“Participating in the Student Counseling Committee has taught me many lessons about leadership and how to help the students of St. James.”

by Luke Ludwikoski, SJA Class of 2019

As a part of St. James and the Student Counseling Committee, I believe that the students that attend St. James have a dramatic impact on the success of the school. Participating in the Student Counseling Committee has taught me many lessons about leadership and how to help the students of St. James. It has also taught me how our committee of just six students can make a huge impact on the success of the school. To start, the Student Counseling Committee is a class that a student (Junior or Senior) can apply for the semester before the class. During class time, we talk about how we can help better the students of St. James. Each month usually has a theme and we do an event for each month. This can be anywhere from putting a ‘motivational saying’ on everyone’s car or making videos for all school assemblies, showcasing a specific topic. Everything we do is to help improve the students that attend St. James; and as shown in the past, when our students succeed, our school as a whole succeeds.

The Student Counseling Committee has planned many assemblies and school-wide events. A good example is the “Stress Less Fest”, which was a school-wide event to help students before finals. We had a stretch-and-breathing station, ping pong tables, a buffet of cookies, hand-made stress balls, and most importantly, we even brought in three puppies! This event went very well but came with a lot of time and effort for our team. We accepted this challenge and went to work. Through lots of trial and error, we had a final plan and it couldn’t have gone any better. The parents of St. James were a huge help and provided us with almost all of the cookies. There is no other community that is this closely knit and wants to help the school as much as the parents of St. James do. We had multiple students tell us how much the “Stress Less Fest” helped get the weight of finals off of their shoulders and how big of an impact it had on them right before finals. This is one of the many things that the Student Counseling Committee does to help the students at St. James succeed.

One of my favorite assemblies that we have put on was the suicide awareness assembly. This assembly has had the biggest impact on students out of everything we have done. I believe this assembly was so impactful because we had a student-written play acted out by some of the students and teachers in front of the whole school. After the play ended we set up tables with note cards and asked the students of St. James to write something they want to say to someone struggling with depression or suicidal thoughts. The note cards were randomly redistributed to the students and they received an affirming message from another student in the building. What we as a counseling team, and many students, learned from this assembly was that something as small as saying hi to someone in the hallway can save a life. We understand that everyone is carrying their own cross and we as a counseling team are wanting to carry that cross with them no matter how big their cross might be.

The Student Counseling Committee also acknowledges that social media is used by almost every student in the building via Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter. One of our bigger assemblies was about cyberbullying. We know that this happens due to how much time is spent on phones and we wanted to remind students how important it is to be kind behind their screens. We showed, through a skit, how some hurtful words over text can leave a world of hurt for someone on the receiving end. However, we implemented a “hero” in the skit to show students that standing up for each other is a lot better than putting someone down, even though it can sometimes be hard.

The Student Counseling Committee’s mission is, “To develop, create, and implement school-wide campaigns focused on subjects such as personal character development, mental health awareness, digital citizenship, and social relationships.” This mission statement is brought into every inch of what we do. We dedicate a class to help better understand the battles that students face every day in hope that we can have a positive impact on them.

The biggest thing that comes out of the Student Counseling Committee is the relationships you build with your peers in the counseling team and the students you help in the building. So many friendships have been formed through the events and assemblies that the Student Counseling Committee creates. The friendships formed with the people in the class has been a blessing to me and for everyone in the Student Counseling Committee. We are a close-knit family of brothers and sisters, under God, helping the lives of high school students. The students in the Student Counseling Committee are self-driven, faith-filled, and school-spirited young men and women that will not take “They are fine” for an answer. There is no other class like it in the entire school and to be a part of it is something extremely special. Without it, I do not think that our school would be in the amazing place it is today because the Student Counseling Committee reminds the students of what is actually important on their journey through high school, life, and most importantly, heaven.

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched, but must be felt with the heart.” –Helen Keller

by Luke Ludwikoski,  SJA Class of 2019
SJA teacher Mr. Thomas converses with parents at open house

How St. James Does STEM

While some of our neighboring public schools continue to add four-year, specialized tracks geared towards particular jobs, we believe St. James Academy is called to provide a different option: a well-rounded education rooted in objective truth and the liberal arts...
SJA runners participate in relay race

Try Summer Running – All Levels of Experience Welcome

"Well over 100 athletes participate in the SJA summer running program. Some have never tried distance running before. There are a good number of reasons why so many athletes and their parents find the program to be beneficial." By Coach Rob Harber The first day of...
Students pose for photo after red carpet

Transferring Into St. James

Considering Transferring to St. James? I realized God had spoken to me during those shadow visits that led me here, and once more in that Mass telling me, “You did it! You have found your forever home.” By Adeline McIntire, Class of 2021 It was April 26th, and it was...
SJA football quarterback scrambles during pass play

This Isn’t CYO Sports Anymore!

"No one said that high school sports were going to be easy, but it will be worth it...when we put Jesus in the center of all we do then the successes will fall into place, whether it’s on the field or court, stage, classroom, in relationships, or a relationship with...
SJA students hold up sign during parade

Why St. James?

"I would not be who I am today without St. James, and I wouldn’t trade it for twenty extra minutes of sleep in the morning, or a bunch of friends I’m already comfortable with." By Maddie Joerger, St. James Academy Senior As a senior with only a couple weeks left in...
dirty paint brushes

The St. James Art Experience

I was not only offered a greater capacity to understand, appreciate, and create art, but also opportunities to grow in patience, self-control, and community By Helen Rhodes, Class of 2017 In the first class of the first day of high school, I found myself sitting in...
SJa Student olivia kaufman smiles for photo

Distance Learning – A Parent’s Perspective

I know that each day my kids are being watched over by teachers and an administration who have a true calling in what they do. In most of my conversations with teachers, I walk away amazed at how faith-filled they are and how much they are genuinely committed to...
SJA seniors pose during graduation

Return on Investment in Catholic Education

"The quality of life I have today derived from my parents’ investment in my Catholic education years ago." By Hannah Sanchez, SJA Class of 2013 Investing in quality education today is key to receiving tomorrow’s quality of life. Each school or educational system has...
SJA volleyball players celebrate lemon out

No One Sits Alone! (Celebr8 Awesome)

"I work in a place where practice starts and ends in prayer and where it’s ok and even encouraged to talk to kids about their lives and their struggles . . . it’s a pretty awesome place." By Nancy Dorsey, Staff and Coach of St. James Academy and Author of...