President Joe Therber: Scecina today and tomorrow

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Students cheering

Scecina’s Class of 2020 cheers on classmates during Campus Crusade activities in May 2019.

By President Joe Therber

I hope that you are healthy and well. Please know of my prayers for health and safety for you and your loved ones. This situation is so much more than statistics when it affects us close to home.

The pandemic has affected every aspect of our lives. Education is no exception. To say that a Scecina student’s experience has been turned upside down in seven weeks is no exaggeration.

As we hope, endure, and prepare for the future, supporting one another is vital. In appreciation for your support and involvement, and to update you on life at Scecina, I want to reflect on three questions with you:

What are we doing at Scecina today?

  • Engaging students in a continuous e-learning program that began immediately upon the announcement of school campus closures throughout Indiana in mid-March
  • Ensuring that Scecina’s continuous e-learning program incorporates best practices, data, and feedback from students and teachers
  • Seeing students encourage and humor one another through their recordings on the Red and Gold Show, seek and find employment to help their families, and help the community by making goodie bags and masks for neighbors
  • Having counselors available for academic advising, assisting with college-related questions and needs, and supporting students through issues that stem from uncertainty, newness of situation, and real or perceived isolation
  • Identifying ways to affirm and connect students through social media
  • Sharing spiritual resources from East Deanery parishes with all Scecina students, families, and staff
  • Supporting students and parents through re-enrollment for the 2020-21 school year
  • Providing weekly food service for families in our school community
  • Assisting families with tuition assistance questions and needs for this year and next
  • Continuing to pay teachers and staff at their pre-pandemic rates of pay
  • Interacting with alumni and friends whose support allows Scecina to educate, serve, and operate
  • Making decisions about student events that typically close out a school year, including a potential live Commencement in July
  • Inviting questions from current and prospective parents, and providing school updates and answers through online presentations
  • Preparing for a deep cleaning of facilities before students and staff return to campus
  • Collaborating with leadership from the Archdiocese of Indianapolis to ensure we are aligning with Archbishop Thompson’s guidance during these extreme times.

During recent years, generous Scecina alumni and friends have helped us build a technology infrastructure, expand technology staff, implement professional development for technology in the classroom, and pilot a series of individual e-learning days before this school year began. Coupled with our faculty’s and administration’s efforts, our alumni and friends have helped pave the way for our students to continue to learn during these extraordinary circumstances.

In addition, we have operated financially in the black for 10 consecutive years. If we can raise approximately $115,000 by June 30 and avoid unexpected expenses, we will be on track to achieve a break-even budget this year as well.

What do we see for tomorrow?

  • First, submitting to the Scecina Board of Directors in May 2020 a proposed balanced operating budget for the 2020-21 year that sustains and even expands services for students while continuing to make a Scecina education affordable for our children of diverse socio-economic backgrounds
  • Developing a process to identify 12-24-month priorities and alternative plans, about which I aim to share more with you during the summer
  • Preparing to begin academic classes and student activities with students and staff on campus in August 2020 knowing that adjustments may be needed
  • Researching best practices from healthcare experts and practitioners to ensure we have safe protocols in place for students, staff, and guests to re-enter once school campuses may re-open
  • Envisioning safe alternatives to gather people for events ranging from academic classes to student lunch periods to athletic practices and contests to school Masses to alumni and friends’ events to Commencement
  • Helping Scecina families develop and navigate tuition agreements for the 2020 – 2021 year
  • Reviewing and updating e-learning protocols and expectations based on data and feedback from students, teachers, parents, and administrators
  • Continuing to support and address our students’ social and emotional needs. The expansions in school counseling services that you have funded in recent years have served students very well. We must continually envision how best to deliver these services.
  • Selecting priorities for collaboration with East Deanery parishes and schools and the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.


How is the Our Faith, Our Journey, Our Time capital campaign coming along?

  • Thanks to historical levels of generosity, we have reached documented capital campaign pledges of $5.8 million and are approaching the $6+ million goal while continuing to fund annual programs and services.
  • The first campaign project is nearly complete. We have relocated the weight room from the blockhouse to the school building to improve safety and security. This renovation is a vast improvement! Students, coaches, and teachers used the facility many times for classes and team workouts before the pandemic began.
  • While we hope to have a dedication and tour of the weight room at an appropriate time, for now please enjoy the walkthrough below!
  • We are in active dialogue and planning with the Scecina Board of Directors, capital campaign leadership, Archdiocese of Indianapolis, and our architect about steps we can take this calendar year to prepare for the next campaign projects.
  • In light of the pandemic concerns and after consulting with the capital campaign executive committee, honorary chairs, and national advisors, we are pausing new invitations for support. We are, however, simultaneously continuing campaign communications and will enter the campaign homestretch at an appropriate time.
  • For a refresher on the six capital campaign priorities, please click here:

Please let me know what Scecina can do for you. We are immensely blessed by your relationship with Scecina and by the faith, hope, and love of our Lord Jesus and his servant, Father Thomas Scecina.

Thank you so much for believing in Scecina and the students who turn to us for guidance and support every day.

Together, we will persevere and prevail by doing what Crusaders do . . . giving all we can and then giving that little extra.


Joe Therber

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