Monday, August 30, 2010

Coach Tolbert to Move from St. Bernard

St. Bernard Prep School confirmed that Coach James Tolbert will be moving from the private school in order to pursue other career opportunities. The move comes in the wake of the school’s decision to discontinue its football program.

“When I asked Coach Tolbert to join our staff, we were hoping to improve the fortunes of our football program,” said Fr. Marcus Voss, President. “However, we could not muster enough support to form a viable team and have had to discontinue the program for the foreseeable future.”

Coach Tolbert initiated the football in 2001. After being away from the campus for seven years, he returned in 2009 to take the helm again. Despite his leadership, the program was unable to build momentum.

“I wish Coach Tolbert well as he looks to the future,” said Fr. Marcus. “Though we have had to discontinue football, I look forward to the success of our other athletic programs.”

Monday, August 23, 2010

Saint Bernard graduate in movie

A Saint Bernard Prep graduate is set to hit the big screen in theatres everywhere this weekend. John Wright, Jr. (PS ’45-JC48) of Birmingham, Alabama landed a supporting role in an Eli Roth horror film, "The Last Exorcism" to be released in theatres by Lionsgate on August 27. Wright plays the father of the lead character, Patrick Fabian, who both play evangelical preachers.

In a facebook wall post at Wright sends a friendly warning that even though the movie is rated PG-13 it has scary scenes, but I am the grey-haired actor who plays the lead actor’s father.

Wright said, “When I go, I’ll most likely close my eyes for the scary scenes!”

Thursday, August 19, 2010

SBP students exceed National Test Scores

St. Bernard Prep School reported the graduating seniors of the class of 2010 exceeded the state and national averages on the ACT exam. School Counselor, Barbara Rasplika said she was very pleased with the scores. “Because St. Bernard gives such a high priority to academic excellence,” Rasplika said, “our students traditionally do well on these national exams. Our faculty and students are to be commended for doing such an excellent job.”

A benchmark score is the minimum score needed on and ACT subject-area test to indicate a 50% chance of obtaining a B or higher or about 75% chance of obtaining a C or higher in the corresponding credit-bearing college courses. Included are English Composition, Algebra, Social Science and Biology. Rasplika reported that “in every category, St. Bernard exceeded the national and state averages.”

“At a time when many schools are having to curtail their programs because of funding issues, St. Bernard is making every effort to expand its academic offerings and give students the best possible learning environment,” said Fr. Marcus Voss, President of the school. “Our average student-teacher ratio is 8-1, which means our students get a lot of attention in the classroom. Their success on national exams is yet another indicator of the integrity of our program.”

“Last year we graduated 23 seniors which is a small class even by our standards,” Fr. Marcus continued. “Yet, those seniors earned over $3 million in scholarships to college. This year we have gotten off to another excellent start in our academic program and I look forward to seeing the same success this year and for the years to come.”

St. Bernard Prep is a co-ed college preparatory, boarding school for grades 7-12. Anyone interested in visiting should contact the school 256-739-6682 (ext 7128) or visit our website at

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

SBP student to host benefit

Jerrica Crawford, a sophomore at St. Bernard Preparatory School, will be hosting a spaghetti luncheon at St. Paul’s Lutheran Auditorium in Cullman, Alabama on Sunday, August 22, 2010 to benefit the Children’s Hospital Burn unit in Birmingham, Alabama.

At St. Bernard all students are required to earn ten hours of community service each semester. Jerrica said after giving this much thought it was like a voice inside her head reminded her of a relatives experience at Children’s. “My cousin was seriously burned nineteen years ago when at the age of two she stuck her hand into a wall heater and was burned by the pilot light,” commented Jerrica.

Though Jerrica wasn’t born and her only knowledge comes from photographs and scars on her cousin, she understands the compassion shown to these children who are in a great deal of pain.

“Sometimes we forget the little things that matter,” Crawford said. All proceeds raised from the spaghetti supper will go toward the activity room at the hospital. Every dollar raised will be matched by Thrivent Financial for Lutherans.

Jerrica is thrilled as the excitement builds for Sunday’s event. Smiling she said, “Everyone has been so supportive of this project. I appreciate all the donations and time from my amazing friends and family.”

The luncheon of spaghetti, garlic bread, salad and dessert is being prepared by Bob Howell, Don Warnke, ladies of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, and family members. Lunch donations will be accepted from noon until 2 p.m. to purchase new arts, crafts, games and toys for the activity room on the Children’s Hospital burn unit floor.

Entertainment will be provided by The Suzuki Strings of Alabama, directed by Mrs. Penney Adair.

Jerrica is the daughter of Marty and Sherri Crawford. She invites everyone to join her on Sunday, August 22 from noon until 2 p.m. in her efforts to ease the pain for children struggling with burns.

SBP students assigned responsibilities

SBP Headmaster, Fr. Joel Martin, called a special assembly with faculty and students at St. Bernard Preparatory School earlier this week to address the students on the topic of personal responsibilities, academic achievement and moral development.

For beginners, the Benedictine headmaster read a section of the school’s philosophy statement to students in attendance: …”students…will learn to discipline themselves so that eventually others will not have to do so…” Fr. Joel reminded students that it is all a matter of growing up!

One hundred and sixteen high school students have had a week to acclimate to their new environment. Students were encouraged to be in contact with the guidance office about making arrangements for travelling to take the ACT, SAT, or TOFUL exams. Students are expected to be prompt in attendance, and to keep track of their textbooks and personal belongings.

Mr. John Tekulve, Assistant Headmaster, addressed the uniform code stating students are expected to look their best by wearing single colored black or dark brown shoes while clothed in their school uniform of white shirts with plaid skirts or khaki pants for girls and khaki pants for boys which are purchased from a uniform company.

Tekulve reminded students to make sure their shirts are ironed, buttoned, and tails tucked, and urged them to be especially attentive to their appearance at Mass and other prayers. “We know God doesn’t care what we look like, but it’s respect and what we think of God that matters,” Tekulve said.

In closing, Fr. Joel reminded students of several requirements: first, presence in class is expected of all, and unexcused absences will result in Saturday school make-up work. Second, “Your parents have made a great sacrifice to send you to St. Bernard. The principal focus here is academic responsibility.” Then pass-play rule set for athletes by the Alabama High School Athletic Association was explained, and the further academic expectations set by St. Bernard for all students. Students who fail a core course are allowed to make that coursework up in summer school for athletic eligibility, however, St. Bernard Prep still requires that the course be taken again at St. Bernard.

St. Bernard Prep is a co-ed day and boarding school operated by the Benedictine monks at St. Bernard Abbey for grades 7-12. For more information phone (256)739-6682 or visit

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

St. Bernard begins new school year

St. Bernard Preparatory School started its 119th year on Monday, August 9, with Fr. Joel Martin, Headmaster, welcoming students, faculty, and staff to the new academic year. In his opening remarks, he recognized the many changes that have taken place since last school year.

Mr. John Tekulve, will be assisting at the high school this year as Assistant to the Headmaster, while Mr. William Calvert will be holding that position in the middle school. New faculty members include Mrs. Delila Fox, returning to teach mathematics at St. Bernard after a few years sabbatical, and Mr. Stephen Calvert at the Middle School. Dr. Donna Bryant’s new position as Admissions Director was also announced.
In addition to staff and faculty changes, several renovations have taken place around the campus, including upgrades to both the boys’ and girls’ dormitories and the administration building. New text books are already being used and an upgrade in technology is being planned for the first semester.

“St. Bernard is blessed with a number of students from all over the United States, including territories such as Puerto Rico as well as a number of international students hailing from Korea, Mexico, and China,’ said Fr. Joel. “This diversity of background, nationality, religion and culture is part of what makes St. Bernard so special, preparing our students for the global society in which we live.” St. Bernard boasts a student/faculty ratio of 8:1, which enables teachers to give one-on-one attention to students, thus ensuring each student’s success.

During the assembly, the leaders of the Student Council were introduced. Justin Michael Varquez, the Student Council President, welcomed his fellow students to the new year and encouraged them to be involved in all the activities that are planned.
Ms. Katie Hawkins, SBPS Spanish Teacher, spoke of the Mentor Program for St. Bernard this year. She recognized those students who were mentoring new students, and encouraged all to help each other. The work of the mentors was already present as one walked up and down the hallways, spotting notes of encouragement left on the lockers of new students.

Abbot Cletus Meagher, O.S.B., the Abbot of St. Bernard, reminded the students of their wonderful opportunities at St. Bernard, emphasizing that St. Bernard has a long tradition of educational excellence in a Christian environment. He recognized the valuable contributions of alumni which enable St. Bernard to develop and continue in its mission of providing a Christian education.

As Chaplain, Fr. Bede Marcy led first the faculty and staff, and then the students in their “Renewal of Commitment to Education and Formation.” Abbot Cletus brought the assembly to a close with prayer and words of encouragement to excel in every way during the coming year.

Middle School greets new faces

Seventh grade began a day of first for twenty-one students at St. Bernard Middle School, and one new faculty member. Stephen Calvert began his first day for the 2010-11 academic year with his first teaching position at St. Bernard Middle School. Calvert is serving as 7th grade math and 8th grade Algebra and Pre-Algebra, and literature teacher.

Having been public schooled all of his life, he began the first day of his private school career with a day of opening prayer, blessings, the pledge of allegiance and singing God Bless America with the entire Middle School community.

In the classroom he addressed the class as though he had been teaching for years by introducing himself and covering his syllabus. “In seventh grade math, we are basically trying to set things up for Algebra,” he said to his class of ten students. “The more math you do, the better you get.”

His expectations left nothing unturned. Calvert instructed, “I expect you to be punctual, prepared, respectful, and able to follow instructions, as well as to complete all assignments.”

Calvert said everyone has a different way of doing things, and encouraged the students to share their ways of doing math with the class.

Getting to know the students was important too. Each student was asked to introduce themselves to the class by standing and sharing information about their summer. “It’s always interesting what you discover about students,” Calvert said smiling. “Some went to the gulf and experienced the oil spill; some played baseball; one did barrel racing, one did gymnastics, several visited relatives within the states, and some just played video games.”

Calvert is looking forward to his first year at St. Bernard. St. Bernard Middle School enrolled thirty-nine students for grades 7-8, and is awaiting the arrival of another seventh grade international student from Korea this week.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Summer improvements completed at St. Bernard Prep

Alumni and friends of St. Bernard have enhanced the looks of the dormitories at St. Bernard Prep in Cullman through their benevolence with the Summer Improvement Campaign. School President, Fr. Marcus Voss, OSB reported the campaign has allowed several enhancements to be made in both dorm facilities on campus. Resident students at St. Bernard Prep will find many surprises when arriving on campus Sunday to begin the 2010-11 academic years.

The girl’s dorm received new light fixtures, mattresses, and showers while three administrative offices in the Administration Building were restored, as well as the basement floor.

In addition to new mattresses, Benedict East (boy’s dorm) received a number of enhancements as well. All wooden floors were restored, and the beds refinished.

Both dorm recreation rooms received new furniture and 42” flat screen televisions. “Seeing students enjoying their new home environment at St. Bernard Prep is important to us,” Voss said. “Our alumni support through the Summer Improvement Campaign and community support of our Bloomin’ Festival has been a blessing to the program.”

Fr. Marcus said restoration of three administrative offices in the Administration Building have been made as well. The school will be moving toward advances in the technology field soon by placing smart boards in the middle school and high school.

St. Bernard is expecting more than 120 students to enroll in the high school and 36 students for the middle school. St. Bernard Prep is a day and boarding school for students in grades 7-12. Anyone interested in more information should contact the school by calling (256)739-6682 or

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Glasscock breaks records for Swim Team

Rising sophmore Bennett Glasscock won 5 gold medals this past weekend at the 2010 ARPA State Swim Meet. 1500 swimmers from across Alabama qualified and competed in the meet in Valley, Alabama. Bennett was District and State champion in Freestyle, Backstroke and Butterfly. His 13-14 boys relay also won gold the medley and freestyle relays.

Bennett broke every 13-14 boys record for Cullman Swim Team. He started the summer attending the University of Texas, Longhorn Swim Camp, coached by Olympic and NCAA Champions, Eddie Reese. Other high points of the competitive summer were winning 5 gold medals at the Tennessee Valley Championships.

He will be representing St. Bernard Prep School this year in ASHAA swimming. Bennett is the son of Carson and Wendy Glasscock.