St. Joseph’s Academy celebrated the start of the 2023-2024 academic year with a Back-to-School Prayer Service, held August 9 in the Academy Student Center.
Principal Stacia Andricain welcomed the large gathering of students, faculty and staff. She introduced a slide show featuring pictures from the various service trips students undertook over the summer. These mission trips accounted for more than 1,000 hours of service to the dear neighbor.
Andricain said this year’s charism theme, Great-Hearted Love: Serving the Dear Neighbor, calls the Academy community to serve the dear neighbor without distinction. “The theme reminds us that we are a people moved by profound love of God and of the neighbor,” she said. “We live and work to draw all people into union with God and with one another.”
Student Minister Ginny Branstetter and Liturgy Club President Audrey Rothkamm, both seniors, began the service with prayers and a reading from the Gospel of John.
Student Council moderators Jade Spears and Cristina Latiolais inducted the executive committee members who will lead the student body this year: senior Charley Fernandez, president; senior Anna Foco, vice president; junior Hannah Grace Zimmerman, secretary/treasurer; and sophomore Lucy Roussel, communications coordinator. Class presidents introduced their respective class’ representatives and led their grade-level in prayer. The Student Council members were then sworn into office.
Council members for the 2023-2024 school year are senior class president Elise Brown and representatives Gabby Barker, Devyn Breaux, Maggie Cate Brickey, Caroline Campbell, Hannah Crochet, Gabriela Cuadra, Camille Curry, Analiese Dufrene, Hanley Hidalgo, Lilly Manson, Qierstin Merrett, Jolie Primeaux, Lauren Quebedeaux, Ella Robichaux, Eva Robichaux, Helen Schliewe, Thelma Toussant, Caroline Tullier and Mary Liz Word; junior class president Raygan Irvin and representatives Grace Alford, Lola Avery, Mary Ellis Beach, Charley Bergeron, Clara Couvillion, Ava Hoffman, Kara Johnson, Finley Malone, Mariana Moreau, Emmaline Ritter, Lanna Rodrigue, Nola Savoie, Mary Hill Savoy, Victoria Seeling, Hailey Sumich, Annabelle Sutton and Emery Zeringue; and sophomore class president Jane Templet and representatives Hattie Boone, Adeline Bonner, Jenna Braud, Olivia Funes, Sarah Guidroz, Lily Ruth Hyde, Ruthie Jumonville, Reese Landry, Camille Masterson, Greysen Millet, Emmy Neumann, Gretchen Payne, Clare Valluzzo, Hollis Wendell and Lizzie Williams.
As the freshmen have yet to elect their class representatives, they were led in prayer by Josephine Bahlinger Award recipients and fellow freshmen Sofia Ceruti, Rebecca Berlin, Olivia Sterken, Paige Ullrich, Sadie Bozeman and Lucy Wood.
SJA’s leadership team of President Jan Breen, Andricain, Dean of Academics Aubrey DeJohn, Dean of Curriculum and Instruction Aimee Urdiales and Dean of Women Christina Myles offered their prayer for the start of the school year, and Jackie Zeller, a 30-year member of the English department, led the faculty and staff in prayer.
Andricain thanked the facilities staff for their work to ready campus for the first day of school. She also thanked the Help Desk staff for rolling out 1,300 new laptop computers for the start of the school year.
Andricain welcomed the 276 members of the freshman class. She also welcomed new sophomores Allison Adams, Lillian Clark, Rebecca Dardis, Raleigh Jones, Soleil Joseph, Tatum Kopfinger, Hailey Lathers, Kirsten Meares and Megan Moore; new juniors Melina Jacobsmeyer and Abigail Marbury; returning junior Irianna Homes; and returning senior Aubrey Becnel.
New faculty and staff members were introduced, including science teachers Denise Brown ’00, Courtney Malbrue ’97, Amelia Morgan and Holly Brown ’94; math teachers Aaron Finley and Kelly Hilliard; arts department teachers Martha Guichard, Olivia Hamilton and Lori Kaiser; social studies teacher Cherie Lato ’99 and theology teacher Catherine Parker ’17. New staff members were introduced, including Kacie Engemann, executive assistant to the principal; Alli Bourgeois ’14, alumnae director; Victoria Hudson ’09, assistant admissions director; Ashley Ledet ’88, human resources director; Laurie Rozas, finance department; Kassi Samson ’13, executive assistant to the president; Anna Crifasi, Learning Center math tutor; Amanda Stinson ’01, attendance coordinator and assistant to the dean of women; and maintenance department staff members Debra Sparrow and Robert Winzy.
Andricain recognized the faculty and staff members celebrating milestone years of service to SJA this year. For five years of service were Sara Brignac, Holly Brown, Lindsay Carlino, Allie Mitchell Carlock, Meagan Moore, Aimee Urdiales and Dawn Weldon. Recognized for 10 years were Yvette Aillet, Fran Barbera, Mackenzie Brown, Ellen Frazier, Sheri Klemm and Brianna Sommers. T LaCour and Sharon Ogra were recognized for 15 years, Catherine Durnin was honored for 20 years of service and Stacy Rennhoff was recognized for 25 years of service. Recognized for 30 years of service were Jill Abadie and Jackie Zeller. Nan Murtagh was recognized for 40 years of service.
Myles described what being a member of the SJA community entails. She charged each member of the student body to embrace the responsibility of demonstrating great-hearted love through serving the dear neighbor.
Members of the Praise & Worship Band lent their musical gifts to the prayer service. Band members are vocalists Emily Vennen, Sophie Stelly, Julie Mistric and Allison Riley; pianist Adeline Fields; guitarist Hugo Andricain; and percussionist Stephen Barrios. Senior Anna Crasto closed the assembly with the singing of the alma mater.
Mindy Brodhead Averitt
Photos by Jennifer M. Fontaine