History and Mission
Who Are We?
St. John Catholic School is a catechetical and educational ministry of St. John the Evangelist Parish. Just who makes up the school? Presently there are 232 students enrolled in grades K3 through 8. St. John School employs 15 full-time and 10 part-time faculty members, as well as 10 staff members (office staff, teacher aides, Extended Day caregivers, and housekeepers).
The ethnic breakout of the student body includes 9 Asian students, 6 African-American students, 15 Hispanic students, 2 Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islanders, 193 Caucasians, and 7 multi-racial students.
Thirty students from 22 families receive a total of $36,000 in tuition aid from the parish. Next school year, through parishioners’ generous contributions to the GRACE Scholars program, we will be able to welcome 20 new students to St. John School.
St. John School also collects data on family income levels for federal Title I funding, which is used this school year to provide tutoring for 15 of our students. In 2009-2010, there are 18 families and 29 students whose income meets the free and reduced lunch criterion as determined by public school guidelines.
St. John School is accredited by three organizations: the Florida Catholic Conference (FCC), AdvancEd (SACS), and the Georgia Accrediting Commission (GAC). We are a member of the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) and the Georgia Independent Schools Association (GISA). The Preschool and Extended Day Program is licensed by the State of Georgia.
On the conference table in the principal’s office sits a well-worn prayerbook inscribed, “St. John the Evangelist from Rev. H. J. Deimel, March 1942.” It was Fr. Herman Deimel who wrote to his bishop over 65 years ago, “If Catholicism is to survive in South Georgia, we need a Catholic School in Valdosta.” With the bishop’s permission, Fr. Diemel acquired a two-story frame building on Adair Street from the City of Valdosta which was originally a hospital and later a public school. This building became the original St. John School. He invited the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet to come teach there, and Fr. Diemel moved his residence to the upstairs of the newly acquired school building so that the rectory next door to the church could become a convent.
St. John School was founded on the charism of the Sisters of St. Joseph in 1941, to develop in each student “a spirit of profound love of God along with the unity and reconciliation of neighbor with neighbor, and neighbor with God, always in a spirit of gentleness, peace, and joy.” Fifteen years later, it became evident that St. John School had outgrown the Adair Street location, and Father Thomas Payne purchased thirteen acres on the outskirts of town which he named “Mary’s Acres.” A brand new St. John School was built on Gornto Road – five classrooms and an office – and the doors opened in 1959.
Five years down the road, four more classrooms and an auditorium were built in order to split the classes into their own rooms. Previously, first and second grades shared a classroom, as did third and fourth, fifth and sixth, seventh and eighth. When that task was completed, a new church sanctuary was erected at the front of Mary’s Acres and was consecrated in March 1968. The T. J. LaHood Library was added to the school complex in 1980, built over the courtyard next to the school office.
The next addition to St. John School was a portable classroom to house the preschool, which began in 1991. The modular building was placed behind the convent on Mary’s Acres. Under the leadership of Rev. Msgr. Marvin LeFrois, plans to build a new Parish Center that would house a kitchen, two preschool classrooms, and a cafeteria/gym were underway. However, when the Parish Center was completed, the preschool program had grown to four classes, and the modular unit was still needed!
Not only had the preschool program grown, but the elementary school as well. St. John’s School Board made the decision to double each grade, which necessitated the addition of two more portable classrooms, named “Eagle’s Wing East” and “Eagle’s Wing West,” one on each side of the campus. Since the diocese advocated permanent structures, a new building program was initiated under the leadership of Rev. John O’Brien. Along with enlarging the sanctuary of the church to increase its seating capacity from 500 to 750, three new buildings were added to the school: the Patty Goss Building to house the preschool and kindergarten classes, the Kloberdanz Building for grades 1-4, and a new administration building with a library upstairs. The former office and library were converted into state-of-the-art computer and science labs. The buildings were completed in 2003.
The school’s most recent additions are the D. Larry Carter Family Soccer Field and the South Georgia Pecan Company Basketball Court. The athletic complex renovation project just completed its first phase in January 2007.
St. John School has predominately served the Catholic community of Valdosta, but accepts students of any race or creed. From its original enrollment of 34 students to an all-time high enrollment of 298 students in 2002, the student population has ebbed and surged throughout the school’s history. Presently, 240 students receive a well-rounded education in a faith-filled atmosphere at St. John Catholic School.
St. John School has been served by many Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet as principals. Although the Sisters of St. Joseph no longer administer the school, St. John’s is blessed to have two sisters who teach, Sr. Justine Ostini and a PHJC sister, Sr. Therese Galarneau. Melanie Eanes Lasseter, an alumna of the school, serves as its first lay principal.
The Catholic philosophy of education guiding St. John School is that the school is delegated by the parents to participate in the quality education of their children. The school, then, as an extension of the home, attempts to provide a Catholic atmosphere of love and concern. The school accepts the responsibility to assist each child in developing his/her potential: spiritually, intellectually, physically and morally. St. John School is dedicated to preparing Catholic leaders for the Christian community. In the context of the present economic, social, intellectual, and religious background of our specific school community, preparation for higher education is the broad objective of our school. The entire curriculum of the school focuses upon the charisma of the founders, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, by developing in each student a spirit of profound love of God along with the unity and reconciliation of neighbor with neighbor, and neighbor with God, always in a spirit of gentleness. peace, and joy.
St. John School is a Catholic school in Valdosta, Georgia, seeking the unity between spiritual and educational fulfillment.
Our mission is to provide the highest quality education for our children in a Christian atmosphere guided by the fundamentals of the Catholic Faith.
We follow the example given to us by Jesus Christ – remembering that He is the ever-present teacher in our classrooms, the model for our faculty, and the inspiration for our students.
ST. JOHN SCHOOL MISSION PRAYER
I glorify You, God, in all that I do.
Help me be an example
Glory be to the Father,
The following statements encompass the beliefs that the
St. John School is dedicated to Saint John the Evangelist.
St. John school colors are blue and white.
St. John School admits students of any race, religion, color, or national origin.
Students must be the appropriate age for the class they wish to enter by September 1.
Home and School Association
Copyright 2012 St. John the Evangelist Catholic School