BCACS Mission Statement

Battle Creek Area Catholic Schools, in partnership with parents, community and the Catholic Church, provide students with an excellent education and solid faith formation. Students will know the Faith, share the Faith, and live the Faith.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

St. Joe students walk for miles and miles and miles...

Rounding the schoolyard
You can see them during morning drop-off at St. Joseph Elementary School – students as young as five and as old as fifth-graders circling the school grounds, stopping only to swipe a card before taking off again.

You will see them again during lunch recess, racking up hundreds of miles within the friendly confines of their schoolyard.

This is Operation Fit, a six-week, city-wide fitness program for elementary students funded through a Battle Creek Community Foundation grant. Ann Gallagher, St. Joseph preschool aide, heads up St. Joe’s effort.

“Our goal as a school and a community is to get kids moving,” Ms. Gallagher said.

Ms. Gallagher tailored St. Joseph’s Mileage Club to fit the grant criteria. Students walk the schoolyard along a specific route. After each circuit, they swipe a personal bar code into an iPad app, which tracks their progress.

Tracking their progress
Eight laps equal a mile and every mile gets students closer to prizes like mileage tokens, wristbands, T-shirts, water bottles, lunch with the principal, even Full Blast day passes.

Participation is voluntary; so is walking.

“They can run, they can skip – I don’t care how they do it as long as they are moving,” Ms. Gallagher said.

On May 3rd, St. Joseph hosted an Operation Fit Family Fun Night with Bronson Battle Creek. Healthy recipe demonstrations and taste-testing were followed by more time on the blacktop.

“We ate first and they were able to walk for an hour,” Ms. Gallagher said. “Some kids did 30 laps that evening.”

Ms. Gallagher tracks miles before school and during lunch recess – times that are open to all elementary students. At the end of the six weeks, the top boy and top girl will receive a Razor scooter.

[l to r] Kolten Etheridge, Ann Gallagher, and Ryan Casterline
Second-grader Kolten Etheridge and fifth-grader Ryan Casterline are neck-and-neck for the top boy spot going into the final week.

“As soon as I come out the side doors, they are running,” Ms. Gallagher said. “It’s really awesome to see them compete.”

Although they enjoy the competition, both boys enjoy moving.

“I think it’s a good way to get out and run and be more athletic,” Ryan said.

“I love running and you can just run as much as you want,” Kolten said. “And once you get up into those high levels, it feels good to be up there.

As for the top two girls?

“I don’t know how competitive they are with each other,” Ms. Gallagher said with a smile. “They are running together.”

The elementary school has totaled 1804.78 miles as of Monday night. The real victory for Ms. Gallagher, however, is getting more kids to enjoy exercise.

“If I could get a least one kid who didn’t exercise moving, then I’ve done my job.”

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Senior Spotlight: Emma Hayman, Jordan Snyder, Marla Adam & Drew Lantinga

Emma Hayman
Emma Hayman wants to preserve life – animal and human.

An accomplished equestrian, Emma pursued an internship at Southside Veterinary Clinic, where she witnessed a surgery on the first day.

“[Dr. Luoma] told me that most people get super nauseous when seeing the blood during the surgeries,” Emma said. “Blood isn't everyone’s best friend, but I loved watching the surgery and it was a success.”

Emma planned to attend Kellogg Community College before transferring to Michigan State University for her veterinarian degree. A trip to the bathroom during St. Philip’s most recent Career Day changed that.

Passing the gym, Emma stopped to speak with the Marine recruiter. Their conversation sparked Emma’s interest. After more investigation, Emma did an about-face on her college path.

“I decided to go into the military,” Emma said. “I definitely know I want to be a vet and I can still be a vet once I’m done.”

Jordan Snyder
Jordan Snyder’s future begins on the ground floor. Literally.

“It started when I was a little kid,” Jordan said. “I liked rocks. I collected them. My interest in geology has grown since then.”

Jordan recalls bringing rocks home from family vacations, including an assortment of gems from Mammoth Cave National Park. An honor roll student, Jordan has taken plenty of science classes at St. Philip, but nothing specific to geology…yet.

That will change when he begins his studies at Western Michigan University this fall. He picked WMU because, “It’s close enough to home.”

During his time at St. Philip, Jordan ran track and played football. He enjoyed volunteering with his class in the community, especially last May Day at the Alano Club.

“After we were done [working], some of the people talked to us about what they have gone through,” Jordan said. “It was really interesting to hear their stories.”

Marla Adam
Marla Adam wants to enter the family business.

“My dad’s a doctor and my mom’s a pharmacist,” Marla said. “They always talked about it, so I was always interested in it.”

It was Marla’s Math and Science Center classes that sealed the deal.

“I’ve been able to take AP chemistry and anatomy classes and it made me realize I’m actually interested in being a doctor,” Marla said.

How interesting were these classes? Marla delayed her internship to take more.

“I was going to intern with my dad, but I would have to drop two of my classes second semester, which would have been my anatomy class and my bio-ethics class,” Marla said. “We are still doing [the internship], but we pushed it to summer.”

Marla is St. Philip’s National Honor Society president and will graduate in the top ten of her class. She plans to attend the University of Michigan.

Drew Lantinga
Drew Lantinga has played nearly every sport St. Philip High School has to offer – basketball, baseball, golf, cross-country, football, track and field.

When it comes to his future, however, Drew has a one-track mind.

“I applied to one college,” Drew said.

That one college was Western Michigan University. A National Honor Society member and Math and Science Center student, Drew received acceptance into WMU’s Honors College as well as the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

“So I didn’t really need to apply anywhere else.”

Drew is still exploring what type of engineering he wants to do. Currently, he is building a robot he designed for his MSC class, but his interests didn’t start with robotics.

“I liked looking at buildings,” Drew said. “I wondered how they were made, which is civil engineering. Then, I was looking into mechanical engineering, how cars were made.”

This fall his engineering adventure continues.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

One family from the battle to the dance

[l. to r.] Katie Reed, Bronwyn Pasche,
and Sara Meyers
Life isn’t always fair, but love is always there.

It wasn’t fair that St. Joseph Middle School student Bronwyn Pasche was diagnosed with leukemia in the fifth grade, but her St. Joseph family was there.

“It was inspiring to witness our students fight Bronwyn's battle right along with her,” Katie Reed, St. Joseph Middle School assistant principal, said. “They assisted her by carrying her books, helping her with her studies, and praying for her when the fight became tough.”

And when Bronwyn completed her final treatment two and half years later, her family was ready to celebrate her victory.

Middle school teachers Don Shafer and Tina Sprague organized a living rosary in the gym, where middle school students and staff were the beads.

Living Rosary for Bronwyn in the school gym
Forty students wore red shirts for the “Hail Mary” beads. Five members of Bronwyn’s seventh-grade class wore black shirts for the “Our Father” beads. And ten of the teachers and staff wore orange – the color for the fight against leukemia – as the last decade of the rosary.

As a school family, they said the Luminous Mysteries in gratitude for Bronwyn’s recovery and sang “Ave Maria”.

Afterward, Bronwyn’s mother Heather Pasche addressed the students.

“The kindness and the love and the caring that you have shown Bronwyn has been the most beautiful thing I have ever witnessed,” Ms. Pasche said. “From helping her on the risers during concerts to carrying her books to praying for her, it was all a very important part of Bronwyn becoming healthy again. I think I speak for all the adults in the room when I say we are all so very proud of you and how you have grown up.”

Bronwyn received a bouquet of orange tulips and a resounding round of applause.

Dance proceeds went to the St. Baldrick's Foundation
The celebration continued that evening, as students returned to the school to dance and give back.

“Bronwyn loves to dance and she loves popcorn, so we decided to celebrate a dance in her honor,” Mrs. Sprague said. ”We talked to her mom to find out what charity she would like the money to go to.”

The theme was “spring” and the cause was the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, which raises money for childhood cancer research.

“It was a spring dance and Bronwyn has new life and spring is the celebration of new life,” Mrs. Sprague said.

Everyone had a wonderful time. Better still, $300 was given to St. Baldrick’s in Bronwyn’s name to assist other children in their battle against leukemia.

“I believe this is a true testament as to why our schools are so special,” Ms. Reed said. “We absorb each other’s challenges and get through them together because we are not only a school, but also a family.”

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Senior Spotlight: Lyuan (James) Han, Emily Pearl, Alex Yacovoni, & Michael Scriber

Lyuan (James) Han
Lyuan (James) Han isn’t afraid to take risks.

James was born in China. His father is a business owner. His mother is a school principal. When his mother started a student exchange program, James was the first to go to America.

He spent one year in Utah, where he earned a part in the school musical, despite never acting before. He spent the next three years at St. Philip, where he plays basketball and golf, the latter of which he learned on the links.

When it comes to the future, James is all business.

“I want to be an entrepreneur.”

James has two internships. One is with Trek Bicycle Store, where he is learning from an experienced entrepreneur. The other is with himself, learning from experience. James buys shoes and sells them online to customers in China.

The next stop for James is the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to study business.

Emily Pearl
Emily Pearl’s ears are tuned to God and her heart is built for service.

She planned a Faith Day for her fellow students this year. She sits on the Youth Alliance Committee, a grant-making wing of the Battle Creek Community Foundation. She coordinates the blood drives for the National Honor Society.

And that’s only the highlights of her service resume.

An honor roll student, Emily wants to earn a business degree as well as a masters in nonprofit management. She planned to start her studies at St. Mary’s College, where she could continue to play soccer.

God, however, had other plans.

Strong doubts crept in, resulting in a sudden change of path. Emily will now attend the University of Michigan.

“U of M pushes me out of my comfort zone,” Emily said. “I'm excited to see how I will be pushed to become who God truly intended me to be.”

Alex Yacovoni
Alex Yacovoni is the kind of student colleges want.

He has a sparkling GPA. He attends the Math and Science Center and belongs to the National Honor Society. He is a varsity football player and a member of the 800-meter relay team that went to the State Finals last year for Track and Field.

When it came to picking a college, only the University of Dayton caught his eye.

“I visited a lot of colleges and something just clicked with me when I was at Dayton, so I decided to go there,” Alex said.

Alex plans to study electrical or computer engineering in the fall. AP Computer Science was his favorite course at the MSC, and he enjoyed writing programs for his robotics’ class.

Working with computer codes can be complicated, but Alex embraces the challenge.

“It is fun to figure out what went wrong and try to solve it.”

Michael Scriber
Michael Scriber is discerning a call to the priesthood, and he is willing to travel to California for the answer.

“I’ve been thinking about the priesthood for several years,” Michael said. “[Director of Vocations] Monsignor Osborn suggested Thomas Aquinas College to me because they had a really intense curriculum. He thought I would do better there than with eight years at seminary.”

Monsignor wasn’t the only one to recommend this path. Father Jose Haro, Father Francis Marotti, Deacon Jeffrey Hanley, and Deacon Maximilian Nightingale also encouraged him to study at Thomas Aquinas.

“They all say the same thing,” Michael said. “They are so passionate about it.”

“Their curriculum is geared to philosophy and theology,” Michael said. “If I didn’t become a priest, I can still graduate from there with a really good degree.”

There is only one drawback – distance.

“It is far away,” Michael said. “I wish it was closer.”

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Remembrance, service, and some friendly competition

May Day volunteers at St. Philip.
April showers bring May flowers, but around St. Philip High School, May brings philanthropy.

It starts with May Day, which honors the memory of Tim May, St. Philip’s beloved principal who died unexpectedly in November of 2014.

This was the third year students donned their work gloves after Mass, divided into teams, and spruced up the grounds around our schools and parishes.

“Mr. May was huge on service and giving back to your community, so anything we can do for our school community honors him,” senior Hannah Pearl said. “I'm sure all of us helping out and making the grounds of our schools beautiful would have put a smile on his face.”

This May Day some students volunteered at Charitable Union, helping to sort clothes and get a jump-start on Philanthropy Week, which runs May 8-12.

Philanthropy Week is sponsored by the Battle Creek Community Foundation’s Youth Alliance Council, a 35-member grant-making committee comprised of area high school students. Hannah sits on this committee, as well as St. Philip students Emily Pearl, Sarah Guzzo, and Madi Elliot.

Every year the committee picks an organization to sponsor for Philanthropy Week. This year’s recipient is Charitable Union, which provides free clothing and household items for underprivileged people.

May Day volunteers at St. Joseph.
“It is often hard for organizations to have resources to advertise…what they do and what they need from the community,” Hannah said.

Along with citywide efforts to raise money for Charitable Union, area high schools have engaged in some friendly competition to see which school can make the biggest impact.

Hannah organized St. Philip’s efforts, which include an internal competition to see which class can collect the most donations.

The week started with a pep assembly, where, amongst the games and buzz, representatives from Charitable Union explained what the non-profit does.

“It raises awareness…instead of people just randomly giving to an organization that they have no idea about,” Hannah said.

Students are collecting clothing and Family Fare receipts, every $150,000 of which earns a $1000 for Charitable Union. There are drop-off sites for both donation types throughout the BCACS school system. Our priests also got the word out to all our Battle Creek parishes about the donation efforts. In addition, high school students can be out of dress code for a $1-a-day donation to the cause.

Philanthropy Week ends with United Way’s Youth Day of Caring on May 12. St. Philip students will return to Charitable Union to volunteer. Afterward, St. Philip will announce the winning class, and the Youth Alliance Council will announce the winning high school.

“Philanthropy is something that should be lifelong,” Hannah said. “Getting kids involved now allows them to be aware of the good you can do for your community.”

Students stand by Mr. May's tree, which was planted in his memory.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Senior Spotlight: Nely Reyes, Kenneth Champagne, Maygan McGuire, & Alex Costin

Nely Reyes
Nely Reyes wants to be a nurse practitioner. Interning at Borgess Health Park, Nely wrote this scripture verse in her internship blog:

“There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your fellow Israelites who are poor and needy in your land.” (Deuteronomy 15.11)

Underneath, Nely wrote:

I feel that if I help those in need, it will eventually help me to become a better person…I feel that this scripture defines the ultimate goal I have in life. [It] gives me a connection for my internship and my future and also to not give up.”

Fluent in Spanish and English, Nely already helps others “not to give up” by tutoring children through Voces. Also, she translates documents for those in need and aids in organizing events for the Hispanic community.

This fall she will begin her nursing studies at Kellogg Community College.

Kenneth Champagne
Some folks discover their career path early. Kenneth Champagne is one of them.

“I’ve always loved my pets,” Kenneth said. “My parents are Binder Park Zoo members and I saw this Junior Zookeeper thing where teens 13 and up can shadow a zookeeper.”

Kenneth asked his mother if he could enroll for his 13th birthday. Mom said yes and Kenneth spent the next three years in the program. He was sold.

Kenneth will begin his zoology coursework at Michigan State University this fall.

This future zookeeper also knows his way around a kitchen. Kenneth spent the last two years developing his baking and cooking techniques in the Calhoun Area Career Center’s culinary arts program.

Although Kenneth isn’t pursuing a culinary career, he hasn’t counted it out.

“It's a backup,” Kenneth said. “If I need a job the stuff I learned there can definitely help me find a job in college.”

Maygan McGuire
Maygan McGuire walks the line between art and science. And she walks it well.

In addition to being third in her St. Philip High School class, she is a Math and Science Center student, concentrating on bio-ethics and biotech, and a duel-enrolled student at Ferris State’s Kendall College of Art and Design, concentrating on graphic design.

Currently, she is serving a marketing internship with WJSchroer Company.

Why a marketing firm?

Maygan is seeking balance.

“I thought if I’m going to do [graphic design], I should also know the marketing part of it, so I’m not just the artist,” Maygan said. “I know the math behind it.”

Maygan will attend Kalamazoo College this fall. Her major is still up in the air, but her minor is set in stone.

“I will minor in psychology because I think that it is really important to understand how to interact with people,” Maygan said.

Alex Costin
All the world is a stage for Alex Costin. The only question is what part she will play.

“I am very passionate about the arts and I wish to gain more knowledge about the occupations involving theater and music,” Alex said.

Acting since the fifth grade, Alex is familiar with memorizing lines, hitting a mark, and taking direction. She has played parts in musicals, stage plays, pop-up theater, and workshop productions.

Her senior internship at the Franke Center in Marshall gave Alex a chance to work behind the scenes.

“Making costumes, making sets, moving sets on and off for productions, helping kids with lines, learning music, teaching them dances, which was awful because I cannot dance,” Alex said, laughing. “It was really fun.”

Alex will start at Kellogg Community College next fall. She isn’t sure what she will study but plans to “dabble” in the college’s theater program.

Of course.