Joliet Catholic Academy’s marketing tagline is JCA…A Tradition. That tradition extends to the family atmosphere created by the faculty and staff, challenging students to push themselves further than they ever thought possible. On Wednesday, JCA welcomed back students for the 2015-2016 school year, after freshmen had already begun their Hilltopper and Angel careers with a two-day orientation earlier in the week.
Students returned to find several exciting changes to the campus located at the intersection of Larkin and Ingalls on Joliet’s west side. Slated for completion in late September, the Heritage Quad project is coming together nicely, honoring the past traditions of De La Salle High School, St. Francis Academy, and Joliet Catholic High School. The iconic Victory Light Tower, which sits atop the old Joliet Catholic High School on Broadway Street, has been recreated at Joliet Catholic Academy. The mainstay of the landscaped outdoor quad (to be used as a gathering area for students, faculty, and alumni) is the Victory Light, complete with a Halo to honor all current and former Angels and Hilltoppers.
JCA President/Principal Dr. Jeffrey Budz said, “This keeps with the JCA tradition of honoring our past, paying tribute to the schools that shaped who we are today, while also building towards our future”.
As the use of personal devices explodes, the administration is thoughtfully integrating technology into the overall curriculum to engage students in the classroom and give them a more hands on role in their overall education. At the start of the 2016-2017 school year, JCA will introduce a one-to-one technology program, giving each student their own Google Chromebook.
To ensure a successful implementation, the existing technology infrastructure will be reconfigured with new servers, an upgraded firewall and uniform technology equity across all classrooms. Additionally, each faculty member has received a Chromebook to begin using in 2015-2016 school year. This will give teachers an opportunity to focus on integrating the technology into their curriculum to enhance their students’ learning.
Improvements inside the school have also continued; 18 classrooms have been equipped with ceiling mounted Epson projectors, Epson document projectors, and mounted wall speakers. Vice Principal of Curriculum and Technology Laura Pahl stated, “In preparation for our one-to-one program, the new classroom equipment will allow teachers to transition seamlessly from their Google Chromebooks, enhancing the educational experience of our students”.
The school improvements extend outside of the classrooms as well; the cafeteria has received a facelift with freshly painted walls and new ceiling tiles installed in preparation for the arrival of Quest Food Management Services. Quest will provide new breakfast service and an overhauled lunch menu, which adheres to their philosophy of using raw ingredients in all recipes. Quest takes pride in their “from scratch” approach, which helps keep costs down while providing healthier options for students, faculty, and staff.
With so many new developments around the campus of Joliet Catholic Academy it is an exciting time to become an Angel and a Hilltopper. Seventh and eighth graders are encouraged to visit www.jca-online.org to schedule their Shadow Visits today. Starting September 4th and continuing on Fridays throughout the school year, area junior high students will be able to experience a typical school day with a current JCA student. Come see the tradition that JCA offers firsthand today.