Cardinal Appeal SLS Achievements: Girls Performing in the SLS 2018 Spring Musical "Rockin Around the Block". St. Louis Memphis Catholic school extracurricular

Cardinal Post August 2018

Letter From
the Principal

Dear St. Louis Friends and Families,

I hope everyone had a wonderful and restful summer! The SLS faculty and staff were pleased to welcome students back to school this week! The 2017-18 school year went by quickly and we had many accomplishments to celebrate as a school. Here are just a few:

  • We had nine De La Salle Scholars
  • We had 66 students in grades 4th through 7th grade invited to participate in the Duke TIP academic talent search.
  • We are moving forward with our application to become a STEM certified school with our accreditation organization, AdvancEd.
  • We increased the opportunity to meet students’ individual needs by increasing our learning lab and SOARing staff.
  • We expanded our School Counselor staff.
  • We started using FACTS to simplify tuition payment.

Above all else, our goal is to walk hand in hand with parents in sharing the love of Christ with our students, teaching the Catholic faith, and bringing our students in close relationship with their Lord and Savior.

Other goals for the 2018-19 school year are:

  • Achieve STEM certification and to become the first Catholic School in the state of TN to be AdvancEd STEM certified.
  • Complete our 5 year continuous improvement plan for AdvancEd system-wide reaccreditation.
  • Continue to refine our SOARing program for gifted students, and increase rigor across the curriculum in every grade
  • Move towards more project based learning.
  • Create a school strategic plan that includes marketing, enrollment management, volunteerism, and fundraising.
  • Implement new Language Arts series in 6th through 8th grade that utilizes technology to hopefully increase the love of reading among our older students.
  • Continue to provide cutting edge technology to advance student learning which includes robotics, 3D printing, coding, and creating community partnerships especially in regard to STEM careers.
  • Continue to improve school safety by installing more security cameras and finally get flashing lights installed on White Station!

As we work toward accomplishing our goals this year, I ask that we all join in prayer that as a St. Louis community we continue to focus on our primary mission, faith formation and salvation of souls. Watching students discover their talents is one of the greatest joys of teaching. Being able to explain that there is a reason God gave us each different talents is a joy only teachers who work in faith based schools get to experience. Together with parents, our faculty and staff will inspire our children to search for God’s purpose in their lives as they grow academically and spiritually here at SLS.

Peace and Blessings,

–Mrs. Teddi Niedzwiedz, Principal

Important Dates

Aug. 14
Ignite meeting 6:30pm in the Clunan Center

Aug. 15
Feast of the Assumption (no school)

Aug. 22
Room Parent Rally 2pm in the Clunan Center

Aug. 28
H&S meeting 6:30pm in the Clunan Center

Aug. 29
Fall Fundraiser packets go home

Aug. 31
Feast of St. Louis (no school)

Sept. 5
Virtus Training 9am and 6pm in the Clunan Center

Sept. 11
Ignite meeting 6:30 pm in the Clunan Center

Sept. 13
Pep Rally (spirit jeans day)

Sept. 14
Fall Fundraiser packets due

Sept. 19 & 20
Picture Day

Sept. 28
Crazy for our Country jeans day (benefitting Feed My Flock)

These dates and more are listed on our school calendar.


Noteworthy Moments

  • Junior Beta Club inducted its newest members on February 8, 2018. This honor is bestowed upon students in grades 6-8 who meet the following eligibility requirements: 3.75 GPA with a conduct grade average of a G or better; high recommendations from all classroom teachers; and demonstrated leadership ability. The National Junior Beta Club promotes character and social responsibility, encourages involvement to school and community, fosters leadership skills, and provides settings for children to develop interpersonal relationship skills. We are so proud of these students!
  • Congratulations to our 2018 Geography Bee winner, Nate Brownlee, and runner up, Auden Brummer! We are proud of these students and all of the students who qualified represent their classes!
  • Beta Club members celebrated National Beta Club week February 26– March 3. They celebrated Mass, helped teachers, passed out treats to students and informed our school community about the mission of beta club!
  • The winners of Jump Rope for Heart were Andrew Denegri (in the 4-6 grade division) and Claire Wetick (in the 1-3 grade division.) Griffin Herring was the winner of the Hoops for Heart contest. Together, we raised $ for the American Heart Association. Thanks so much to Mrs. Schauwecker for organizing this fun event every year!
  • Our 2018 4th grade State Fair was held in the new gym on March 8. Students did a wonderful job researching their states and presenting their projects to the entire school.
  • Our 2018 6th grade Science Fair was held February 21- 23 in the new gym. Congratulations to our winners, overall: 1st- Nicholas Pesce, 2nd- Thomas Cassat, 3rdRobert Senter and class winners: (6A) 1st- Nicholas Pesce, 2nd- Thomas Cassat, 3rd- Robert Senter, (6B) 1st- Russell Hossenlopp, 2nd- Cullen Brummer, 3rdCash Johnson. Nicholas Pesce went on to win 4th place at the Shelby County Science Fair! We are so proud of all of our 6th graders for their hard work.
  • Our Spring Play, Rockin’ Around the Block, was a fantastic musical featuring 50’s-style songs and dances. The student actors did an amazing job and parent volunteers helped build a phenomenal set. This year’s production was fun, hilarious, and wellrehearsed. All who attended the day and evening performances were impressed by Director Ray Mullins and his cast!!

SLS 2018 ITBS Test Scores

Each spring, SLS students in grades 1 through 8 take the Iowa Test of Basic Skills, a nationally standardized achievement test for K-12 students. Students are tested in Reading, Math, Language Arts, Social Studies, and Science. The charts on this page illustrate our students’ average grade equivalent (GE) scores by grade. Grade Equivalent measures average student performance on a continuum. The numbers would be read:

“First grade’s class average Grade Equivalent is 2nd grade, 4th month.” This means that the average 1st grade student performed as well on this test as a second grade student would in his/her 4th month of the school year.

These charts indicate that, on average, our students score above grade level in all subjects. Administrators and teachers use benchmark testing throughout the year to make sure curriculum is rigorous and that individual student growth is monitored. We are very proud of our students for their achievement and growth during the 2017-18 school year.


Summer Parent Focus Groups

At the end of the 2017-18 school year, parents were invited to participate in three parent focus groups. Topics discussed at the focus group meetings were based on feedback we received in our 2018 parent survey. We are grateful to all who participated! We enjoyed the exchange of ideas and look forward to implementing some new ideas this year. In fact, we already adopted a parent-suggested idea regarding uniforms. To the delight of many parents, girls in all grades can wear the tennis shoe style saddle oxford if they so choose. We will share more focus group information at the first Home & School meeting on August 28 at 6:30 in the Clunan Center.


2018 H&S Auction: 80’s Pop Rocks

This year’s auction, held in the gym on April 8th, was SO MUCH FUN!! Attendees went all out with their 80’s attire, Almost Famous had everyone on the dance floor for hours, and our school community raised a TON OF MONEY!! We really appreciate all the volunteers who made this year’s event successful. Congrats to President Benolyn Craig and her whole team!

H&S Appreciation Cookout

The last H&S meeting was an appreciation cookout honoring all parent volunteers. Faculty and staff served dinner before the meeting. President Craig announced that H&S raised over $90,000 before passing the torch to our 2018-19 President, Gretchen Brown and VP, Kara Jamison!

Contact Gretchen Brown ( to get involved in H&S!

Catholic Schools Week 2018


Mrs. Niedzwiedz hosted Catholic Trivia


Mr. Mullins hosted a Celtic-themed Grandparents Day program! Grades K-4 showed off what they learned in music class.


Fr. Ruben gave preschool students a tour of our beautiful church!


Beta Club collected canned soup on “Soup”er Bowl Monday. We had a pep rally to honor those students who serve at Mass!


Students and grandparents got to visit the book fair in the JPII!


Mauricio’s grandparents visited all the way from Puerto Rico!


The Men’s Club Mardi Gras Dinner and Parade was the perfect way to end the week!


Men’s Club Mardi Gras Dinner

Special Honors and Scholarships awarded to Cardinals who graduated this year:
9 De La Salle Scholars (Boys entering CBHS who have earned scholarships based on their entrance exam scores)
1 St. Benedict Scholarship
10 St. Agnes Scholarships

Welcome New Faculty

Helen Stearnes:
Hello! My name is Helen Stearnes. I am very excited about joining the St. Louis community. For the past nine years, I have been teaching high school science at Immaculate Conception Cathedral School. During my time at ICCS, I taught Advanced Placement Environmental Science, Environmental Science, Biology, Physical Science, and Sociology. Before beginning my career as a teacher, I earned a Bachelor in Science in Geology from Millsaps College, and a Masters of Arts in Teaching from the University of Memphis. Along with being a teacher, I serve on the board of the Tennessee Environmental Education Association.

I am very passionate about science and the outdoors. My two children, Addie and Stephen, and I like to spend our free time in the woods, creeks, and rivers. We love to go camping, hiking, and kayaking. Stephen(10) and Addie(7) both attend the University of Memphis Campus School.

After teaching high school girls for almost ten years, I am very excited to transition into middle school. Seventh and eighth grade are crucial years for science education. I look forward to working with your children, and getting them prepared for science in high school and beyond.

Esthela Rojas:
Hello! My name is Esthela Rojas. I am very happy and honored to be part of the St. Louis community. I have been teaching lower school Spanish since 2011 at St. Ann on Highland. For the past five years, during my time at ICCS, I have been concentrating in Middle School (grades 6-8). I am Spanish native speaking. I was born in the boarded with Texas, Rio Bravo, Tamaulipas, Mexico. Before beginning my career as a teacher, I earned a bachelor in Management in Torreon, Coahuila Mexico at La Universidad Autonoma de la Laguna.

I really enjoy sharing my passion for the Latin culture with my students through interactive classes. My husband (Alex Rojas) and I have four children, Sofia (11), Cesar (9), Alex (8) and Miranda (5). As a Catholic, I believe that family and values are the root of our society. We own a Mexican Restaurant called Agavos Cocina & Tequila, located at 2924 Walnut Grove. Agavos has (by People’s choice)

the best margaritas in town in 2018!

Junior high are essential years for the education of our children, and I am very happy to be part of their lives during this critical time. I look forward to working with your children and getting them prepared for their future.

Aprendamos Espanol con Valores!

Elizabeth Brame:
Hello! My name is Elizabeth Brame. I am thrilled to introduce myself as the new School Counselor at St. Louis School for grades 5-8!

I received my Master of Science in School Counseling from the University of Memphis where I developed a strong passion for promoting a positive school climate. As your student’s new counselor, I align my responsibilities with the American School Counseling Association (ASCA) where my focus will be on the academic, personal/social, and career development of each student. When I'm outside of school I enjoy spending time with my family, cooking, and going to see live music.

My door is always open if you have any questions or concerns about your student. I look forward to meeting you all!

Other Changes:
We have a few more staff changes and additions. Kim Pesce is moving out of the front office and into a new role, Admissions/ Marketing/ Volunteer Coordinator. Kim will continue to oversee admissions and enrollment, but will also take over management of the school website and other communications like the school’s weekly bulletin, the Wednesday Wire. Teachers and volunteers who need to promote school-related activities are encouraged to email WW flyers to Kim at each week by Tuesday at noon. Please also email her if you have any suggestions for communication improvements. With so many communication platforms, including social media, we want to be sure we are effectively communicating with families.

Kelly Wilson and Erin Van Epps will assist Amy Newsom in the front office so that parents and students continue to receive the level of care SLS is known for providing.

Get to Know Your Pastor

Our Pastor, Fr. Jolly Sebastian, has released three videos, part of a series he is creating and sharing with St. Louis parishioners so that we can get to know him better. You can go to the church website to watch his latest video. We encourage you to watch all of the videos– they are a testament to the power of a Catholic education and a loving family. If you would like to co-host a “get to know the pastor” parent party this fall, please contact Kim Pesce at 901-255-1914 or The JPII Youth Ministry Center can be booked for these parties and will be a fun way for parents in each grade to get to know each other and our priests. In the past, parent parties have proven to be a wonderful opportunity for parents, especially early in their children’s school careers, to form a community (the kind of community that attracts amazing families like you!)

Read More About Fr. Jolly Sebastian

Special Thank You

Thank you to all who attended Grandparents & Special Friends Day! It is our favorite part of Catholic Schools Week. We are also grateful to those who sent monetary gifts in honor of their grandchildren!

  • Ken and Pat Bernardini
    (in honor of Gracie Leo & Adrian Bernardini)
  • Sherman Beyer (in honor of Bryce Beyer)
  • Dr. & Mrs. Gerald F. Billions (in honor of Eliza Billions)
  • Hays & Judy Brantley (in honor of Holly Hays & Benton Grosshans)
  • Tina Brigham (in honor of Mason Brigham)
  • John and Vicki Brown (in honor of Will, Nate & Julia Brownlee, Evie & Jace Neves)
  • James & Jeanne Cash (in honor of Evelyn & Alice Rehrig)
  • James & June Cassat (in honor of Thomas & Caroline Cassat)
  • Beverly Cheek (in honor of Iris Bird)
  • William J. Cochran (in honor of Piper & Maddie Cochran)
  • Sally Colvett (in honor of Ella Colvett)
  • Lisa Cook (in honor of Savannah Cook)
  • Francis & Janet Courtenay (in honor of Michael & Christian Novarese)
  • Diane L. Decker (in honor of Hailey Decker)
  • Joseph Dunlap (in honor of Haley & Elizabeth Lutts)
  • Jeff & Margie Ebelhar (in honor of Julia & Reid Ebelhar)
  • David & Marcia Field (in honor of Cooper Williams)
  • John & Julia Finnie (in honor of Katherine, Thomas & Ben Kovacs)
  • Joel & Kathleen Fulmer (in honor of Alice Thompson)
  • Kenneth & Billie Gaia (in honor of Tyler, Andrew, Will & Anna Claire Brimm)
  • James & Linda Gattas (in honor of Coscia & Louisa Vetro)
  • Mrs. Robert Trainor (in honor of Ava Claire Trainor)
  • Tanya Mabry (in honor of Mary Frances & Wills Mabry)
  • Paul & Nancy Rose (in honor of Maddie Cochran)
  • Bobby Steinriede (in honor of Walker, Jack, and Margaret Steinriede)
  • Dick & Ellie Goughnour (in honor of Emma & Jacob Goughnour)
  • William & Barbara Groeschell (in honor of Vivie Groeschell)
  • Elinor Grusin (in honor of Alex & Emma Grusin)
  • Rob & Mary Hansom (in honor of Briley & Tate Quarles)
  • Fred & Anita Harris (in honor of Addison & Sadie Sadler, Ella Colvett)
  • Mary Ann Herring (in honor of Griffin Herring)
  • Janet Hinrichs (in honor of Madelin, Park and Paul Duffee)
  • Josefina Koerner (in honor of Jack Shirley)
  • Johnny & Marty Laney (in honor of Jack, Walker & Margaret Steinreide)
  • John & Janes Letchworth (in honor of Thomas & Margaret Hayden)
  • Linda Lingrey (in honor of Emma Kate Trimm)
  • Rue & Jamie Luter (in honor of William Keith)
  • Larry & Margaret Lynch (in honor of Hadley Lynch)
  • Marie Mabry (in honor of Samatha, Izzy & Mabry Craig)
  • Shirley Maichrowicz (in honor of Joseph Maichrowicz)
  • Larry & Diann McBride (in honor of Hallie, Kate, Ella, Reese, Ainsley McBride)
  • Mr. E. & Wilma McBride (in honor of Hudson Tollison)
  • Mike & Anita McCarty (in honor of Trenton McCarty)
  • Steve and Connie Mitchell (in honor of Madeline & Matthew Mitchell)
  • Stephen & Vicki Monte (in honor of Jake & Mia DiSalvo)
  • Louanne Pierotti (in honor of Marie & Joseph Pierotti)
  • Christopher & Geralyn Ybos (in honor of Trey & Drew Ybos, Nick Saullters)
  • Malcolm J. Zwolinski (in honor of Kristen Branch) Tommy & Jima (in honor of Owen LaChapelle)
  • Anne Pratt (in honor of Hunter & Emma Pratt, Chace and Chole Pratt, Grady and George Booth)
  • Marline & Barbara Rains (in honor of Claire, Emily & Abigail Rains)
  • Peter & Bit Ritten (in honor of Ben Caviness)
  • Beverly Robertson (in honor of Owen & Colin Tisdale)
  • Reginald & Ouida Rodriguez (in honor of Alex & Emma Grusin, Audrey & John Zwieg)
  • Werner & Providence Rose (in honor of Matthew Rose)
  • Patti Russell (in honor of Madeline & Matthew Mitchell)
  • Beverly Slovensky (in honor of Stephen and Sophie Hudson)
  • John & Linda Smith (in honor of Lindsey Crossnine)
  • Gail and Walter Soefker (in honor of Ethan & Elizabeth Soefker, Mia & Paulina Soefker)
  • Joe & Ginny Sutherland (in honor of Madilyn & Conner Sutherland)
  • Mary Elizabeth Tavoleti (in honor of Ginny Tavoleti)
  • Jerry & Paulette Tollison (in honor of Hudson Tollison)
  • Mike & Virjean Verschoor (in honor of Oscar Sanderson)
  • Steve & Susan Vescovo (in honor of Lilliana, Trace & Kellan Vescovo)
  • Rob & Teresa Wallace (in honor of Lanie & Addie Norman)
  • Dr. and Mrs. Wendell Wheat (in honor of Wilson Wheat)
  • Gingy Whitman (in honor of Jack McBee)
  • Karen T. Williams (in honor of Kendall Lockhart)
  • Robert & Carol Zachary (in honor of Robert Senter)
  • Cathy Lunati (in honor of Mallory Adair, Sam & Jonathan DeStefanis, Mikey & Brayden Lunati)
  • Mike and Jane Dalton (in honor of Cody Miller)
  • Dr. BJ and Carolyn Kelley (in honor of Tomas Pantik)

Welcome New Families

We want to welcome several new families into our Cardinal Community for the 2018-19 school year. If you would like to volunteer to be a Cardinal Connect committee member, please contact Finy Shirley ( or Ashley Coleman (, our 2018-19 coordinators. Cardinal Connect is the Home & School committee that connects new families with existing families. Even if you are not an official member of this committee, please join us in welcoming:

Baker Cruzen
Charolotte Lawrenz
Natalie Martin
Jace Smith
Ann Towler
Lyla Valle
David Collie
Madison Person
Peyton Person
Gino Viglietti

Mary Collie

Ethan Begonia
David Bengert
Rose Bunyard
Jackson Capocaccia
Abby Melancon
Celia Mize
Robert Sharpley
Luca Trimboli
Hunter Vincent
Houston Wenzler
Henry Whitehead

1st Grade
Patrick Snowden

2nd Grade
Henry Heinz

3rd Grade
Anne Marie Snowden
Joseph Lopez

4th Grade
Grayson Goodwin
Andrew Keys
Mac Wagonner

5th Grade
Mary Caroline Wagonner
Claudia Durante

6th Grade
Elise Durante
William Westbrook
Parker Goodwin

7th Grade
Jessica Lopez
Luke Goldsmith
Alex Morales

8th Grade
Jared Glatzer
Henry Heinz