who is working on her first case, is finding it so fulfilling so far. Although such experience isn’t a requirement, she feels more confidence as an advocate thanks to her nursing background and experience in child and adolescent psychology. She credits Providence with first instilling in her “a desire to give back to my community” – and appreciates the connections within the alumni community that helped provide the advice she needed when she was first considering volunteering with CASA.

Edwards is hoping more alumni will do as her classmates and Day have done and seek more information or offer to volunteer.  The agency occasionally offers Meet & Greet sessions, but those interested can reach out directly to Edwards at 502-291-1837 or lorie@floydwashingtoncasa.org.

Even young alumni can help. Edwards’ daughter, Ashlyn ’15, is a volunteer advocate in Indianapolis. She started volunteering two years ago as a sophomore at Butler University studying philosophy and French. Ashlyn will be ending her volunteering in a few months after earning her degree this month and committing to move to France in September to teach under contract with the French government for a year. So Edwards knows that if a college student can find time, other alumni can too.

“I’m appealing to the kindness and compassion of my Providence family to join CASA in helping the children of our community,” Edwards said.

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Film inspires formation of Climbing Club

Teens have been known to attempt to mimic adventurous and sometimes foolish things after viewing them on YouTube and in feature films. A group of seniors recently were inspired by the documentary film Free Solo, about a man’s attempt to climb the vertical formation El Capitan in Yosemite National Park without climbing harnesses. Rather than attempting to climb local rock formations, seniors Bryce Drury, Joe Denis, and Harry Green founded the PHS Climbing Club in order to better afford a membership to Climb Nulu, a climbing gym in Louisville.

After seeing the film, the boys visited the gym in early February and enjoyed climbing the artificial rock formations so much, they wanted a full-time membership. But the $59 per person monthly fee was too expensive. Instead of giving up, they asked if the gym had a reduced price for a school club. The gym worked with them to give them a more affordable price, and the next day, the boys approached Mr. Michael Loner and Ms. Stephanie LeBrun to help them form the club.

“We went on Sunday, Monday we talked to the teachers, by Wednesday, we had it mapped out, and by the end of the week, it was official,” Joe said.

The Climbing Club has about a dozen members, but Bryce, Joe, and Harry are the most consistent climbers. Bryce and Harry go about four or five times a week. The gym has more than 50 routes climbers can use and continually updates various sections so climbers can find new challenges.

Harry and Bryce said they have already progressed from level B0 to B4 in just three months. Even though they go several days a week, the variety of routes and the continual updates means every trip can be different.

“It never really gets stale,” Bryce said.

Joe agrees.

“You can never max out with your abilities,” Joe said. “There’s always something new.”

Those new routes mean there is always a new challenge, Harry said, and wanting to finish a new route keeps them coming back.

“It feels really good when you finish a hard climb or a hard route,” Harry said.

Bryce likes being able to climb with his friends as well as challenging himself to do more.

“It’s constantly about improving your skills and how good you are at climbing,” Bryce said.

The boys said working to form a school club and get a discount rate helped them learn to negotiate. They were able to reduce the rate by half and will be able to pay that rate through June.

They have come to enjoy climbing so much they hope to continue climbing next semester in college. Joe plans to attend Indiana University Bloomington, and Climb Nulu has a franchise in Bloomington. Bryce and Harry plan to attend Purdue University in West Lafayette and have already checked into climbing opportunities there. They also hope to climb a real rock formation one day and plan to make a trip to Red River Gorge in Kentucky when their skills are developed enough.

“We definitely want to keep climbing,” Bryce said. “It’s just fun.”

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Dr. Jacobi loves to learn and to teach

It might seem odd that an English teacher is the chairperson of the Theology Department, but Dr. Kathryn Jacobi said it actually makes perfect sense. When she was named chairperson a few years ago, there was not a theology teacher able to take on the role since several of the teachers were new. Dr. Jacobi has been able to help the department by offering advice with critical reading and lesson plans, common teaching approaches in both disciplines.

Taking on new roles and adapting to changes in curriculum and other areas are things Dr. Jacobi has become adept at after more than 25 years teaching at Providence. In the past few years, she has switched from teaching ACP English 12 to AP Language and AP Literature and Composition. Several years ago, she was the IGNITE chairperson to assist with the school moving to the anticipated move to the Common Core Standards.

She now teaches Honors English 9, English 12, and the two AP courses. As the English curriculum has moved to offering AP (which offers college credit when students pass a national year-end assessment) instead of ACP (which offers dual credit through Indiana University Bloomington) courses, Dr. Jacobi said the courses continue to challenge students to develop higher level learning, with the AP Literature & Language providing another AP offering for juniors to meet the Honors Diploma Standards, and AP Language will prepare seniors for writing in college.

“I like the challenge level I can bring to the kids” in AP courses,” Dr. Jacobi said. “”Our kids have so much potential. It’s always very gratifying to see them respond to higher level work.”

The AP courses involve more class discussion, and Dr. Jacobi said she continues to be intrigued by students’ responses to the literature.

“It’s interesting to hear them respond,” she said. “I like challenging them.”

Dr. Jacobi has seen many other changes in education since she first began teaching English in 1991. In recent years, the biggest change has been the introduction of the iPads. She said one drawback of the devices and ready access to information online is students’ using online information as a crutch rather than finding the answer themselves.

“They tend to think they can find the answers online,” she said. “The challenge is getting them to think for themselves.”

Another challenge is keeping students attentive. In the past, students would daydream or read a book instead of paying attention. Now, they are tempted to play games, use social media, or message each other on their devices, so classroom discipline has changed, and like many teachers, she has students put their phones in the back of the room. She also has learned to differentiate between students’ reading the literature on their iPad and being off task.

Dr. Jacobi continues to enjoy teaching at Providence. Since coming to Providence, she said, she has been committed to Catholic education because of the community, the higher standards to which students are held, and their shared Catholic faith. The size of the school allows her to know her fellow teachers, and over the years, watch their children grow up – and even teach some of them.

She has also taught a Medical Humanities class for a few semesters at IU Southeast and enjoyed the course’s focus on “illness narratives.” She said she enjoyed the class and might teach it again in the future. For now, she is enjoying gardening, walking in downtown Jeffersonville near her home, and traveling. She and her husband, Jerry ’73, are planning a trip to Kenya this summer. It will be their first time to Africa, and they are looking forward to it, she said.

Her favorite place to visit, however, is her birthplace, Cornwall, England, where they have visited several times.

“I just love St. Ives,” Dr. Jacobi said. “it’s just beautiful there. The Cornish coast is our favorite.”

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Couple turns loss into way to help others heal

Charlie Schueler ’08 and his wife, Madalyn, have started a business they hope no one has the occasion to use. The couple recently founded an Etsy shop, RainflowersShop, which provides miscarriage and infant loss care packages, after experiencing their own loss of their unborn baby. In early March, the couple learned at a routine pregnancy doctor’s appointment that their third child didn’t have a heartbeat at 11 weeks gestation. Friends and family grieved with them, made meals, and sent flowers. Although the Schuelers appreciated the acts of kindness, none were enough to memorialize their child.

“Although they were so helpful and thoughtful, we still ended up with empty hands, nothing tangible to remember our angel baby,” Charlie and Madalyn said in an email. “Once we started looking into it, the only gifts we could find available for an event like this is jewelry and plants. We wanted to offer more tangible gifts of comfort and keepsake.”

Before their own loss, friends had also experienced the loss of an unborn child, and the couple wanted to send a gift. They looked online for something suitable and settled on creating a gift of their own, forget me not seeds and a decorative tea towel. Over the course of the next few weeks, the idea to create a business to fill the void of gift packages for parents losing an unborn child or infant came to be. RainflowersShop, named after the child they lost, was launched about a week ago, and the couple has already filled several orders.

Charlie, a construction engineer with INDOT, and Madalyn, a former teacher who now cares for their two children full time, plan to run the shop themselves. They created the shop’s logo, with the help of Madalyn’s sister, whose handwriting is used on all printed materials. They create the seed packs that go in each gift, and purchase handmade candles and journals from a vendor. Customers have the choice of several gift packages, each named after their children.

“We consider this a family business, and the mission is extremely personal to our family,” they said. “Each box is named after one of our children and reflect their personalities. We talk about Asher often, and they know he is in heaven looking over our family.”

The Henry box features a journal, candle, and handkerchief and is named after their older son, Henry, who is 3 ½.

“He is our deep thinker,” they said. “He is calm and reflective, which is the reason we chose these items for his box.”

The Ivy box, named after their 2-year-old daughter, who is their “free spirit. … wild, independent, and beautiful,” contains a planter, forget me not seeds, and handkerchief. The Asher box, named after their third child, Asher Rain, contains a journal, candle, planter, forget me not seeds, butterfly garden ornament, and handkerchief.

“Asher is the combination of our other children, Henry and Ivy,” they said. “The name Asher means blessed by family, and we hope that the recipients of this box feel as if they are blessed by the box.”

The Schuelers prepurchase the supplies for the gift boxes, and when an order comes in, they can assemble and personalize it quickly so that each order ships in just a day or two.

The Etsy shop is a way for the family to heal as they help others to do the same. It’s also a way to memorialize Asher’s story. As Madalyn shares to each recipient of their care box:

“I’ll never forget the words that changed our lives forever, in the worst way. ‘This is your baby, but I don’t see a heartbeat today. I’m so sorry.’ The floor disappeared beneath us. This is the most horrible dream, but it wasn’t. We were 11 weeks into our third pregnancy, so anxious to see our precious baby, the day we found out that our baby was gone. Measuring at just nine weeks, I’d been carrying our angel longer than their life; my body held on and refused to give up hope. The days after that appointment are a complete blur. Filled with sobs, surgery, and constantly reliving the reality of what was happening to us. Trying to accept that the life journey of our Asher Rain will always be a conversation of what could have been. Without the love and support of our family and friends, we honestly don’t know how we could have made it through those first few weeks. Somehow, we did make it through, and although every single day brings challenges and reminders, we survived. You will, too. Give yourself, and each other, time and grace.”

For more information, visit www.etsy.com/shop/rainflowersshop. Or follow the shop on Facebook and Instagram.

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Senior gets taste of future teaching career

Senior Jesse Zoeller has thought about being a teacher since he was a sixth grader at what is now St. John Paul II School. He loved learning, but he was a shy student and struggled to communicate well with others. But through theatre, he has overcome his shyness and after doing a job shadow for a day, he feels more certain that teaching is the career path for him, he said.

Jesse shadowed Mrs. Jill Brock, a former Providence parent and a first grade teacher at St. John Paul II. He said he learned from observing her the qualities needed in a “great elementary teacher,” including enthusiasm and the ability to connect with the students. He was then given the opportunity to connect with the students by reading several books to them, including one of his favorites, The Giving Tree.

When they responded with enthusiastic questions, he said he experienced a sense of validation that he was capable of being a good teacher. When he was their age, he wouldn’t have felt comfortable asking questions or reading aloud to others. But being involved in Providence theatre and working at the Louisville Zoo for the World’s Largest Halloween Party has helped him grow more confident in overcoming his past shyness over meeting new people.

“Students who had never met me before were asking me questions, and I saw that their communication skills were better than mine were when I was that age,” Jesse said.

Portraying different characters on stage also helped him break out of his shyness, he said. When he talked to Mrs. Brock about teaching, he realized that teachers sometimes use those same skills, by projecting enthusiasm even if they may be having a bad day.

His ability to project enthusiasm is what brought about his job shadow day in the first place. His portrayal of Felonius Gru from the feature cartoon film Despicable Me for a Popcorn Players skit caught the attention of Mrs. Brock. Jesse said she told him how much the students loved his character portrayal and that they would love to see him again. So he set up a day to observe her teaching and visit the students.

Looking back on the day and how the students responded to his storytelling, Jesse said he now feels very confident that he can be a good teacher someday.

“It proved I am capable of doing these things,” Jesse said. “That tells me I’m going down the right path.”

Jesse plans to pursue a degree in elementary education at Indiana University Southeast and is getting an early start by taking some of his general education requirements in the summer sessions.

Mrs. Mauk’s love of math helps students learn

Math teacher Stephanie (Mayfield) Mauk ’99 loves her job, and it shows. She loves her subject, and she enjoys helping her students learn problem solving skills to help them find the right answer. She is in her eighth year at Providence, and her 16th year overall. She also is in her sixth year as Math Department chairperson. She teaches AP Calculus, Honors Precalculus & Trigonometry, Precalculus & Trigonometry, and Probability & Statistics.

As much as she enjoys teaching math, she wasn’t always certain math would be her subject. Although she enjoyed her math classes at Providence, she also likes history. Once she decided she wanted to become a teacher, she knew she had to choose between the two. Her history classes at Ball State University, however, focused on “memorizing a lot of dates,” she said. She enjoyed her math classes so much more, that she chose math education for her major. She has been happy with her choice ever since.

“I like math because there’s a right and a wrong answer, but there are lots of ways to get there,” she said. “So we do a lot of problem solving, and it’s good seeing kids working to get the answer.”

Mrs. Mauk also makes sure her students have a variety of ways to apply the lessons she teaches. After she spends time giving direct instruction, the students spend the remainder of the block in a variety of activities, from board work to working in pairs at their desks.

“I want them to do most of the learning themselves and working to get the answer to add to my direct instruction,” she said.

Mrs. Mauk said it may look like students are doing most of the work, but she spends a lot of time preparing each lesson, especially since the department no longer uses textbooks now that students have iPads. She uses state standards and College Board standards to develop the curriculum for each subject and provides instruction and activities for students to master those standards.

She said she feels gratified seeing her students work hard to learn the concepts and necessary problem-solving skills. Her students not only take advantage of work time during class time, but many of them come to her room before school, and not only on BLUE Days. She also is pleased that the percentage of students passing the cumulative AP Exam has generally increased year over year. In 2017, 25 of the 29 AP Calculus students passed the exam, for example.

Mrs. Mauk applies the same approach of empowering students as faculty sponsor of the House of Courage. When she first became a House leader, she led the meetings but soon realized the students would be more attentive listening to other students, and the student leaders would be better leaders by taking charge of various tasks. Now, she sees the student leaders learning responsibility and working hard to achieve a goal, such as winning the Third Quarter Points Challenge.

Mrs. Mauk also has a creative side and gets to enjoy that as a faculty sponsor of the Pinterest Club along with Mrs. Mary Alice (Lenfert) Knott ’77 and Mrs. Corinne (Alles) Beyl ‘99. The teachers and students agree on a craft found on Pinterest and then get together so they can each work on the activity.

The House Leadership Program, extracurriculars like the Pinterest Club, and the close-knit community are some of the things that make teaching at Providence different than her previous teaching jobs. Mrs. Mauk taught at a much larger school in the Indianapolis Public Schools system prior to returning to the New Albany area and taking the job here.

“It was such a big difference teaching here,” she said. “I just love knowing everybody. I love going to the students’ games, and they get excited to see me and other teachers there. It’s a job where even if I come in in a bad mood, it doesn’t last long. The kids want to be here, and they are interested in learning. That makes it fun.”

Mrs. Mauk has a master’s degree in secondary education from IUPUI. She and her husband, Tony, live in Floyds Knobs with their son Lucas, 11, and spend much of their free time attending his sporting events. They are members of Holy Family. She also has two adult stepsons, Gavin and Garrett.

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