st. mary's high school

Mary statue gets new home as archdiocesan schools repurpose former JFK items

St. Mary’s High School recently installed a Mary statue that used to reside on the front lawn outside the former convent at John F. Kennedy Catholic High School.

On that day in August, St. Mary's High School principal Kevin Hacker was on a scouting mission at the former John F. Kennedy Catholic High School in Manchester.

The archdiocese, which closed Kennedy in May and owned the property, had invited archdiocesan high school officials for a walk-through to claim items for use in their schools: office and sports equipment, student desks, classroom supplies — whatever wasn't nailed down. But something caught Hacker's eye outside.

A statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the earthly mother of Jesus Christ, and namesake of St. Mary's High School.

Students display work ethic at neighborhood cleanup

From left, St. Mary’s High School student Brendan Seyss joined teacher Ty Van Valkenburg and students Jackson Cummings and Darius Harris in cleaning a street and sidewalk near the intersection of Osceola Street and South Grand Avenue Oct. 9. Students spent the day cleaning up streets and public areas near the school in south St. Louis.

The trash bags filled up quickly.

Ty Van Valkenburg and his crew of students from St. Mary's High School worked feverishly picking up trash and trimming grass and weeds from a sidewalk on the corner of Osceola and Grand, a few blocks north of their school in south St. Louis.

Wielding a shovel as he cut and scooped weeds and grass overtaking the sidewalk, Max Todd was almost too busy to talk. The junior managed a quick comment: "It's hard work. But we want to help out any way we can."

‘Angel’ drops $2.5 million gift on St. Mary’s High

A blessing from God and an answer to prayers is what the president of St. Mary's High School is calling an unprecedented gift of $2.5 million.

The gift came from the estate of a man who apparently had no connection to the all-boys archdiocesan high school in south St. Louis. It is the largest single donation in the school's 86-year history.

The donor, Harry B. Sieker, is a former engineer from Walnut Creek, Calif. Raised in Maplewood and a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis, Sieker did not attend St. Mary's High School. He never married and had no children.

St. Mary’s football team running on all gears

St. Mary's High School running back Lavel Harris carried the ball 53 yards for a thrid-quarter touchdown against Westminster Academy Aug. 18. Lavell gained 145 yards receiving and rushing in the game, which St. Mary's won 31-22.

If the season opener is any indication, the St. Mary's High School football team will be a force to be reckoned with this year.

The offense is effective in both running and passing the ball. "I try to stay as balanced as possible," St. Mary's coach Corey Bethany said.

The coach moved Lavel Harris from receiver to running back this season to keep that balance. "He had to step up," Bethany said. "He's a dynamic player. Wherever he is on the field, he'll try to make a play. He has the speed to do it from anywhere."

Confidence is a key for standout St. Mary’s team

St. Mary’s High School’s Gerardo Lopez at the net beat the block from Duchesne High School’s Bryce Edmonson and Luke Loewenstein. St. Mary’s won the inaugural Southside Classic volleyball tournament to begin the season, and had a 9-1 record as of April 11.

The confidence of the volleyball team at St. Mary's High School is easy to see.

When St. Mary's battled a tough Duchesne team to a 25-20, 25-22 victory April 10 to improve its record to 9-1 on the season, the players focused calmly on the task ahead. "We thrive on confidence," junior setter Justin Bridges said after the game.

The team's defense is stellar and the offense is improving each game, Bridges said. Against Duchesne, the aim was to contain Duchesne's hitters and, as the game went along, to do "a much better job blocking and playing defense on them," he said.

Marianist group at St. Mary’s tackles racial justice topic

The topic of racial justice is one that a group focused on Marian spirituality might have been inclined to skip.

But Mary led them to it, and the result is a Lenten program being held at St. Mary's High School on Wednesday evenings with a theme of "With Mary Toward Racial Justice." The weekly presentations on Marian spirituality and racial justice are open to the public.

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