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Film inspires formation of Climbing Club

Teens have been known to attempt to mimic adventurous and sometimes foolish things after viewing them on YouTube and in feature films. A group of seniors recently were inspired by the documentary film Free Solo, about a man’s attempt to climb the vertical formation El Capitan in Yosemite National Park without climbing harnesses. Rather than attempting to climb local rock formations, seniors Bryce Drury, Joe Denis, and Harry Green founded the PHS Climbing Club in order to better afford a membership to Climb Nulu, a climbing gym in Louisville.

After seeing the film, the boys visited the gym in early February and enjoyed climbing the artificial rock formations so much, they wanted a full-time membership. But the $59 per person monthly fee was too expensive. Instead of giving up, they asked if the gym had a reduced price for a school club. The gym worked with them to give them a more affordable price, and the next day, the boys approached Mr. Michael Loner and Ms. Stephanie LeBrun to help them form the club.

“We went on Sunday, Monday we talked to the teachers, by Wednesday, we had it mapped out, and by the end of the week, it was official,” Joe said.

The Climbing Club has about a dozen members, but Bryce, Joe, and Harry are the most consistent climbers. Bryce and Harry go about four or five times a week. The gym has more than 50 routes climbers can use and continually updates various sections so climbers can find new challenges.

Harry and Bryce said they have already progressed from level B0 to B4 in just three months. Even though they go several days a week, the variety of routes and the continual updates means every trip can be different.

“It never really gets stale,” Bryce said.

Joe agrees.

“You can never max out with your abilities,” Joe said. “There’s always something new.”

Those new routes mean there is always a new challenge, Harry said, and wanting to finish a new route keeps them coming back.

“It feels really good when you finish a hard climb or a hard route,” Harry said.

Bryce likes being able to climb with his friends as well as challenging himself to do more.

“It’s constantly about improving your skills and how good you are at climbing,” Bryce said.

The boys said working to form a school club and get a discount rate helped them learn to negotiate. They were able to reduce the rate by half and will be able to pay that rate through June.

They have come to enjoy climbing so much they hope to continue climbing next semester in college. Joe plans to attend Indiana University Bloomington, and Climb Nulu has a franchise in Bloomington. Bryce and Harry plan to attend Purdue University in West Lafayette and have already checked into climbing opportunities there. They also hope to climb a real rock formation one day and plan to make a trip to Red River Gorge in Kentucky when their skills are developed enough.

“We definitely want to keep climbing,” Bryce said. “It’s just fun.”

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Dr. Jacobi loves to learn and to teach

It might seem odd that an English teacher is the chairperson of the Theology Department, but Dr. Kathryn Jacobi said it actually makes perfect sense. When she was named chairperson a few years ago, there was not a theology teacher able to take on the role since several of the teachers were new. Dr. Jacobi has been able to help the department by offering advice with critical reading and lesson plans, common teaching approaches in both disciplines.

Taking on new roles and adapting to changes in curriculum and other areas are things Dr. Jacobi has become adept at after more than 25 years teaching at Providence. In the past few years, she has switched from teaching ACP English 12 to AP Language and AP Literature and Composition. Several years ago, she was the IGNITE chairperson to assist with the school moving to the anticipated move to the Common Core Standards.

She now teaches Honors English 9, English 12, and the two AP courses. As the English curriculum has moved to offering AP (which offers college credit when students pass a national year-end assessment) instead of ACP (which offers dual credit through Indiana University Bloomington) courses, Dr. Jacobi said the courses continue to challenge students to develop higher level learning, with the AP Literature & Language providing another AP offering for juniors to meet the Honors Diploma Standards, and AP Language will prepare seniors for writing in college.

“I like the challenge level I can bring to the kids” in AP courses,” Dr. Jacobi said. “”Our kids have so much potential. It’s always very gratifying to see them respond to higher level work.”

The AP courses involve more class discussion, and Dr. Jacobi said she continues to be intrigued by students’ responses to the literature.

“It’s interesting to hear them respond,” she said. “I like challenging them.”

Dr. Jacobi has seen many other changes in education since she first began teaching English in 1991. In recent years, the biggest change has been the introduction of the iPads. She said one drawback of the devices and ready access to information online is students’ using online information as a crutch rather than finding the answer themselves.

“They tend to think they can find the answers online,” she said. “The challenge is getting them to think for themselves.”

Another challenge is keeping students attentive. In the past, students would daydream or read a book instead of paying attention. Now, they are tempted to play games, use social media, or message each other on their devices, so classroom discipline has changed, and like many teachers, she has students put their phones in the back of the room. She also has learned to differentiate between students’ reading the literature on their iPad and being off task.

Dr. Jacobi continues to enjoy teaching at Providence. Since coming to Providence, she said, she has been committed to Catholic education because of the community, the higher standards to which students are held, and their shared Catholic faith. The size of the school allows her to know her fellow teachers, and over the years, watch their children grow up – and even teach some of them.

She has also taught a Medical Humanities class for a few semesters at IU Southeast and enjoyed the course’s focus on “illness narratives.” She said she enjoyed the class and might teach it again in the future. For now, she is enjoying gardening, walking in downtown Jeffersonville near her home, and traveling. She and her husband, Jerry ’73, are planning a trip to Kenya this summer. It will be their first time to Africa, and they are looking forward to it, she said.

Her favorite place to visit, however, is her birthplace, Cornwall, England, where they have visited several times.

“I just love St. Ives,” Dr. Jacobi said. “it’s just beautiful there. The Cornish coast is our favorite.”

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Couple turns loss into way to help others heal

Charlie Schueler ’08 and his wife, Madalyn, have started a business they hope no one has the occasion to use. The couple recently founded an Etsy shop, RainflowersShop, which provides miscarriage and infant loss care packages, after experiencing their own loss of their unborn baby. In early March, the couple learned at a routine pregnancy doctor’s appointment that their third child didn’t have a heartbeat at 11 weeks gestation. Friends and family grieved with them, made meals, and sent flowers. Although the Schuelers appreciated the acts of kindness, none were enough to memorialize their child.

“Although they were so helpful and thoughtful, we still ended up with empty hands, nothing tangible to remember our angel baby,” Charlie and Madalyn said in an email. “Once we started looking into it, the only gifts we could find available for an event like this is jewelry and plants. We wanted to offer more tangible gifts of comfort and keepsake.”

Before their own loss, friends had also experienced the loss of an unborn child, and the couple wanted to send a gift. They looked online for something suitable and settled on creating a gift of their own, forget me not seeds and a decorative tea towel. Over the course of the next few weeks, the idea to create a business to fill the void of gift packages for parents losing an unborn child or infant came to be. RainflowersShop, named after the child they lost, was launched about a week ago, and the couple has already filled several orders.

Charlie, a construction engineer with INDOT, and Madalyn, a former teacher who now cares for their two children full time, plan to run the shop themselves. They created the shop’s logo, with the help of Madalyn’s sister, whose handwriting is used on all printed materials. They create the seed packs that go in each gift, and purchase handmade candles and journals from a vendor. Customers have the choice of several gift packages, each named after their children.

“We consider this a family business, and the mission is extremely personal to our family,” they said. “Each box is named after one of our children and reflect their personalities. We talk about Asher often, and they know he is in heaven looking over our family.”

The Henry box features a journal, candle, and handkerchief and is named after their older son, Henry, who is 3 ½.

“He is our deep thinker,” they said. “He is calm and reflective, which is the reason we chose these items for his box.”

The Ivy box, named after their 2-year-old daughter, who is their “free spirit. … wild, independent, and beautiful,” contains a planter, forget me not seeds, and handkerchief. The Asher box, named after their third child, Asher Rain, contains a journal, candle, planter, forget me not seeds, butterfly garden ornament, and handkerchief.

“Asher is the combination of our other children, Henry and Ivy,” they said. “The name Asher means blessed by family, and we hope that the recipients of this box feel as if they are blessed by the box.”

The Schuelers prepurchase the supplies for the gift boxes, and when an order comes in, they can assemble and personalize it quickly so that each order ships in just a day or two.

The Etsy shop is a way for the family to heal as they help others to do the same. It’s also a way to memorialize Asher’s story. As Madalyn shares to each recipient of their care box:

“I’ll never forget the words that changed our lives forever, in the worst way. ‘This is your baby, but I don’t see a heartbeat today. I’m so sorry.’ The floor disappeared beneath us. This is the most horrible dream, but it wasn’t. We were 11 weeks into our third pregnancy, so anxious to see our precious baby, the day we found out that our baby was gone. Measuring at just nine weeks, I’d been carrying our angel longer than their life; my body held on and refused to give up hope. The days after that appointment are a complete blur. Filled with sobs, surgery, and constantly reliving the reality of what was happening to us. Trying to accept that the life journey of our Asher Rain will always be a conversation of what could have been. Without the love and support of our family and friends, we honestly don’t know how we could have made it through those first few weeks. Somehow, we did make it through, and although every single day brings challenges and reminders, we survived. You will, too. Give yourself, and each other, time and grace.”

For more information, visit Or follow the shop on Facebook and Instagram.

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Senior gets taste of future teaching career

Senior Jesse Zoeller has thought about being a teacher since he was a sixth grader at what is now St. John Paul II School. He loved learning, but he was a shy student and struggled to communicate well with others. But through theatre, he has overcome his shyness and after doing a job shadow for a day, he feels more certain that teaching is the career path for him, he said.

Jesse shadowed Mrs. Jill Brock, a former Providence parent and a first grade teacher at St. John Paul II. He said he learned from observing her the qualities needed in a “great elementary teacher,” including enthusiasm and the ability to connect with the students. He was then given the opportunity to connect with the students by reading several books to them, including one of his favorites, The Giving Tree.

When they responded with enthusiastic questions, he said he experienced a sense of validation that he was capable of being a good teacher. When he was their age, he wouldn’t have felt comfortable asking questions or reading aloud to others. But being involved in Providence theatre and working at the Louisville Zoo for the World’s Largest Halloween Party has helped him grow more confident in overcoming his past shyness over meeting new people.

“Students who had never met me before were asking me questions, and I saw that their communication skills were better than mine were when I was that age,” Jesse said.

Portraying different characters on stage also helped him break out of his shyness, he said. When he talked to Mrs. Brock about teaching, he realized that teachers sometimes use those same skills, by projecting enthusiasm even if they may be having a bad day.

His ability to project enthusiasm is what brought about his job shadow day in the first place. His portrayal of Felonius Gru from the feature cartoon film Despicable Me for a Popcorn Players skit caught the attention of Mrs. Brock. Jesse said she told him how much the students loved his character portrayal and that they would love to see him again. So he set up a day to observe her teaching and visit the students.

Looking back on the day and how the students responded to his storytelling, Jesse said he now feels very confident that he can be a good teacher someday.

“It proved I am capable of doing these things,” Jesse said. “That tells me I’m going down the right path.”

Jesse plans to pursue a degree in elementary education at Indiana University Southeast and is getting an early start by taking some of his general education requirements in the summer sessions.

Mrs. Mauk’s love of math helps students learn

Math teacher Stephanie (Mayfield) Mauk ’99 loves her job, and it shows. She loves her subject, and she enjoys helping her students learn problem solving skills to help them find the right answer. She is in her eighth year at Providence, and her 16th year overall. She also is in her sixth year as Math Department chairperson. She teaches AP Calculus, Honors Precalculus & Trigonometry, Precalculus & Trigonometry, and Probability & Statistics.

As much as she enjoys teaching math, she wasn’t always certain math would be her subject. Although she enjoyed her math classes at Providence, she also likes history. Once she decided she wanted to become a teacher, she knew she had to choose between the two. Her history classes at Ball State University, however, focused on “memorizing a lot of dates,” she said. She enjoyed her math classes so much more, that she chose math education for her major. She has been happy with her choice ever since.

“I like math because there’s a right and a wrong answer, but there are lots of ways to get there,” she said. “So we do a lot of problem solving, and it’s good seeing kids working to get the answer.”

Mrs. Mauk also makes sure her students have a variety of ways to apply the lessons she teaches. After she spends time giving direct instruction, the students spend the remainder of the block in a variety of activities, from board work to working in pairs at their desks.

“I want them to do most of the learning themselves and working to get the answer to add to my direct instruction,” she said.

Mrs. Mauk said it may look like students are doing most of the work, but she spends a lot of time preparing each lesson, especially since the department no longer uses textbooks now that students have iPads. She uses state standards and College Board standards to develop the curriculum for each subject and provides instruction and activities for students to master those standards.

She said she feels gratified seeing her students work hard to learn the concepts and necessary problem-solving skills. Her students not only take advantage of work time during class time, but many of them come to her room before school, and not only on BLUE Days. She also is pleased that the percentage of students passing the cumulative AP Exam has generally increased year over year. In 2017, 25 of the 29 AP Calculus students passed the exam, for example.

Mrs. Mauk applies the same approach of empowering students as faculty sponsor of the House of Courage. When she first became a House leader, she led the meetings but soon realized the students would be more attentive listening to other students, and the student leaders would be better leaders by taking charge of various tasks. Now, she sees the student leaders learning responsibility and working hard to achieve a goal, such as winning the Third Quarter Points Challenge.

Mrs. Mauk also has a creative side and gets to enjoy that as a faculty sponsor of the Pinterest Club along with Mrs. Mary Alice (Lenfert) Knott ’77 and Mrs. Corinne (Alles) Beyl ‘99. The teachers and students agree on a craft found on Pinterest and then get together so they can each work on the activity.

The House Leadership Program, extracurriculars like the Pinterest Club, and the close-knit community are some of the things that make teaching at Providence different than her previous teaching jobs. Mrs. Mauk taught at a much larger school in the Indianapolis Public Schools system prior to returning to the New Albany area and taking the job here.

“It was such a big difference teaching here,” she said. “I just love knowing everybody. I love going to the students’ games, and they get excited to see me and other teachers there. It’s a job where even if I come in in a bad mood, it doesn’t last long. The kids want to be here, and they are interested in learning. That makes it fun.”

Mrs. Mauk has a master’s degree in secondary education from IUPUI. She and her husband, Tony, live in Floyds Knobs with their son Lucas, 11, and spend much of their free time attending his sporting events. They are members of Holy Family. She also has two adult stepsons, Gavin and Garrett.

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Students practice being philanthropists

Six of our students participated in the Youth Philanthropy Council sponsored by the Community Foundation of Southern Indiana. High school students from the area sit on the council, and their primary duty is to recommend the awarding of grants to organizations that benefit youth. PHS students on this year’s council include seniors Bryce Drury, Charlie O’Bryant, and Alex Henderson, junior Claire Reyes, and sophomores Katie Huff and Ryley Gunther.
Ryley said he enjoyed being on the council. He was on the team that made the presentation to recommend a grant for Miles for Merry Miracles and found it rewarding.

“It was an opportunity for us to learn how to properly award grants to organizations and what those organizations are doing,” Ryley said.

Alex said she joined the council this year because she was intrigued by the opportunity to learn about local philanthropy projects.

“Not only were we exposed to different local foundations who help people in need, we were also able to connect with students of all ages from schools around the community,” Alex said. “This was my first year on the Youth Philanthropy Council and I’m so glad I was able to participate.”

Claire said she was glad she applied after reading about the opportunity in school announcements.

“I saw it as an opportunity to be involved in the community in addition to just being involved at my parish and in school,” Claire said. “I really liked getting to meet new people. And I liked the process of going through the applications and determining who deserved the grants.”

Claire also recommends that students sign up to participate next year.

“It’s a good opportunity, and you can learn a lot,” Claire said.

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Justice leaders motivate House to win

Seniors Kaden Williams and Anna Thomas bring a competitive spirit and differing gifts as co-senior executive delegates for the House of Justice. Anna has the energy to motivate the members of the House to accomplish what needs to be done, and Kaden is a good spokesperson to inform everyone of any necessary information. But they both like to win, and their working together to get their House involved helped their House win the First Quarter Points Contest, they said.
“We’re really competitive,” Anna said. “We’re always trying to win.”

Kaden said that he enjoys helping his House win and achieve its goals.

“I like getting a group of people who don’t usually get together to work toward the same goal and come together and compete,” he said.

He credits Anna with being a big reason the House can work together because she has a sister, Julia, who is a freshman, which helps her connect with the younger grade and get everyone in the House involved.

Anna said she enjoys seeing everyone contribute, such as when Justice partnered with Integrity and Truth to put on the bonfire at Fall Homecoming and when they shopped for the Angel Tree project. Next, the House will plan the May Crowning ceremony.

Anna is on the Softball and Girls Track teams and was previously on the Bowling Team. She is a member of National Honor Society, Green Dot, SADD, and Spanish Club, and she is a Eucharistic Minister. She plans to major in nursing at Indiana University Bloomington.

Kaden is on the Baseball team and was on the Football team and he is a member of National Honor Society and a Eucharistic Minister. He plans to attend Butler University and major in pre-med.

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Two seniors earn Eagle Scout rank

Seniors Matthew Nokes and Sam LaMaster recently were named Eagle Scouts by the Boy Scouts of America, the highest rank  in Boy Scouts and one that requires advancement through several ranks, the earning of more than 20 merit badges, and organizing a service project. Both belong to Boy Scout Troop 4010 at St. Anthony Parish and have been in Scouting since first grade.

Sam’s project was to design, build, and install shelving in a gym loft and maintenance building at St. John Paul II School in Sellersburg. He spent 188 hours overall including planning and on-site work. With the help of his grandfather and father, Brian LaMaster ’89, who are skilled at woodworking, he was able to design the shelves, and he then organized several work days to install them with the help of members of his troop and some of his friends.

His father donated the wood for the shelves, having saved it for another project and then didn’t need it. Sam then asked family to contribute money for the rest of the supplies, raising about $100.

Sam said he learned a lot in organizing the project and fulfilling all the requirements for the Eagle Scout rank.

“It felt like a good opportunity for me to use all the skills from my years in Scouting,” Sam said. “I finally had a chance to put all those together and have an application for them. It also proved my leadership skills overall.”

He said he feels a great relief having completed the project and the process to apply for the rank advancement. Often, the Eagle Scout rank is a culminating experience for a Boy Scout, but Sam said he intends to stay involved. He enjoys the troop’s service projects, such as helping at Lanesville Heritage Weekend, and the troop’s adventures. Every other summer, the troop has taken a big trip. He took part in one to Alaska that included mountain climbing and white water rafting in Class 4 rapids and one to northern Minnesota canoeing along the Canadian border, which was the more difficult because it was a survival trip that required them to fish for food.

Matthew also feels a great relief having his Eagle Scout project complete. Although the project required only 130 hours of works time, the process was spread over 18 months because the parameters of the project changed within a few months of his starting on it. Last October, he completed the rebuilding and repairing of the Stations of the Cross trail at Mount Saint Francis. He also built two benches and put down gravel and did some landscaping along the trail.

Matthew had a total of 35 people helping him over 12 work days and raised about $300 from families at St. Anthony Parish. His grandfather also donated wood for the project. Planning all those elements and coordinating all the volunteers was more difficult than he thought it would be, he said. Now that he is finished he feels a great deal of satisfaction, especially since he was able to work on a project where people will pray.

“I was very glad I could do a project that coincided with my faith,” Matthew said. “I’m glad to help Mount Saint Francis because I go there a lot on campouts and for some retreats. It felt good to help them out.”

Coincidentally, another Providence Boys Scout once worked on the same project. Andrew Marking ’11, now head groundskeeper at Quad Cities River Bandits in Davenport, Iowa, replaced all the crosses on the trail for his Eagle Scout project.

Matthew said he has enjoyed being a Boy Scout, especially going on summer trips. His favorite was the survival skills trip to Minnesota.

“It definitely builds your character and life skills,” he said. “It teaches you things you wouldn’t get out of a typical youth program.”

Completing his Eagle Scout rank gives him a great sense of accomplishment and also allows him to look back to see how his past activities and achievements have led up to that final award.

“I feel like I’ve learned so much, and I’m glad I have something to show for it,” Matthew said.

Matthew plans to attend Indiana University Bloomington and is considering several majors, including history and several foreign languages. Sam plans to attend the University of Louisville and major in mechanical engineering.

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Team approach helps House of Courage succeed

Seniors Joe Gryboski and Zach Tackett make a good team as co-senior executive delegates for the House of Courage. They tend to bounce ideas off one another and take turns doing tasks that meet their different interests, Joe said. Joe is more analytical and serious, whereas Zach is more laid back and a bit of a jokester, and their different personalities provide a nice balance. Together, they hope to inspire their House to win the Third Quarter Points Race in order to compete in the House Cup later this semester.

Joe has previously served as sophomore and junior delegate to the House and said he likes being a senior House leader because it gives him an opportunity to meet and interact with students from other grades. If he weren’t a leader, he would be more likely to sit with his friends, but being a leader forces him to interact with others. He also is a member of the National Honor Society and was senior captain of the Boys Soccer team and was manager of the Girls Basketball team.

Zach previously served as social event coordinator for the House and said he likes being a senior delegate for the opportunity to help his House and its members. He also is on the Baseball team.

Zach said he is most proud of the Halloween party the House of Courage put on last fall. Members of the House donated candy to give to each student as they entered in the morning and helped decorate the student entrance.

Joe said the Halloween party and other events show how members of their House take part in activities. Recently, several members of the House attended a Thursday morning liturgy in the Chapel and enjoyed donuts afterward.

“It’s a lot of fun seeing different grades come together into a House,” Joe said.

Zach plans to attend Indiana University-Bloomington and hopes to major in mathematics with a minor in economics.

Joe is still weighing his college decision as he waits to hear back from Vanderbilt University, the University of Notre Dame, Washington University in St. Louis, and Johns Hopkins University. The Ohio State University and Purdue University also are in consideration, he said. He plans to study sports medicine or physical therapy because he would “like to help people for a living.”

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Students take part in parish Food Fast

Several students recently participated in a Food Fast at St. Anthony of Padua Parish, organized by the parish’s youth ministry. The students spent a Saturday fasting from food while providing service to a local food pantry, the Falls of the Ohio, and St. Elizabeth Catholic Charities. They also made blankets and burritos to donate to local people who are homeless.

Freshmen Jake Miller and Addison Mills said they were looking forward to the service event and are glad they took part. Jake said he had heard about how fun it was from his brother, Trey, a senior. And Addison said she knew it was going to be a fun day.

“One of my favorite things to do is help people,” Addison said.

The group started by making blankets and burritos to be distributed by the Burrito Riders to people in the area who are homeless. Addison said she liked the activity because she had never made blankets by tying two pieces of cloth together. Jake said he liked knowing he was helping others get their basic needs.

“It felt great to give people such necessary things for life that they rarely get: food and warmth,” Jake said.

The group then picked up trash at the Falls of the Ohio State Park, helped reorganize a food pantry, and cleaned up a few rooms at St. Elizabeth Catholic Charities. Trey said they stayed so busy it was easy to forget they hadn’t eaten all day.

Both said they enjoy taking part in the service activities organized by their parish youth ministry and look forward to the next one.

“Every time I see a service project with my youth ministry I try my hardest to be able and make it there,” Addison said. “I’ve done a bunch of things like Summer Daze and working at the soup kitchen, and I always get such a positive experience out of it that makes my heart happy.”

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