News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

June 18, 2014

A place for saints and scholars

John Paul II grad blazes forward as new director

TERRE HAUTE — A graduate of John Paul II Catholic High School, Elizabeth Frye knows what the school has to offer and she wants to ensure that future students benefit as well.

About a month ago, the recent Indiana University graduate began serving as the new director of the small Catholic high school, housed at the former Sacred Heart School at 1330 Lafayette Ave.

“I had a really great experience here. I made lifelong friendships and learned skills that helped me out in college” and beyond, she said. “Most importantly, I learned how to defend my faith and be a better Catholic.”

The school began in August 2000 with eight students and was housed in the St. Patrick’s rectory. It relocated to the former Sacred Heart School in 2007, when it had 23 students.

In June 2008, the school was granted full accreditation by the Indiana State Board of Education, according to the school’s website. It could grant diplomas and at the same time offer a Catholic curriculum.

Last summer, it achieved recertification of its accreditation, according to its website.

The school’s goal is “to create saints and scholars by providing a strong Catholic education as well as strong academics,” Frye said.

Last year, the school had about 15 students and that is the goal for the 2014-15 academic year, she said. Those wanting more information about enrollment can contact Frye at  eliz.frye@ johnpauliicatholichigh.org or call the school weekday mornings at 812-235-9108.

While the school uses a Catholic curriculum, it is open to non-Catholics. “We do ask that whatever their faith may be, they be practicing it,” she said. Students wear uniforms and attend weekly mass at Sacred Heart Church.

The school’s graduates have gone on to such colleges as Butler, Purdue, University of Southern Indiana and Rose-Hulman. All students are encouraged to strive for an Academic Honors Diploma, she said.

She anticipates the school will have six or seven part-time teachers next year, both paid and volunteer. Some are experienced educators while others have expertise in their fields.

The school is funded through tuition and fees, fundraisers and donations; it participates in the state’s tax-supported school voucher program.

Tuition is $5,950, and each additional child in a family is $5,000. The website also shows an annual technology fee, textbook rental fee and new student orientation fee. Tuition assistance is available.

Most students receive scholarships, Frye said, “So we do rely heavily on the fundraisers we conduct throughout the year as well as our donors and supporters.”

The school does offer extracurricular activities, which depend partly on student interest. It has offered golf, ballroom dancing, drama and basketball. Next year, it will have a yearbook club.

Students have done community service projects at Ryves Youth Center and Union Hospital.

Raising funds to keep the school open is an ongoing effort. “We do have numerous fundraisers throughout the year put on by our parent group and supporters of the school,” she said.

Volunteers, and donations, are always welcome. Volunteers are needed to help staff the office and also to assist with fundraisers.

Frye, a 2010 graduate of John Paul II, believes the small size and one-on-one interaction with teachers made a huge difference in her life. Because of that interaction with her teachers, she wasn’t afraid to meet with her college professors if she was struggling with a class.

“That’s a really important skill that not all students learn in high school,” said Frye, who has a bachelor’s degree in social work. Students learn basic life skills at John Paul II, she said.

Frye is committed to the high school and its success. “I love this school. I’m really passionate about it and  it would break my heart to see it close,” she said.

She remains confident it will be open for many years to come.

The school’s website is www.johnpauliicatholichigh.org

Sue Loughlin can be reached at 812-231-4235 or sue.loughlin@tribstar.com.

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