JCA students learn history of Heritage Quad in freshman Theology


JCA freshmen Alberto Lamas and Armand Sandoval work with freshman Theology instructor Mr. Cory McDermott researching the history of JCA’s founding religious orders.

Joliet Catholic Academy’s Theology Department is the first high school in the Diocese of Joliet to track student cognition and affect development using the NCEA’s IFG standardized testing, developed with the National Conference of Catholic Bishops. Part of the curriculum in the JCA Theology department is based on the charisms of our sponsors, the Carmelites and Franciscans. In order to better understand these charisms, freshman students recently undertook a project researching the histories of both religious orders, and were able to do so in the brand new Heritage Quad which commemorates the contributions of the founders of Joliet Catholic Academy.

JCA freshman students in Mr. Cory McDermott’s Theology class recently packed up their new laptops and headed outside in small groups to research the school’s founding religious orders and understand many of the symbols and history present in Heritage Quad.

Freshman Madi Mikuska said, “It was different because I’d never had class outside before. We were outside and active, researching the history of our school and getting a lot of information on the Heritage Quad walls commemorating (De La Salle, Joliet Catholic High School, and St. Francis Academy). I learned that the Mayo Clinic (one of the world’s leading hospitals) was formed by Mother Alfred Moes and the Sisters of Saint Francis in 1889 (after the Sisters had founded St. Francis Academy in Joliet in 1869).”

Mikuska also commented on the recent addition of two new statues to the Heritage Quad: St. Francis of Assisi and Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. Both statues arrived just in time for JCA’s annual Heritage Week, which took place from October 3rd-9th and included an all school mass, as well as specific days dedicated to prayer, generosity, gratitude, and hospitality. The statues were created by renowned Christian artist Timothy P. Schmalz, who has received worldwide attention for his “Homeless Jesus” statues located all across the globe.

McDermott added, “It is important for our students to know their heritage, and to understand how important the contributions to education in this area that the Carmelites and Franciscans have made over 147 years. A Carmelite and Franciscan education, and most importantly an education centered upon the teachings of Jesus Christ is the most important thing we provide to our students at JCA on a daily basis.”

Freshman Kyle Michel said, “the laptops allow us not to have to carry any books, and it was nice to have a day outside of the classroom to be able to learn in another environment.” Fellow freshman Moira Cardwell added, “it keeps us more organized, on top of things, and accountable being able to access our school work at any time. I can monitor my grades through ‘Plus Portals’ and doing fun projects like in Mr. McDermott’s class are possible because of the mobile devices. My whole family went to JCA, so I liked learning about the history in Heritage Quad.”

To learn more about JCA’s 1:1 Technology Initiatives visit https://www.jca-online.org/technology/. JCA is also currently half way towards its goal in fundraising $1.5 million towards Phase II of the Capital Initiative “Building Our Future”. The second phase of the capital initiative (Phase I included new windows on the front of the school, Heritage Quad, and the upgrade of WiFi infrastructure) is highlighted by the push to have all classrooms in the building equipped with air conditioning by the 2017-2018 school year.

“Building Our Future” upgrades center around creating the optimal learning environment for JCA students. Besides the addition of air conditioning, the capital initiative also includes further improvements to the WiFi infrastructure as the entire school transitions to 1:1, new back windows to increase energy efficiency, as well as updates to the outdoor prayer garden and lighting along Tradition Road and Victory Way located at the rear of the campus.

For more information on Phase II and instructions on how to join us in “Building Our Future” contact JCA Director of Development Mr. John Horn at jhorn@jca-online.org or 815.741.0500, ext. 276, or visit https://www.jca-online.org/phase-ii-capital-campaign/.

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