2016: The Year in Review

2016 was a time of transition and growth for Saint John's.

Students, alumni, faculty, families....thank you for making 2016 memorable for the Saint John's High School community!

The year started with the announcement of Headmaster Michael Welch's successor - Mr. Alex Zequeira. The 17th headmaster of Saint John's High School came to the school from Nativity School of Worcester and began his work of getting to know the SJ community immediately. As a current parent and longtime educational partner of Saint John's, Mr. Zequeira was eager about hitting the ground running with his new Pioneer family, meeting thousands of students, alumni and families throughout the spring, summer, and fall. His term officially began on July 1, 2016. Read more about Headmaster Alex Zequeira.

Mass of the Holy Spirit & Installation of Alex Zequeira:

Mass of the Holy Spirit 2016

Meanwhile, dozens of clubs and classes continued their hard work, from Mock Trials to Model UN conferences and Chinese performances and language festivals, and the 2nd annual Business Plan Pitch Day to the 26th annual Young Writers Conference.

National Honor Society Induction 2016

A new class of students joined the Bro. Campion chapter of the National Honor Society in the fall.

Exploring The Road to Character and Faith in the Family

The Abdella Center for Ethics had a very full year, beginning with David Brooks' visit in March and continuing in November with Professor Thomas Groome. In the midst of a challenging political climate, New York Times columnist and NPR commentator David Brooks discussed the moral longing in each of us and the need to maintain moral balance in leadership and decision making. Boston College professor Thomas Groome addressed an overflow audience in the new Robert R. Jay Performing Arts Center, engaging students and their families on teaching faith at home.

David Brooks - 14th Abdella Center for Ethics Lecture

A year of service

Central to the life of a Saint John's student is the concept and practice of serving others with one's unique gifts and talents. Campus Ministry provided countless opportunities for service work near and far in 2016, from weekly tutoring and food and toy drives to international community building and the 15th annual Day of Service. The Global Encounter program sent groups to Manchester, Providence, Worcester, Camden, New Jersey, Haiti, and West Virginia. Another generation of Pioneers learned that to lead is to serve.

The year in the Arts

With brand new, cutting edge performance and practice spaces, artists and performers have a new setting to cultivate their talents and passions. Three major productions - Private Lives, The Tempest, and Little Shop of Horrors - came to the stages of Saint John's in 2016. Several acoustic nights, recitals, services, and arts nights provided even more chances for students to show off their hard work and talent.

"The Tempest"

A year of breaking records

Because of generous community support, the Annual Fund rasied a remarkable $1,504,610 for financial aid, programming, and school operations. The Saint Francis Xavier Society Challenge was an integral part of the 2016 Fund, and its goal of $400,000 was reached by SFX-level donors and matched by two generous alumni.

A new initiative honoring Headmaster Michael Welch was introduced by alumnus Paul Salem '81: the Welch Scholars. This $1 million financial assistance program focuses on providing need-based tuition aid to middle-class families and families of lesser means.

In the fall, friend of the school Babs Donahue generously donated a new crew shell named "My Boys - Sam, Zach, Dion" to the SJ rowers as well as an angel statue to the campus.

Dedication of "My Boys" Crew Shell

The Inspire-Instill-Ignite Gala brought the community of parents, alumni, and friends together for a special night of recognition and celebration of the individuals who make Saint John's possible.

2016 "Inspire-Instill-Ignite" Gala

A year of alumni community

In addition to reunions for the classes ending in the '1s and '6s and a 50th celebration for 1966, alumni gathered all over the country, including Worcester, Boston, Florida, California, New York, Philadelphia, and Cape Cod. Tried and true Pioneer traditions like the annual Golf Classic, Golden Brunch, and Turkey Trot remained strong, new networking events for young alumni started in Boston, and alumni continue to drop by the school for a visit every week.

Students learning near and far

214 new alumni joined the long red line as the Class of 2016 celebrated graduation in May, and some new alumni continued to participate in learning and travel opportunities with their teachers, some to France and others to Costa Rica

Pioneerfest returned!

A favorite community event celebrating everyone who makes Saint John's what it is today returned to Main Street Shrewsbury with #PioneerFest2016. On a bright October day, Pioneerfest had games, football, food, activities, a wing-eating contest, and the debut of Johnny the Pioneer! 

PioneerFest 2016

A groundbreaking month of the school year came in the form of No Shave November for seniors and faculty. This month-off from the no-facial-hair dress code for seniors and faculty was conditional upon participants purchasing and wearing a lapel pin for the month of November to support cancer awareness, and all proceeds supported local and national causes St. John's Parish, St. Jude's, and the American Cancer Society

2016 at Saint John's wrapped up with holiday celebrations like Christmas Tree Lighting and Holiday Ensemble Concert, Thanksgiving Interfaith and Advent Prayer Services, and Founders Day Mass, when the school recognized 2016 Ryken Award winner Steve Stinson.

Thanksgiving Interfaith Prayer Service pictures: 
2016 Thanksgiving Interfaith Prayer Service

Kairos Retreat on Cape Cod:
Kairos Retreat

Student-athletes commit to colleges & universities:
NLI Signing Day

This year was filled with community celebrations, athletic achievements, impressive academics, inspiring performances, and new faces and leaders. Thank you to everyone who made 2016 a year to remember for Saint John's High School!