Catholic high schools welcome Class of 2025

August 17, 2021

Kristan Siegal welcomes students to Incarnate Word Academy’s honors geometry class. (Photo by Desiree Rodriguez)

HOUSTON — Ahead of the upcoming fall semester, Cristo Rey Jesuit College Preparatory in southeast Houston held its usual new student orientation in July for 126 students as an introduction to student life and academics, said Dana Morrison, Cristo Rey’s associate communications director.

Jesuit Father Randy Gibbens and interim principal Drew Hudson welcomed the students.

Hudson told the students, “I love this school… Please know that my door is always open to you.”

During the two-week orientation, students attended math, English and writing classes as well as enrichment activities like college readiness, athletics and campus ministry.
Others participated in corporate work-study program job training in preparations for their corporate job internships. Cristo Rey Jesuit students work one day a week to gain workplace experience and help pay half of the costs of their Catholic education.

St. Thomas High School also continued its summer Camp Aquinas, named for the institution’s patron St. Thomas Aquinas, who combined scholarship and sanctity. The five-day immersion for freshmen happened at Camp Cho-Yeh, outside of Livingston.

Faculty members Grover Green, class of 2004, and Andrew Quittenton were the chief architects behind Camp Aquinas. Quittenton said, “Camp Aquinas is all about establishing what it means to be a man of St. Thomas… to be a man of God.”

Green said, “My formation at St. Thomas was quintessential to becoming an adult. As we continue to develop as a campus community, our students face more and more complex challenges.”

At Incarnate Word Academy in downtown Houston, a message in Kristan Siegal’s honors geometry classroom encouarged her students to “BE BRAVE.” The words were surrounded by colorful paper flowers, each unique geometric shapes and sizes.

Keith Calkins, St. Thomas High School spokesman, said the school “is planning a full academic year.”

But he acknowledged, the possibility of changes to schedules, school facilities and events to ensure the health of everyone.

“St. Thomas pledges to build on the successes and lessons of the 2020-21 academic year, ensuring a safe environment — in the classroom and beyond — to offer the dynamic, welcoming and unique spirit that defines the St. Thomas experience,” he said.

At St. John XXIII College Preparatory in Katy, the school is moving forward with its 2021-2025 strategic plan, said Keith Myers, director of advancement.

Its board president, Bill Neeson, in a statement on the school’s website, said, “We know that history will remember this school year for the public health crisis, elections and social unrest, but those external factors will not define us at St. John XXIII College Preparatory.”

As the fourth wave of COVID-19 surged at the start of school, Catholic high school officials were continuing to monitor the Center for Disease Control and local health organizations’ recommendations in light of the Delta variant.