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Freshman singer has shot at national stage

Freshman Ella Unruh is just now starting high school, but she is no stranger to the stage. After performing in her first Deanery musical in the Robinson Auditorium several years ago, she knew she had found her future career and has worked to pursue it ever since. From becoming lead singer in a Maxwell’s House of Music sponsored band to being had the lead as Belle in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast Jr. at Providence last May, she has developed her love of singing and performing. She has even auditioned for Disney and Nickelodeon, and on Sunday, Aug. 18, at 7:00 p.m., she will be in a talent search contest at the Kentucky Center for the Arts with hopes of performing on PBS.

The talent search Celebration of Music is for young performers ages 4 to 25. As the contest travels to different cities, two winners in each city will be entered into a nationally televised contest on PBS. Voting for the contest has already begun and will continue through the night of the concert. One vote per person will be accepted leading up the concert, when everyone can vote again, with each vote being worth 10 votes that night only.

Freshman Ella Unruh feels at home on the stage. In May, she played the role of Belle in Disney’s Beauty & Beast Jr.

Ella said she was surprised and thrilled to learn she was invited to be in the contest. She had previously received a call back after auditioning for Disney and for Nickelodeon but had not advanced further in those auditions. Two winners from each state will move on to the Celebration of Music finals, which includes performing a solo the night of the contest, recording a single to be released on iTunes or a YouTube video if the winner is a dancer, and taping the finale with performance prodigy Ethan Bortnick, who founded the contest.

“So far this contest has been a true blessing,” Ella said.

Ella can also be seen singing locally as the lead singer for the band The Roux, which will open for Juice Box Heroes at the New Albany Amphitheater on Aug. 30. The Roux also will be showcased on local television show Great Day Live tomorrow from 10:00-11:00 a.m. and will perform during Harvest Homecoming in New Albany in early October.

As a student at Maxwell’s House of Music, which formed her band, she also was able to record a music single. Her original song “Origami Eyes” can be downloaded on any streaming service.

Ella said she is looking forward to performing on the Robinson Auditorium stage as a Providence student, especially since that’s where she discovered her love of performing. She will audition for Providence Singers on Friday and for the spring musical later this year.

“From the moment I got on the Providence stage – I feel like that’s my home, like I belong there,” she said. “Finding that thing for me was one of the best moments of my life, being able to know what I want to do. I’m glad to learn it so early in life.”

More School News:

Sophomore finishes border-to-border bike ride

Students learn from volunteer experience

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Senior explores military academy summer camps

Senior Brigid Welch knows she wants to attend a military academy, but she wasn’t sure which one, so she applied to attend each one’s summer seminar. She was accepted into most of them and spent one week each experiencing what it would be like at the U.S. Naval Academy, the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, and the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. Now she is beginning the application process and waiting to receive her acceptance letters before making her final decision.

Bridget said she is interested in attending a military academy because several people in her family were in the military, including her parents, both of her grandfathers, and a cousin.

“It sounds cliché, but since I was little, I felt the call to serve,” she said. “I have a great respect for veterans, and I just want to make my part in the world.”

She said she liked her experience at all three seminars and now has a better feel for what will be expected should she attend. At the Navy Summer Seminar, the emphasis on teamwork stood out. Every morning, the several hundred rising seniors were up for PT (physical training) at 5:30 a.m., and they all encouraged each other to get through the drills. She found the week of non-stop activity “intense,” but she enjoyed running into people who know her older brother, Brogan ’18, who will be a sophomore at the Naval Academy this fall.

The very next week, she was at West Point. That program was even more strict than the Naval program, and the participants had to be ready for anything at any time. She said she particularly enjoyed the rifle simulator during that program.

At the Coast Guard Academy, she took part in a week of the traditional Swab Summer, which is a seven-week training prior to freshman year. She learned how to keep her “eyes in the boat,” or looking forward, during that week. She was named the female Honorary Graduate of the Coast Guard Summer Seminar – a big honor considering there were close to 500 participants.

The most difficult part of the three programs was not being able to have her cellphone at the Coast Guard Academy, which meant she missed her sister’s birthday. Despite that, she said she is now most interested in the Coast Guard and Naval Academy and hopes to major in some type of engineering and to include athletics in her college future if she is accepted. At the Coast Guard, she met with the women’s soccer coach, and at the Naval Academy, she was approached by the rowing coach.

“It definitely increased my interest in the Navy and the Coast Guard,” Bridget said. “Before this summer, I had no clue.

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Teachers, staff travel the globe over summer break

Many of our teachers and staff traveled to interesting locations over the summer, from Kenya to Greece to New Zealand. Here’s a round up of where they went:

IT Manager Jack Riddle and his son spent a week at Camp Crooked Creek in early August his son’s first Scouts, BSA summer camp. Earlier in the year, Tyler joined Troop 380 chartered by Saint Patrick in Louisville, and Mr. Riddle became the assistant scoutmaster/patrol advisor for the new scouts.

“At camp, I really enjoyed seeing the scouts show their leadership, especially the older scouts working with the younger scouts,” Mr. Riddle said. “I also ran into current and former PHS students as participants and staff.”


Poaching is a problem in East Africa, and the Sweetwater Conservancy has a rhino conservation mission, where Baraka (which means “blessing”), a rescued blind rhino, lives. Dr. Jacobi’s friend Masolo is also in the picture.

English teacher Kathryn Jacobi and her husband, Jerry ’73, visited Kenya and their Kenyan friends, University of Louisville professor Dismas Masolo and his wife, Christine, who bilocate between Louisville and their home in western Kenya.

“After staying a few days in their traditional Luo village and experiencing African hospitality — including a goat, slaughtered in our honor, which we had for dinner on our second night —  we started our adventure and visited six game parks including the famous Masai Mara, where we saw many beautiful animals and visited a traditional Masai village,” Dr. Jacobi said. “We spent several days in Nairobi and then finished our trip visiting the old Swahili city of Mombasa — on the east coast on the Indian Ocean. During the course of our trip we also visited several museums, archeological sites, and two animal preserves. We saw so many beautiful animals and met many wonderful people. We look forward to visiting the Masolos again and seeing more of this amazing part of the world.”


President Steve Williamson and his wife traveled throughout Greece and made a day trip to Ephesus, Turkey.

“While I enjoyed the rich history of the ancient Greeks and Mycenaeans, the visit to Our Lady’s house in Ephesus was especially moving,” Mr. Williamson said. “Three different popes have visited Our Lady’s shrine in Ephesus where she and John the Evangelist lived after leaving the Holy Land. A modest shrine is built over the first-century foundation of the home reported to have been Mary’s. To think that I may have walked the same path that Our Lady had walked remains an inspiration for me.” 


Math teacher Stephanie (Mayfield) Mauk ’99 traveled with friends on a girls’ trip to Charleston with eight fellow 1999 alumnae plus one wife of an alumnus. She and her husband also cheered on their son, Lucas, and his baseball teams. His travel baseball team, The Ironmen, won the Global World Series Tournament in Destin, Fla., and his New Albany Little League 11U team won state in Decatur. 


Assistant to the President Debbie Fackler took a “sister trip” to Tybee Island, Ga., to celebrate her sister, Angie’s, birthday on the beach.

“We made the trip in her convertible Mustang and ate fresh seafood at a different restaurant every day,” Ms. Fackler said, adding that they also drove 20 miles to Savannah and explored the city by trolley. “The best part? Spending six days traveling and laughing with my little sister!”


Technical theatre teacher Ronnie Breedlove spent the summer producing and directing on the Jeffersonville RiverStage, something he has done for the past five years since teaming up with Jeff Parks to create the RiverPops Orchestra. He produces a Broadway musical production for the city each summer, and this year’s company of over 65 cast, crew, and musicians presented All Shook Up. Among the cast were junior Victor Beeler and Andrew Bittenbender ’18.

“I look forward to this outdoor theater experience every year,” Mr. Breedlove said. “It is definitely my summer highlight!”


Business officer Julie (Dattilo) Harper ’80 and her family visited Washington, D.C., including visits to Arlington National Cemetery, Mt. Vernon, the Lincoln Memorial, the war memorials, several Smithsonian museums, the National Archives, the U.S. Capital, the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, the St. John Paul II National Shrine, and other sites.

“We stayed in beautiful, historic Alexandria, Virginia, and visited family in Purcellville, Virginia,” Mrs. Harper said. “In spite of the 97 degree heat all week, we had a wonderful time!” 


French teacher Katie Aebersold traveled to Walt Disney World with her parents and her sister’s family, a favorite destination of hers.

“It was my first time going there with my niece, Emma, who is 2 years old, so that was very fun and exciting,” Miss Aebersold said. “I also got a chance to visit Epcot by myself for a morning and enjoyed my time traveling through World Showcase at my own pace. I especially enjoyed getting to converse in French with many of the cast members in the France pavilion!”


English teacher Elizabeth Bentley and her husband traveled through Australia and New Zealand.

“Our favorite place was Cairns, Australia, because of the tropical climate and scenery and above all, because of the Great Barrier Reef. It was truly one of the seven natural wonders of the world,” Mrs. Bentley said. “In the much colder climate of New Zealand, a cruise through the Fiordland National Park was a memory to last a lifetime. There is so much beauty in the fjords and waterfalls.”


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Sophomore finishes border-to-border bike ride

Sophomore Akhil Long likely rode his bike farther than any other Providence student this summer.  He rode his bike 1,500 miles from Tucson, Ariz., to northern Montana over three weeks with the Indianapolis-based bicycle club deCycles Indiana. He was one of 25 student-riders, including a friend of his from the area.

The group started in the Arizona desert biking in the mornings and evenings. The second week, the cyclists will biked through the Navajo Reservation and Zion National Park, one of nine national parks along the journey. The third week, the group crossed the Continental Divide three times and went as high as 8,000 feet above sea level.

Akhil said he particularly liked Zion Park and Bryce Canyon. Riding his bike through those area gave him a new appreciation for and perspective on the beautiful landscape.

“You can see more, feel the air move around you, and you’re more with the environment of the area around you,” he said.

The most challenging aspect of the trip was not so much the physical aspect of being on a bike all day but the mental challenge of dealing with the combination of the heat, the hills, and the miles of cycling.

“When you put it all together, it gets in your head a little bit,” he said.

But knowing everyone was dealing with the same thing helped him “push through,” he said.

At night, the group typically slept on the floor of churches along the route. They usually ate meals prepared by the church members, but sometimes they made their own meals and occasionally they went out to eat. Evenings were also a time to socialize and became the highlight of the trip for Akhil, he said. It was too difficult to talk much while they were biking because the wind made it difficult to hear and the exertion made it hard to talk. But at night, he made new friends, including some from Bloomington.

Akhil said he plans to join a local cycling club soon and to continue biking. He also wants to make the trip again some day and will apply again.

“It was fun,” he said.

More School News:

Students learn from volunteer experience

Freshman singer has shot at national stage

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Students learn from volunteer experience

Summer is a great time for our students to do volunteer work in order to meet their service learning requirement. Several students choose to share their time and talent with In Heaven’s Eyes, a Holy Family Parish-based ministry that serves the needy in our community. These students joined with members of the ministry to feed those who are homeless on Wednesday evenings in Jeffersonville. They helped make the food and then distributed it along with clothes and toiletries as part of the ministry’s mobile food pantry.

Senior Austin Grantz, junior Ali Hornung, and sophomore Autumn Grantz were just some of the volunteers. Austin helped out on seven different evenings and said he wanted to help others, especially via In Heaven’s Eyes because he respects the adults involved, including former Providence parent Mr. Dan Schoenfelder.

“I look up to him,” Austin said. “And I just like giving back. It makes me more grateful for what I have at home.”

Ali said she particularly liked delivery furniture to those in need even if it was heavy because she was able to meet the people receiving the items.

Autumn said she got involved with helping In Heaven’s Eyes several years ago because her friends talked about how much they got out of it. She continues to serve because she knows it helps those in need and enjoys meeting those she is helping.

“Just getting to talk to the people was a humbling experience,” Autumn said. “It makes me not complain because I have so much.”
Autumn, Ali, and Austin said they plan to continue to serve with In Heaven’s Eyes throughout the school year.

“I do want to keep helping out this ministry because it is a very helpful one that cares about everyone,” Ali said.

More School News:

Sophomore finishes border-to-border bike ride

Freshman singer has shot at national stage

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Sartini’s influence felt well beyond the Providence field

Last Friday, the Providence Football community was able to honor Coach Gene Sartini (Hon. ’93) one final time in a special on-field ceremony before his funeral. Former players and staff from each of his four decades lined the field and helped escort his casket in a touching tribute. The following is a reprint of an article that appeared in the Winter 2011 issue of the Vision magazine, following what was to be his final season at Providence.

By Jon Reiter ’93 

Aside from the thousands of young men he’s seen through the ranks, the improvements to the football facilities and dozens of big wins he’s been a part of during his 40 years at the helm of the Providence program, perhaps Gene Sartini’s lasting legacy will have been on the style of football that’s being played in Southern Indiana.

If there has been one criticism of Sartini’s style over the years, it’s that it’s too archaic. That the longtime coach clings stubbornly to playing one style of football, and that he refuses to adapt to the times. But each year, you can always spot a Southern Indiana tailback among the state’s leading rushers – suggesting instead that it’s Sartini who is being modeled, at least in this part of the state.

Sartini’s offensive philosophy is run-first, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t surprisingly intricate. In the early 1990s, Sartini installed a Wing T offense, which can allow two halfbacks, a fullback or the quarterback the ability to run the ball following the snap — done correctly, as the Pioneers have over the years — it completely confuses the opposing defense.

“In the last 10-12 years, the offense Coach uses has morphed into the Wing T, but there is still the same smash-mouth style of offense,” said Matt Theobald ’92, who played for Providence and is now head coach at Hanover College. “It is sprint to the line, snap the ball, and get on your guys and let the running back wear you down and control the clock.”

But on both sides of the football, in practice and off the field, Sartini and the rest of the Providence coaching staff – including long-time assistants Gary Rosenberger ’59 and Ed Jackson – are looking for a certain set of intangibles in a Providence football player. Is the kid coachable? Does he try hard? Is he willing to learn?

“When Coach looks at you, he looks at you as a football player, more than just a position,” said Joe Nichols ’90, who also played for Sartini and was head coach at Dupont Manual High School in Louisville. “If you’re used to playing in one spot, and he thinks going somewhere else on the field is going to benefit the team, he’ll figure that out too.”

Instinct, passion key to success

Players and staff from Coach Sartini’s 40 years coaching at Providence line the field to take part in the special tribute prior to his funeral on Aug. 9, 2019.

But Sartini hasn’t just relied on his instincts over the years to craft his football squads, which include five sectional champions and two state runners-up. Former players and opposing coaches say that preparation has been just as much of a key for the Pioneers over the years.

“He has modeled, with a relentless passion, leadership, loyalty, work ethic and a competitive spirit on his many players,” said former Jeffersonville coach Bill Ware (1981 to 1999). “I always knew that Gene’s teams would be well-prepared, physical, and very well-coached.”

Discipline, on and off the field, is another component of the Providence football player. Kids are treated as students first, and if they’re not making the grades, they’re spectators, not players. Every Saturday morning, Sartini hosts the “Blue Crew,” which is an organized study time for players who might be struggling with their classwork. Sartini admits that the program isn’t always popular with the players, who grumble about having to come back to the school on a Saturday morning — but it’s the price they have to pay to participate on Friday nights.

“The type of player Coach’s system produces will be tough both physically and mentally,” Theobald said. “They will know what it means to be in shape and understand the fundamentals of the game. Providence kids at the college level or in real life are well-prepared for the field and in the classroom. I know when I was a player, and still today, Coach stresses the importance of both.”

Sartini’s successor will have some large shoes to fill, not just at Providence, but throughout the Southern Indiana football community as well. Sartini, who won 268 games while at Providence, was elected to the Indiana High School Hall of Fame in 2004.

“He’s a great coach and has enjoyed an amazing career,” Ware said. “His influence will impact the community for many years to come. He’s brought honor, pride, and distinction to Providence High School, and is deserving of all the recognition he gets.”

Click here for a collection of videos from the special on-field tribute to Coach Sartini.

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Students perform on community stage

Several of our students had the opportunity to take their theatrical skills to other venues – and some are still performing. Rising junior Mara Holifield is a member of the Greek chorus in Mamma Mia! at Shelby County Community Theater in Shelbyville, Ky. The show opened last weekend and continues July 26-28 and Aug. 1-3 at 7:30 p.m. with Sunday, Aug. 4, at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $11-$16.

Mara said she has enjoyed the chance to perform during the summer, especially since she feels like “I enter an entire new world when I’m on stage and I love to make the audience feel the same way.”

“I love performing, and I am surrounded by positive people who share the passion with me,” Mara said. “It’s somewhat challenging vocally because we create beautiful harmonies, and I’m singing in a different vocal range than I usually do, but I love the change because I feel like I’m really growing from it.”

Recent alumnus Jesse Zoeller ’19 is in Disney’s Beauty & the Beast at Centerstage in Louisville on select dates through Aug. 4. Tickets are $22-$27. .

Other students wrapped up their performances this past weekend. Rising junior Victor Beeler and Andrew Bittenbender ’18 were in All Shook Up on the Jeffersonville RiverStage, with Victor a featured dancer and member of the ensemble and Andrew playing the role of Dean. Mr. Ronnie Breedlove, our musical theatre/technical theater teacher, was the producing artistic director for the Elvis Presley-inspired musical comedy, and Dan Bullington ’76 played the role of the sheriff.

Victor auditioned after hearing about the show from Mr. Breedlove in his Theatre II class, and he was glad to be part of it.

“I absolutely loved getting to meet new people in the cast,” Victor said. “I also loved the music of the show. It’s all Elvis music, but it’s done in a way where anyone who watches the show or listens to it can enjoy it.”

Performing on an outdoor stage had its challenges though. The heat wave that hit during the first two nights of the show made it difficult for backstage costume changes because everyone was sweating. And the closing show was under the threat of rain, so Victor learned what rain pace was, which calls for the cast to increase its pace to try to finish the show before the rain. Unfortunately, the final scenes were cut Sunday night as a storm rolled in, but Victor still enjoyed the experience – including improving his dancing skills, an area where he is weaker.

“The heat was something else,” he said. “We were all constantly drinking water backstage, and getting in and out of costumes wasn’t easy either. But this didn’t take away the fun at all from the experience.”

Three Deanery students who also have been Providence Junior Players (including Mrs. Ellen Holifield’s two youngest daughters) were in Frozen Jr. at the Clarksville Little Theater. Rising freshman KB Merchant and more than a dozen Deanery students, many of whom have been Providence Junior Players, participated in a summer theatre workshop and performed last weekend in Seussical Jr. and/or Lion King KIDS at the New Albany Amphitheater. New cafeteria manager Mrs. Sarah Gahagen was the choreographer for the junior shows.

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Students learn, serve, grow, and pray

Several of our students participated in activities from mission trips to week-long camps, including Hoosier Girls State; Hoosier Boys State; One Bread, One Cup; a U.S. Naval Academy Summer Seminar and more.

Rising senior Logan Applewhite attended Hoosier Boys State, held at Trine University in northeastern Indiana. He said he enjoyed the week-long camp, which breaks participants into various cities and political parties to simulate the election and government process. Logan was elected to county prosecuting attorney and city councilman but had to choose between them. He chose the role of prosecuting attorney and successfully prosecuted his cases. Overall, he enjoyed the experience.

“I had a great time interacting with guys from all across the state,” Logan said. “My favorite part was how so many guys could come together and form close connections in just a few days. Everybody was very friendly and willing to have a great time. I would highly recommend attending Hoosier Boys State.”

Rising senior Elle O’Bannon enjoyed her experience at Hoosier Girls State, especially the friendships that developed among the participants. She also liked learning about the governmental process and successfully ran for senator, which “was an amazing experience,” especially writing bills and resolutions and voting on them.

“The most interesting thing about the experience was to see how civil everyone acted, whether in defeat or debate, everyone kept a level head and truly just wanted to see a change for the better,” Elle said. “I learned a lot about how the government worked. It’s similar to many cogs working together to get an end result.”

For Elle her experience was made more meaningful since her late grandfather, Frank O’Bannon, served as Indiana governor from 1997 to 2003.

“I understood the pressure he must have been under and his motivation for doing it all,” Ell said. “He wanted to see a change and wasn’t going to wait around for it to happen.”

Rising senior Claire Reyes also enjoyed her time at HGS and like Elle, got the most out of the friendships she made.

“The people are incredibly supportive and kind, and there is absolutely no way you won’t make friends,” Claire said. “I met tons of different girls, and even though we were all so unique, we were still united by our patriotism and our desire to improve our country. The atmosphere is almost unreal! It’s peaceful yet so fun and also organized but with a little chaos. There’s constant cheering and encouragements. The days are also super busy, but there is always time to bond with your fellow delegates.”

Claire ran for three positions, losing two and winning one, as Federalist city chairman. She learned a lot from the election process, beginning with mustering the courage to run for a major position. Her roommate encouraged her to run for state superintendent of public instruction, and she was able to overcome her fear to run for such an important position. In the end, she said, she was happy she lost that position because her experience “wouldn’t have been the same if I was elected as the superintendent,” she said.

“I also learned so much about our government and how all the elections work,” Claire said. “It is way more complicated than I expected. You have to go through so many city, county, and party processes to even get to the positions that are well known. It takes time to understand them, but once you actually go through it all, it finally clicks and it makes sense! Besides learning about government processes at the state level, I learned so much about our veterans, the flag, and leadership. The American Legion Auxiliary and HGS make it a priority that we respect the flag at all times and always commemorate our veterans. Everything they pass down to us, we hope to pass down to our communities.”

As much as she learned, spending a week with participants and counselors who were so kind and welcoming made all the difference, she said.

“I loved being able to walk anywhere and somehow make another friend or two,” Claire said. “It makes me feel very blessed to have met such wonderful women and have spent a whole week with them. The counselors are no exception. They made sure we were taken care of and always having fun. One of my closest friends there was one of the counselors. I could say a million things about how great the people at HGS were. It does make me sad that it’s over, but I know I have friends all over Indiana to support me.”

Rising sophomores Katelynn Clemmons and Sarah Boehm participated in One Bread, One Cup, a five-day liturgical leadership conference at St. Meinrad Seminary. The conference for high school youth groups focused community building, leadership development, catechesis, liturgical and spiritual formation, and theological reflection.

This was the first time the girls attended the conference, and both learned a lot from it. Sarah said she initially signed up in order to take part in the Cantor Development course. When she didn’t get into that course, she focused on Prayer in the Life of Jesus Christ, which helped her strengthen her relationship with Jesus, she said. As a member of the prayer group, she learned to write the petitions that members of the group read at their daily liturgy. She also learned to lead the Liturgy of the Hours, which is the official set of prayers that help mark the hours of the day and sanctify the day to Jesus.

Katelynn attended at the encouragement of her parish choir director to improve her skills in the Cantor Development program. She was glad to sing in the choir and cantor at daily Mass and improve her skills. She now feels more confident and plans to use what she learned as a cantor at school and her parish.

In addition to daily Mass and praying the Liturgy of the Hours, participants attended formation sessions on their specific topic, spent time in reflection, and participated in fun activities such as a variety show and Ultimate Frisbee. Both girls said they were glad for the opportunity to attend in order to focus on their relationship with Jesus and to build new friendships with other participants in the conference.

“The most rewarding part was meeting new people who I will never forget and learning how to strengthen my relationship with Christ,” Sarah said.

Rising senior Andrew Henderson got a taste of what it would be like to attend college at the U.S. Naval Academy by attending its weeklong Summer Seminar. He thoroughly enjoyed the experience and strengthened his interest in attending.

He took part in some of the grueling physical training exercises, including competing on the endurance course and undergo a series of “sea trials,” he said. He also attended academic workshops on topics from aerospace engineering and nuclear engineering to martial arts.

“These classes showed me what the academic life at the Naval Academy was all about,” Andrew said. “I am interested in attending the academy because of the outstanding physical, mental, and moral development opportunities and challenges that await. I have a strong desire to serve my country and I believe the Naval Academy best prepares me for this path.”

Rising sophomore Amanda Upton and rising junior Beth Wimsatt joined other youth from the New Albany Deanery on a mission trip known as Wolfe Pack to serve in the Appalachian community of Campton, Ky. The group helped local residents with various repairs, including working on roofs, building ramps and stairs, painting, and filing floors. The group also participated in various spiritual activities, from adoration and confession to small group sharing and Lectio Divina. They also took time out to explore the beauty of the area at Natural Bridge State Park, to go rock climbing, and to play outdoor games.

It was Amanda’s first time on trip, and she wanted to go because her brother, Tyler ’19, talked so highly of the experience and she wanted to join him. She found the trip as rewarding as he said it would be.

“The most important thing I got out of the trip was truly realizing that material things aren’t important for happiness,” Amanda said, noting that it was a challenge to adjust to the environment and the culture, however. “The people that we helped didn’t have a lot, but they were all some of the nicest and happiest people I’ve ever met.”

Ultimately, helping others, even when it meant overcoming setbacks and working through difficult situations, was worth it.

“After finishing a project, the feeling of knowing we’d impacted the people in a positive way and helped them was the most rewarding,” Amanda said.

Beth loved her second year for the trip and the opportunity to serve others as much as the first.

“I quickly grew to respect the dignity the people had, even in their situation,” Beth said. “I was able to work on a variety of projects like replace and repaint rotted siding on an old house, put in the ceiling walls and doors in a new home, and rebuild a ramp for someone who is wheelchair-bound. I also cannot forget the many wonderful friends I have met and made just over a six-day camp. These are people that I will know for the rest of my life and always remember. Overall, I have loved my experience at Wolfe Pack and can’t wait for next year.”

Beth also gave of her time in other ways this summer. She was a camp counselor at Camp Marian, a one-week camp for girls grades five through eight hosted by the Sisters of St Benedict in Ferdinand. She previously attended the camp and was a counselor last year. Participants camped outside in tents on the grounds of the Monastery of the Immaculate Conception, went fishing, canoed on the lake, and more. Beth said she enjoyed teaching the girls the story of St. Benedict and helping them on their faith journey.

“All in all, it was an awesome camp experience,” Beth said.

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Alumni combine service, teaching

It’s not unusual for our alumni to develop a lifelong commitment to service, helped in part by the service learning requirement for all Providence students. Most do so in their free time. Some make it their career. Three young alumni are starting their careers by teaching in special programs that help others.

Julie Payne ’14 will be teaching in a low-income neighborhood in the Washington, D.C., area in the Urban Teachers program while pursuing her master’s degree at Johns Hopkins University Graduate School of Education, and Sara Gryboski ’15 will be teaching middle school STEM in Dayton, Ohio, as part of the Teach for America program. Ashlyn Edwards ’15 will be taking her teaching skills abroad, spending a year teaching under contract with the French government working in schools throughout France.

Edwards graduated in May from Butler University with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and French. She applied to the TAPIF (Teaching Assistant Program in France), which is run by Centre International d’Etudes Pédagogiques. She had heard of the teaching fellowship and followed through after Butler’s director of prestigious scholarships recommended the program to her – and assisted with some of the application.

She had previously spent a semester abroad in 2016 and enjoyed the experience. She also has been a volunteer CASA advocate in Indianapolis for two years, which gave her experience working with children and advocating on their behalf in the court system. The teaching fellowship will give her work experience as well as an opportunity to travel in France and throughout Europe. As she looks forward to heading to France in mid-September, she’s keeping her options open.

“I’m not really sure what to expect yet, so I’m just going to be in the moment and enjoy it as it comes,” Edwards said. “I plan to travel and meet up with friends in different countries during academic breaks and might stay for the summer after and do some traveling as well, but I don’t have any concrete plans yet.”

Gryboski earned her bachelor’s degree in linguistics with a minor in engineering sciences from The Ohio State University. For her, teaching middle school children through TFA is an opportunity to make a positive impact in children’s lives.

“I was really inspired by their mission, which is to work toward excellence and equity for all,” Gryboski said. “I’ve been blessed with a wonderful education, but a lot of children don’t have that opportunity. At TFA, we believe that talent is equally distributed, but opportunity is not, and I’m so excited to help make an impact and change the education system from within. I’m most looking forward to teaching my passions and helping students achieve their potential.”

She will teach for two years for TFA but doesn’t yet have a goal of teaching for a career, “but I hope I’ll continue to make a change.”

Payne graduated with a bachelor’s in secondary English education from Purdue University in May and was interested in the four-year Urban Teachers program after completing a teaching fellowship with Breakthrough Collaborative San Francisco at SF Day School last summer. That program “allows undergraduates to help prepare middle school students from under-resourced communities for college,” she said. During her last week, she attended a career fair featuring different teaching organizations and graduate school programs, where she learned about the Urban Teachers program.

After returning to Purdue for her final year, she did more research on the program and did a job shadow day in Washington, D.C., last October. She liked the program, applied, and was accepted, and then applied to Johns Hopkins and will earn her master’s in educational studies with concentrations in secondary literacy and special education over the next two years and continue teaching as part of the program for the following two years. Her first year she will receive a living stipend from Urban Teachers, and the following three years she will be paid a full-time teaching salary from the school where she works.

She will be teaching at IDEA Public Charter School in Northeast D.C., likely ninth or 10th grade, and is looking forward to helping youth.

“I became interested in this program because its values and core beliefs focus on creating excellent teachers for the urban education setting,” Payne said. “Working with students in the urban setting, especially students of color and low-income students, became a passion of mine during my time at Purdue and during my time at Breakthrough, so I’m excited that I’ve been given the opportunity to continue working in this setting.”

Even though she grew up in the medium-sized city of New Albany, she is excited for the opportunity to teach in a major metropolitan area, especially after working in San Francisco for a summer.

“Teaching in a major metropolitan area appeals to me because I will be given the chance to work with students from under-resourced communities,” Payne said. “I want to help all types of students understand that they are worthy of a high-quality education, regardless of their background or socioeconomic status, and that they are capable of achieving whatever goals and aspirations they set for themselves.”

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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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