Hello! My name is James, and I am writing about my experience here at Saint Paul. I am first going to start out by talking about how my classes have been going. One of my favorite classes is Junior High Art Class. My teacher, Mr. Fleming, is really nice. I have always been interested in art, but I could never get the hang of it. No matter how much I tried, I simply was not an artist. When I joined this class, I was hoping that I could not only improve my skills, but also have fun along the way. I think I accomplished both of those things to be perfectly honest with you! I have made many new friends and Mr. Fleming has been such a big help. I would like to say thank you to him and the rest of the Junior High Art Class.
The second thing I wanted to talk about was my experience with the Chess Club. Like art, I have always been interested in Chess, but was never as good as I wanted. When I joined the Chess Club, Mr. Leonard, the moderator of the Chess Club, taught me so much. He inspired me to study more. So far, my only loss in the Chess Club has been to Mr. Leonard. I would like to say thank you to him, and the other members of the Chess Club, for making it a great experience. Lastly, I want to give a special thanks to my classmate, Jack, for being a great friend. Jack and I are in Junior High Art Class and the Chess Club together.
I go into school on Mondays and Tuesdays. I’ve chosen to take seven classes again this year, including my elective which is Intro to Web Design. I haven’t had any issues with my schedule yet, which is great. However, the Guidance Office is also open if you need adjustments made to your schedule.
After school is over, I head home and do some homework, so I don’t have as much to do when I am remote on the other days of the week. However, on Tuesdays I must join a Zoom call for Mock Trial, which is the extracurricular I participate in. Because of the climate, it is hard for us to meet as a whole group with the two different cohorts, so we use Zoom.
To explain the main principles of the club, each year we are given a packet explaining the case principles, witness affidavits, and the actual law behind the case. The students decide whether they want to be a witness, or an attorney, and we need to prepare a case that we’ll use to compete with other schools across the state.
For example, this year our case is about an accident with a self-driving car. This year I decided to be an attorney, and my job is to prepare an examination for my assigned witness. Also, Mock Trial is a great way to improve your public speaking skills, whether you’re a witness or an attorney. It has helped my public speaking and presentation skills drastically in the short time that I’ve been doing it. Thankfully, Mock Trial can be translated easily to online and through zoom, so we can still compete with other schools.
When the merge was first announced, I was really worried about being at a new school my senior year. We all had to adapt to a new name, mascot, and colors. For me personally, the building I had been in for 3 years was going to change, and I would have teachers I had never met before. At first, getting used to all of this was a challenge. But, as the school year has started and our first quarter at Saint Paul has progressed, these challenges have started to fade! We’re all able to see the positives that come with these changes.
I have some teachers this year from St. Peter-Marian that are amazing, and I never would have had the opportunity to have them if it weren’t for the merge. I’m really enjoying Concepts in Leadership with Mr. St. John. This wasn’t a class we had at Holy Name, and I’m super grateful for the opportunity to take it! There are some things we did have at Holy Name that didn’t carry over to Saint Paul, like Cafe 144. It was always the senior hangout, so missing out on that is hard. But, I know our administration is working behind the scenes to make our senior year special, despite all the challenges COVID brings them.
My favorite thing about Saint Paul so far is that it’s a blend of both schools. While a lot of St. Peter-Marian rules and practices carried over, we also kept some of my favorite parts of Holy Name. Our clubs and activities are all the same. The mock trial team (my favorite extracurricular) is the same team, but even better. We just gained a few team members, which makes the team so much better! At the end of the day, Saint Paul is a mixture of two great schools, making one even better, stronger together school.
I am Justin, a junior at Saint Paul, and an international student from South Korea. I was a former St. Peter-Marian student. I decided to enroll at Saint Paul Diocesan Jr/Sr High School because I thought that the newly merged school would integrate only the beneficial aspects of both schools and subsequently make Saint Paul a better school than the previous two schools.
Let me briefly tell you about my history of studying in America, and my experiences as an international student. In 2015, when "little Justin" was 11, my parents offered me an opportunity to experience American education just for one year. Because I was so young, and only thought about things 5 minutes ahead of me, I permissively said “yes, that would be fun.” Throughout 6th grade at St. Bernadette School, I learned many new things – things I would never forget in my entire lifetime. The lessons I learned at St. Bernadette's formed me into an upright young adult. I began to enjoy America more and more as the school year progressed. American education, at least in my perspective, was much better than the dull and stressful Korean education my sister was going through at the time. I asked my parents if I could stay longer in America, and they agreed. By the time I became a freshman at St. Peter-Marian (SPM), I realized how hard my parents worked to support me. I promised myself, and God, that I would always try my best, no matter what the outcome may be. SPM couldn’t do better in motivating me with such challenging courses, strict teachers, and bright classmates.
When I first heard about the Holy Name/St. Peter-Marian merger, I was shocked and soon became worried I might not be able to see my favorite teachers and the “cozy” school building again. It seemed that everything I became used to was about to break apart and change. I am not much of a sociable and adaptive person, but the two long years I spent at SPM gave me a comfortable American environment with good friends and teachers. The news of the school merger sounded like hitting the “reset” button on the achievements I had accomplished in a video game.
There is saying, “new wine is ought to be stored in new bottles.” Even though the merger had some frustrating aspects, I was reminded that “our SPM community is not disappearing,” and that “it will be something that benefits both schools.” Six months have passed, and now I am a junior at Saint Paul. The transition wasn’t challenging for me at all, thanks to the school staff and faculty who worked hard all summer, day and night/weekday and weekend, to keep everything organized and smooth for students under chaotic circumstances such as COVID-19.
I now think of Saint Paul with the same gratefulness, or even more, as I felt at SPM when I first began my studies in America. The experience I felt during orientation, and the first few weeks of school, is astonishment and pride. Saint Paul has become a better stage for me and my classmates to complete high school. With more teachers and students, courses, extracurricular activities, and opportunities, the Saint Paul community has managed to become a better school than both the previous two schools. My favorite subject is math. So, it certainly is excellent that there are more math and science courses available now and more students participate in the Math Club. To a prospective student who would consider becoming a Saint Paul Knight, I would by all means recommend challenging yourself by joining our community.