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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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Seniors enjoy ‘trip of a lifetime’

For seniors Joe Gryboski and Tyler Upton, applying for the annual Indiana Electric Cooperative Youth Tour to Washington, D.C., was one of their best decisions as juniors. Both were accepted to represent their county – Tyler is from Clark County and Joe from Harrison County – and spent more than a week over the summer traveling with students from around the state to tour Gettysburg, Penn., and our nation’s capital.

Both students were impressed by the chance to get to meet with and speak to some of Indiana’s U.S. Representatives and its two Senators, they said. Joe said he enjoyed learning about the roles and responsibilities of our nationally elected officials.

They also liked touring the Smithsonian museums, but the most impactful stop for Tyler as the National Museum of the Marine Corps. Tyler said he has long aspired to join the military, and visiting the site made him take even more pride in the military and solidified his desire to enlist.

“It brought pride to look through that museum,” Tyler said.

As much as they enjoyed the sites, both also liked the chance to meet teens from around the state and all over the country, especially at the youth rally. They were able to meet many people there thanks to an activity in which they tried to trade pins with someone from each of the 50 states.

“My favorite part was the 2018 Youth Rally, where students from around the country all come together to learn about REMCs, and then had a party to celebrate,” Joe said. “Getting to meet people from around the USA was awesome. I would absolutely go back in a heartbeat. I highly recommend that anyone who is eligible should apply to go next year.”

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Teachers and staff learn, travel over summer break

Teachers and staff learn, travel over summer break

Our teachers have been busy this summer. Some were learning or training, including Mrs. Maria (Cochran) Harritt ’10, who took classes to teach AP history courses. Some traveled, including Mrs. Sharon Mooney, who toured the Cascade Mountains in Washington state. And Mr. Alan Mathews ’88 got married! Click here to read more about the adventures of our faculty and staff over the last few weeks.

Mrs. Stephanie (Mayfield) Mauk ’99, math teacher, spent time traveling and cheering on her son. Her son Lucas’s 10U All-Star baseball team won district and will now be going to Fort Wayne for the state tournament today through next Tuesday. She took a six-day trip to Amsterdam with her husband, Tony. Highlights included viewing the “beautiful architecture” from a cruise of the canals, a “360 view of the city” from a lookout tower, visiting the large park Vondelpark. and attending an orchestra concert featuring music by Mozart, she said.

“We did a lot of walking around and shopping and looking at everything,” Mrs. Mauk said. “Everything was so different from here. There were so many people from every country everywhere you went!”

Mrs. Ronda (Miller) Stumler ’83, director of special events and alumni relations, took a girls trip to Los Angeles and Hollywood with her daughter, Avery, a junior, and her friends and their moms, including junior Stephanie Koopman and mom Angie (Grantz) Koopman ’83. Highlights included eating at In-N-Out Burger, window shopping on Rodeo Drive, hiking up to the Hollywood sign, touring Warner Brothers Studios, attending a “hilarious taping” of Family Feud with Steve Harvey, and more.

“On the first day, our girls were star-struck while at our pool at the Beverly Hills Hilton (when) they realized they were sitting beside Rico Rodriguez, known for his role as Manny Delgado in the ABC sitcom Modern Family, and his sister Raini Rodriguez, who plays Trish De La Rosa in Austin & Ally on the Disney Channel,” Mrs. Stumler said. “Of course, they took a pic with them and we all got to meet them. What a whirlwind vacation we had!”

Principal Dr. Mindy (Lankert) Ernstberger ’74 and her husband, Jerry ’75, attended a conference and then visited Ireland together. They attended the Latino Enrollment Institute at the University of Notre Dame, “a three-day conference focusing on the growth of Latino families in the Church and how to be more welcoming to them in our Catholic schools.” Then it was time to visit their daughter, Leah ’08, in Dublin, Ireland. Highlights included touring the northern and western coasts, from Dingle in County Kerry through Galway, Connemara, and then County Donegal; visiting with the family of Leah’s boyfriend, fishing for salmon, attending the Irish Open, and staying at Ballynahinch Castle.

“We enjoyed absolutely admiring the beautiful and charming scenery,” Dr. Ernstberger said. “The trip was to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary, which is in August.”

Mrs. Emily Losey, guidance counselor, attended the Independent Colleges of Indiana Counselor Tour, visiting seven Indiana college campuses: Ancilla College (a junior college in Donaldson), Goshen College (a private college near South Bend), Bethel College (a Christian college in Mishawaka), Valparaiso University (a private university in northern Indiana), and Saint Mary’s College, Holy Cross College, and University of Notre Dame (three Catholic colleges in South Bend).

“It was a wonderful experience to tour each of these unique private colleges in Indiana to learn more about the opportunities and degree programs available as well as to view the campuses and learn more about student life at each college,” Mrs. Losey said.

Mrs. Losey also was featured in a story in the News and Tribune about her volunteer efforts for Brandon’s House in New Albany.

Mr. Brad Burden, Spanish/P.E. teacher, and Mrs. Donna Burden, art teacher, and their daughter did some sightseeing in Northern Indiana while also traveling to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., for medical tests for Mrs. Burden. The family enjoyed visits to Mall of America Aquarium, the University of Notre Dame, Michigan City Beach, and Indiana Beach.

English teacher Dr. Kathryn Jacobi and her husband, Jerry ’73, traveled to England. Highlights included visiting family in Yorkshire and London and sightseeing in Scarborough, Chartwell (Churchill’s country home), Blenheim Palace (Churchill’s birthplace), the medieval town of Wells (home to several “spectacular cathedrals”), and Canterbury on the way to the southwest coast in Cornwall.

“But the part of England that is so close to our hearts is Cornwall. We stayed again in St. Ives, just a few miles from the town where I was born,” Dr. Jacobi said. “We had many adventures, met wonderful people, and hiked through lovely, sweeping landscapes and visited large and small gardens—one of our favorite things to do. Cornwall is so beautiful.”

Mrs. Laura Swessel visits the U.S. Capitol while serving as senior faculty advisor for WYSE.

Mrs. Laura Swessel, science and math teacher, led several weeks of STEM Camps at Providence and then traveled to George Mason University to be a senior faculty advisor at the Washington Youth Summit on the Environment (WYSE). The conference is for rising juniors and seniors from around the world to focus on environmental concerns and “their role in preventing/solving these issues.” Junior Regan Elias attended the event and was featured in a video on the dangers of microplastics and reusable straws.

Mrs. Swessel said she enjoyed the summit, which included various speakers, such as Ralph Nader, a simulation activity on drafting legislation, and field trips to the National Aquarium, National Zoo, Smithsonian museums, U.S. Capitol, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI), Friends of the Rappahannock, NASA Goddard, Noman Cole Pollution Control Plant, National Geographic Headquarters and Museum, and various George Mason School of Environmental Studies laboratories.

As a senior faculty advisor, Mrs. Swessel led a group of 23 students through the activities and led a simulation activity and a breakout session on renewable energy

“It was an amazing experience to not only take part in the various activities, but to build relationships with the other senior faculty advisors, the JFAs, and (of course) the 23 kids in my group,” she said. “The contacts I made are also going to come in handy as I incorporate some of the material into my PHS classes.”

Mrs. Swessel also helped run the Duke Energy Academy at Purdue and visited friends and family along the East Coast.

Mrs. Elizabeth Bentley, English teacher, and her husband traveled through the Netherlands, Africa, and France before returning to the United States and spending time with family in Naples, Fla.

“The best part of the trip was Victoria Falls, Africa,” Mrs. Bentley said. “It’s like being a few steps from heaven.”



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