February Parent Pride Newsletter 

Dear Joliet Catholic Academy Community,

I hope you are doing well and that everyone in your family is healthy and happy. I would like to start by answering some questions that I have been receiving about the school schedule and when we are going to go back to some normalcy regarding school activities. With the re-starting of JCA Athletics and the state easing some COVID restrictions, we start to feel hopeful for a sense of normalcy at school. With that being said, we still have to be cautious and follow the mandates of the Illinois State Board of Education and the Illinois Department of Health. We have followed their guidelines since day one, and we will continue to follow their recommendations until we can have everyone back for full day, every day in-person instruction. The State guidelines have and can change at a moment’s notice. I know it is easy to preach patience and personally, I get frustrated with the State on some decisions, but we must stay true to the course.

Please know, and this is very important, that we as a school, are doing our best to keep our students and faculty and staff healthy, while also wanting to return to school full time. I share the same frustrations as many of you with what our students are missing by not having a “normal” high school experience. Our faculty and staff, including coaches, are trying their best to give our students a wonderful high school experience each day. We have many activities planned for the near future along with what has already been accomplished. We will be celebrating Catholic Schools Week, Black History Month, and Spring Fling/Homecoming Week in this second semester. We are also always trying to have smaller events that will fit in the parameters of the COVID restrictions. A detailed list of events appears below in this newsletter.

Senior parents, we have already been planning for the end-of-school-year events such as Graduation and we will do our best to make these events memorable. 

I would like to commend our teachers and staff at this point for their work and full-time effort teaching the full curriculum and using their time to make sure that our students are challenged each day as if there were not increased demands placed upon them. The work of our faculty and staff is nothing short of remarkable!  

As we begin the month of February, we kick off Black History Month. In this edition of Parent Pride you will see a list of events that are planned to celebrate the month. Although we try to celebrate our diversity each day, we find this time to be a special chance at offering more for our students and community. We are also kicking off the month with Catholic Schools Week. I cannot think of two events that speak more to the uniqueness of our school.  

I would like to end with wishing everyone peace and good health as we continue to battle COVID, anxiety, and any other hardships that our families might be enduring. You will always be the heart of our school and I am grateful for all that you do to make our school special. 


Dr. Jeffrey Budz 
Joliet Catholic Academy - President/Principal
National Catholic Schools Week is an annual celebration of Catholic education in the United States in which schools focus on the value Catholic education provides to young people and its contributions to our church, communities, and nation. This year’s celebration takes place beginning the week of January 31 – February 6, 2021.
The theme is “Catholic Schools: Faith. Excellence. Service.”
Often times the decision to attend Catholic high school is made years before 8th grade, and it starts with families choosing Catholic education at the grade school level.
Joliet Catholic Academy is proud to partner with our local Catholic grade schools and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Joliet, ensuring that we continue the tradition of producing leaders in the Joliet area that follow the path of Christ.
In advance of National Catholic School’s week, we’d like to share with you the competitive advantage of attending Catholic schools. Our number one goal as a Catholic college preparatory high school is NOT for our students to get into college…it’s to get into heaven. This belief has permeated throughout the JCA community as we celebrate over 150 years of Catholic education, and it continues today. Christ, and our Catholic beliefs, are at the center of every daily activity at JCA, and that leads to the excellence in academics, service, and extra-curricular activities.
Daily themes for National Catholic Schools Week include:
Sunday – Celebrating Your Parish
Catholic schools benefit all year long from the religious guidance, prayers and support parishes provide. Many parishes join in the National Catholic Schools Week celebration by devoting a Mass to Catholic education. Schools start the week by inviting parishioners and community members to parish-centered events and school open houses that feature their outstanding academic programs, religious education and service opportunities.
Monday – Celebrating Your Community
A central aspect of Catholic education is learning the importance of service to others. When students take part in service activities—both local and beyond—they demonstrate the values and faith they gain through their Catholic education and learn how to make the world a better place. When they observe how others serve the community, they gain an appreciation for how they can continue to serve others their entire lives.
Tuesday: Celebrating Your Students
Schools celebrate students during National Catholic Schools Week by planning enjoyable and meaningful activities for them and recognizing their accomplishments. They encourage students to reflect on the benefits of Catholic education and how the grounding in faith, knowledge and service it provides will help them throughout their lives.
Wednesday: Celebrating the Nation
On National Appreciation Day for Catholic Schools, students, families, educators and other Catholic school supporters communicate the value of Catholic education to government leaders. They share information with leaders on the significant contributions Catholic schools make to the nation and their role in preparing students to be good citizens. They pray for the nation and recognize all those who serve it.
Thursday: Celebrating Vocations
By focusing on faith, knowledge and service, Catholic schools prepare children to use their God-given talents to the fullest later in life. National Catholic Schools Week offers an opportunity for students to explore the many life paths that enable them to use their talents well in the service of God and others — by answering the call to a religious vocation, by nurturing a family through sacramental marriage, by volunteering in church activities and charities, and/or by pursuing a career that makes the world a better place.
Friday: Celebrating Faculty, Staff and Volunteers
On this day, schools will honor teachers and principals as well as administrators and staff who support them in their important work and thank the parents, grandparents, alumni, parishioners and school board members who provide volunteer service.
Saturday: Celebrating Families
Parents, guardians and other family members play a vital role in Catholic education. Not only do they volunteer at the school, they instill values and expectations for academic excellence in their children at home. We acknowledge the role of families in Catholic education and celebrate their contributions to the success of our schools on the last day of National Catholic Schools Week and all year long.
For more information on National Catholic Schools Week visit the National Catholic Educational Association’s website at https://www.ncea.org/CSW

February Events, Activities and Celebrations
Listen to announcements for more activities and details throughout the month.

Catholic Schools Week Feb. 1-5

 Monday – Tuesday

  • Catholic Schools Dress Down Day Support Catholic grade schools and Universities
  • Wear a Catholic Grade School, University or JCA shirt/sweatshirt.
  • Freshmen will receive their scapulars in homeroom –Campus Ministry will contact remote students.
  • College Madness Bracket Challenge (Counseling Dept.)

Wednesday – Wellness Check-in (Counseling Dept.)

Thursday – Friday

  • Catholic School and Senior Leadership Mass
  • Seniors may wear their Sunday Best – MUST follow school guidelines and no jeans- Remote students Campus Ministry will provide a link for mass
  • Seniors will be dismissed after Mass at 10:30 a.m. on Friday
  • College Hoops March Madness Bracket Challenge (Counseling Dept.)
Key and Leo Club sponsored
Operation Care Package
Feb 1-5 - Please donate self-care/hygiene items. See Mr. Burke for more details
Black History Month

Stay tuned during daily announcements and homeroom for facts about influential people and events as well as poetry readings! Presented by staff, students, and faculty.

  • Bulletin Board and school hallway quote and Black history facts decorations
  • Feb. 2- “Healing Racism and the Urgency of Now”, Tuesday, 2/1 at 6pm (Zoom). FREE presentation to engage and elevate community understanding and healing of racial and social inequities. Contact Ms. Cameron for details. 
  • Anti-Racism Workshop
  • February 11 & 12- Dancin’ Around Dance Studio dance performance (virtually in homerooms).
  • Feb. 17 - Rhythm & Revolution Black History month event-hosted online by Stax Music Academy an online concert featuring music of Aretha Franklin, Al Green, The Jackson 5, jazz, original music by SMA students, and spoken word. Limited tickets available, contact Ms. Cameron
  • ACDC will have various staff/faculty record short lessons on a less well-known Black American and talk about their contribution to American history.
  • Black poetry/Black facts during daily announcements.
  • Virtual movie night
  • Newsletter out to JCA community with historical facts, recipes, and list of Black owned businesses in the area
  • Alum Maya Akai (SFA '90) is going to do a special edition of her podcast MAYA (My Ambition, Your Ambition) just for JCA students and Black History Month. **
  • Dancin’ Around Dance Studio dance performance (virtual)
Senior Disney Week Feb 8-12
*This week is limited to SENIORS.

  • Dress Theme: Heroes/Villains
  • Lunch room: Monsters University Movie

  • Dress Theme: Disney Tourist (what would you wear to a Disney park)

  • Dress Theme: Inside Out – dress in color based on characters in movie
  • Lunch room: Seniors can order food and participate in activities
  • ·        Donuts and Hot Chocolate in the senior parking lot before school
Blood Drive

  • JCA will host a life-saving blood drive on February 24. 

Clubs and Organizations to check out!

  • Habitat for Humanity Club. Holds meeting in the chapel after school and online. Contact Fr. Nepi

"OPERATION TAKE OUT" is off to a new round! 

Organized by the JCA Habitat Club in cooperation with Will County Habitat for Humanity, we want to provide HOPE to local alumni owned restaurants.
The purchase of a meal is more than just a dinner. Let's come together as a community, support our restaurants and provide HOPE to the alumni and their employees.

Upcoming Take-Out Options:

  • -Shorewood Chicken N Spice- Thursday, January 28
  • The Dock at Inwood- Thursday, February 4
  • -The Jacob Henry Mansion- Thursday, February 18

Place your orders today!

February Drama Club Events
Subject to change due to CDC guidelines and copyrights.

  • The JCA Improv team will be meeting on Thursdays after school at 3pm in Mrs. Jasper’s room (100). If you like to perform, write comedy, or just check out what all the laughter is about…Come on out. All are welcome. If you cannot be here in person, please email Mrs. Jasper and she will get you all the information. jjasper@jca-online.org 

  • Drama Club meets virtually to discuss upcoming workshops, performances, and distribution for the Radio Show see Ms. Szynal for details

February 7 – Spring Production Informational Video posted in teams.
February 15 - Spring Production Audition Submissions are due by midnight. Details regarding the production and auditions will be posted in the JCA Drama Club Teams Page.
February 19 – Drama Club Meeting and Workshop (In Teams)
February 20 – Spring Production Cast List is Announced
February 23 – Spring Production Rehearsals Begin. They will be on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays from 3 – 5 and follow our Hybrid Model. The production will be recording in late April and streamed in May.
February 24 – Drama Club Meeting and Workshop (In Teams)

  • Respect Life Club meets monthly – see Fr. Jeff for details

  • The French Club -Mardi Gras party on Feb. 16 after school, contact Mrs. Austrums for more information.

  • National Honor Society Tutoring – reach out to Fr Nepi for more information.
Help others and Share your talents

  • Student Council invites all students to create Valentine’s Day cards for senior citizens in our community. Students can receive credit for service hours for this project. Cards are due by Friday, Feb. 5th. See Mrs. Pullara for details.

  • 41-88 is currently hosting a WRITING CONTEST! The theme this year is: A Door in the Woods. Write anything: short story, poem, fan fiction, etc. that fits under that theme and submit to Mrs. Bush or Mrs. Stoiber! The Contest ends February 14th. 1st and 2nd place will be awarded. All submissions are read anonymously before the judges vote on the pieces, and winners will be featured in the magazine this spring.

School News

  • Watch WJCA every Friday to catch up on what is going on around campus.
  • The Victory View will be released by March 1. Watch for the lighthearted/funny theme to keep people smiling despite this weird year!
  • As always listen to or read the posted Daily Announcements for events going on at school.
Important Information from the Health Office
NEW state law REQUIRES ALL students to have a dental exam on file. Freshman who do not provide a dental exam by MAY 15, 2020 will have their final semester grade HELD!
COVID-19 information:
  • Complete the self-certification check-list for your student(s) prior to sending them to school.
  • Do not send your student to school if they do not pass the self-certification checklist
  • Call the Dean’s office to report your student’s absence AND include symptoms.
  • Refer to JCA’s online return to learning plan for updates, which can found under the “Parents” tab, then click on “Health Office.”
Please continue to follow social distancing guidelines. Remember that JCA follows the IDPH guidelines for school exclusion. Information can be found at https://www.isbe.net/Documents/IDPH-COVID19-Exclusion-Decison-Tree.pdf. Any student with any of the following symptoms will be asked to follow the appropriate guidelines to return to school, fever (100.4) or higher, new onset of moderate to severe headache, shortness of breath, new cough, sore throat, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain from unknown cause, new congestion/runny nose, new loss of smell or taste, nausea, fatigue from unknown cause, muscle or body aches. 
February is Heart Awareness Month.

Here are some tips for maintaining a healthy heart:
  • Stay active. Get moving for at least 30 minutes/day
  • Eat smart.  Avoid foods high in saturated and trans fats, cholesterol, salt and added sugars. Limit “junk” food. Include in your diet, more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products. Along with lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts.
  • Strength training.  Tones muscles and burn fat.
  • Stress less. Reduce stress by practicing positive self-talk, and incorporating mindfulness and meditation breaks throughout the day.
  • Sleep. Get ample sleep. For ages 13-17 years old the recommended amount of sleep is 8-10 hours/night. Adults 7-9 hours/night.
  • Avoid. Alcohol and tobacco products
  • Routine dental exams. Get those exams done and into the health office asap!

All Students

Students are not allowed to have medications (over the counter, homeopathic or prescriptive) on their being, in their locker or lunches or in their backpacks, except for emergency medications that have a Medication Administration Authorization (MAA) on file in the Health Office. Students are allowed medications to be kept in the Health Office with a MAA. Please see the Medication in School Policy which can be found on the JCA web site.
Health Office Hours while students are in attendance

Monday, Tuesday & Thursday, Friday 8:00 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
During school breaks voicemails and emails are checked weekly.
815-741-0500 Ext 275, 815-741-3015 fax, nurse@jca-online.org
Course Selection for the
2021-2022 School Year
Course selection information for the 2021-2022 school year has been distributed. Students will be instructed to bring the completed course selection form home for a parent signature before returning the form to their homeroom teacher by Friday, February 26th.
Fully remote students should pick up their registration information from the Dean’s office when they come in for drug testing. Fully remote students who were tested prior to February should pick up their registration information by Friday, February 19th.
The non-refundable registration fee of $300 will be included on the March tuition statement: $100 is applied toward the first tuition payment and $200 is applied to activity costs, which include student admission to all regular season home athletic events, student ID, yearbook, student newspaper, administrative and counseling testing programs, student schedules, student records, and counseling services.

The $300 registration fee is non-refundable. Therefore, if your student will not be attending JCA next year, please notify the Business Office immediately so as not to incur the added expense.

JCA is pleased to partner with Versiti for our annual Blood Drive. The need for life saving blood never takes a break and we hope that our JCA families will become donors this year. 

We are determined to reach our goal of 60 donors! Donors must be 16 years of age or older. Please share this opportunity with everyone you know: extended family, your workplace, and friends. 

Wednesday, February 24, 2021
2 p.m. to 6 p.m. 

Joliet Catholic Academy – Student Activity Center (Ingalls Avenue) ~ Versiti will use two Coach busses as mobile donation units; your safety is their #1 priority!

Appointments are required: 

Questions about donating? Pandemic-related donation questions? Antibody testing? Read all about it using this link: https://www.versiti.org/faq/blood-donation-faq.  

Thank you for helping our community!
This past September, the JCA community was devastated upon hearing of the loss of recent graduate Zyane Williams '20 in an automobile accident.

"Zy", as she was known throughout the JCA community, was a shining light in the hallways at 1200 N. Larkin, and despite the challenges of losing her mother late in her high school career was flourishing as a freshman in college at Northern Illinois University. Zyane had recently completed the Young Visionaries College Prep Academy and was accepted by several universities and offered over $100,000 in scholarships. After touring several schools, Zyane felt at home at Northern Illinois University and proudly made the decision to become a NIU Husky majoring in Business Management where she was destined to soar. Zyane's older brother, ZeVeyon Furcron, is a 2016 JCA graduate, and current member of the Southern Illinois University football team.

JCA English teacher Dr. Maria Fischer said, "The loss of Zyane Williams ’20 was a tough one for several of us in the JCA family. We supported her when her mom passed, pursued scholarships to keep her at JCA, checked up on her school work and her mental health, tracked down the latest address for her senior yard sign as she had to move from family home to family home, and simply loved her. She will be missed."

Fischer added, "But I’ve learned you get bitter or you get better. John Horn (JCA Director of Development) has explained the ins and outs of establishing a memorial scholarship for 8th grade African American girls who choose JCA. I feel this will not only honor Zyane’s memory, but give another young lady the strength and support to be a part of the JCA family. We would like to start collecting funds from our JCA family before we reach out to the community. "

If you would like to make a donation, please see Dr. Fischer in room 107 or contact John Horn in the Development Office. They will hold all the funds until the scholarship goes public.

Update: This fall, JCA students, families, and friends sold Zyane Williams Memorial Scholarship t-shirts, which helped provide the seed money to endow a scholarship in Zyane's name. The scholarship will be featured in the upcoming edition of the JCA Tradition Magazine for Alumni and Friends. In the meantime, parents or families interested in donating can contact. Mrs. Fischer or Mr. Horn as state above, or follow the below Annual Appeal link and specify "Zyane Williams Memorial Scholarship" in the "Other Designation" box for the donation.

Quest Food Management Services Inc. provides food services for your student at Joliet Catholic Academy. Quest believes the variety of food, cuisine, and dining experience students have available to them shouldn’t stop at the doors of their school. That’s why Quest offers a program based on cooking fresh food from scratch, assembled-to-order menu options, healthy choices that are flavorful and appealing, and offering an inviting dining experience for all.