As a Catholic boarding and day school for young men, Saint Stanislaus High School prioritises character development. This is to further the school’s mission in forming each student to Gospel values by nurturing his spiritual, academic, and physical growth in a place of sanctuary structured to embody the charism of the Brothers of the Sacred Heart.
At Saint Stanislaus, the faculty are experienced and equipped to help bring the school’s mission to life. “I have a responsibility to all of the young men that I teach or coach to help mould them into men of character,” says Zach Villarrubia, STEM teacher and head varsity soccer coach who has been with the school for six years. “As teachers and coaches at Saint Stanislaus, we lead by example. We model the characteristics such as integrity, honesty, empathy, and resiliency that we want our young men to take with them as they graduate.”
The school’s guiding values include having an open heart, respect as well as compassion and trust. “Our academic and spiritual programme challenges our students while providing the support and guidance they need to discover their potential and develop skills to achieve personal and academic success,” says Nancy G. Artigues, Assistant Principal.
“We provide daily opportunities and structure for students to be accountable and responsible for their work. Daily assignments, homework, long-term research projects, collaborative small group activities, and formal and informal weekly assessments require students to organise, plan, and perform to fulfil their responsibilities to themselves and others.”
Villarrubia notes that outstanding teachers and coaches emphasise personal attention and growth to ensure students achieve their goals during and after high school. The stellar facilities contribute to that growth too. “The classrooms and Saint Stanislaus are modernised to accommodate all learning styles,” Villarrubia says. “The science labs, in particular, are outfitted with all the high-level resources to increase, not just the ability to learn, but the desire to learn.”
These facilities are key to the success of the school’s rigorous and diverse curriculum, challenging students and spurring intellectual growth. Learning here is all about the real world. Villarrubia mentions that his classroom features project-based learning and problem-solving. “My students must work collaboratively in order to develop solutions to real-world problems,” he says. “Students are exposed to the frustrations of trial and error, but learn to overcome through hard work and resiliency.”
As a STEM teacher, Villarrubia believes that the nature of the subject sets up a great foundation for character development. Students will learn collaboration, adaptability, resiliency, and self-confidence. Problem-solving is a key element for his classes, and students are often tasked to find solutions, such as a project creating an assisted living device. “It is a difficult task, and in order to create an outstanding product, they will go through a lot of trial and error,” he says. “Trial and error is the basis that teaches them aspects of adaptability, resiliency, and self-confidence.”
Saint Stanislaus students follow a robust science curriculum from grade seven, which exposes them to a series of topics that they can pursue in the future. From dissection to robotics, these take place in four well-equipped science labs: STEM and Physical Science, Biology, Chemistry, and Marine Science.
Saint Stanislaus’s Marine Science Programme is a particular highlight. The picturesque beachfront campus, adjacent to the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, is the ideal outdoor lab for the programme. This science elective includes fieldwork such as oyster gardening, beach cleanup/nurdle patrol, phytoplankton and water quality monitoring. The programme participates in studies that benefit larger organisations such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Mississippi Oyster Gardening Programme (MSOGP) and the Nurdle Patrol.
This not only shows students the potential impact they can make in this field, but also gives them insights into the local marine environment and sustainability practices that are good for the environment. “It is the ultimate hands-on and educational experience for those interested in the environment, marine conservation, marine biology or just as a casual observer of the world God has given us,” says Artigues.
When they’re not in the lab or exploring the world, Saint Stanislaus students are training to become athletes. “Our athletic programmes have a strong history of success,” says Villarrubia. “The success of the programmes is paved by the very clear expectations that are set for student-athletes in regards to values and behaviour that is expected of them. Each programme requires dedication and hard work both in the classroom and on the field.”
Athletics go a long way in forming men of character, and as such, the school’s coaches take great pride in the athletic programme and the overall success of their athletes. Sports plays a vital role in the education experience as it not only fosters accountability, responsibility, attention to detail, leadership skills and teamwork among students but also promotes community and a sense of belonging. “As coaches, we measure our success in the development of the character of our athletes and not just wins and losses,” explains Villarrubia. “Have our athletes left the programme more spiritually, academically and physically prepared for life after high school? Each athletic programme does this by demanding a high level of commitment, hard work, and service to the community.”
For more information about Saint Stanislaus High School, visit here.