JCS News

Press Release

Press Release Date: 9/07/21

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

JACKSON CATHOLIC SCHOOLS WELCOMES NEW DIRECTOR OF ENROLLMENT MANAGEMENT

Monday, September 7th – Jackson Catholic Schools

Jackson Catholic Schools is pleased to announce Dr. Lucian Leone as the new Director of Enrollment Management. In this newly created role, Leone will continue efforts to communicate the mission, vision, and core values of Jackson Catholic Schools to the school communities and externally to prospective students and parents, partner schools, parishes, and the Jackson community.

Born and raised in Southeast Michigan, Leone attended Catholic schools at St. Joan of Arc School in St. Clair Shores and Austin Catholic Preparatory High School in Detroit. He earned his Bachelor of Economics and German from the University of Michigan, an M.B.A. and Masters of International Commerce from Eastern Michigan University, and his Doctorate degree in Higher Education Administration from Michigan State University.

Previously, Leone has worked in marketing and sales in the private sector while also working the last 22 years in higher education at Lansing Community College, Ferris State University, Davenport University, and Southwestern Michigan College focusing primarily on admissions, recruitment, and marketing.

Leone is no stranger to the Diocese of Lansing, as he and his wife Bernadette are members of St. Thomas Aquinas in East Lansing. ”We are overjoyed that Lucian has joined the mission driven work at Jackson Catholic Schools. With a strong passion for Catholic education, we look forward to him supporting all our schools and letting the community know the wonderful opportunities that are available.” – Tim DeWitt

“I am excited and grateful for the opportunity to work for the Jackson Catholic Schools as the Director of Enrollment Management. My twelve years in Catholic education had a powerful positive impact on my life and my faith, and the same is true for my wife and children. I am looking forward to getting to know the staff and teachers at the Jackson Catholic schools, and the families in the Jackson community, as we work together to support the academic, spiritual, and personal development of our students.”- Dr. Lucian Leone

“In years that Mrs. DeWitt has partnered with Lumen Christi as St. John’s Youth Minister, she has already demonstrated a deep understanding of our most important work: that we lead our community to Christ with love, grace, and togetherness. She is a brilliant example of living her life as the Light of Christ and we know she is already lighting the candles of those around her. As we continue to focus on growing our Catholic culture, we are proud to introduce a full-time Campus Ministry role for the first time at Lumen Christi. As our new full-time Director of Campus Ministry, we are excited to see how Mrs. DeWitt continues to brighten our faith and community!” – Lumen Christi Principal, Stephanie Kristovic

Clare shares that she has “always had a love for people and hearing their stories. I’m so excited to be able to invest more deeply into the stories of our Lumen Christi staff and families this year and walk with them in their faith journeys.

Press Release

Press Release Date: 8/24/21

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

JACKSON CATHOLIC SCHOOLS WELCOME NEW DIRECTOR OF CAMPUS MINISTRY

Tuesday, August 24th – Jackson Catholic Schools

Jackson Catholic Schools is pleased to welcome Mrs. Clare DeWitt as the Director of Campus Ministry. With a passion to lead and help students encounter their faith in new ways, Clare will be assigned to the students at Lumen Christi Catholic School.

A native of Grand Rapids, Michigan, Clare became involved with youth ministry at an early age. The desire to be able to lead and hear other’s faith formations led her to pursue a Journalism and Communications degree from Albion College. After graduation, Clare became a member of the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship Campus Ministry team. For the past five years, she worked as the Coordinator of Youth Faith Formation at St. John the Evangelist Parish in Jackson, Michigan.

“In years that Mrs. DeWitt has partnered with Lumen Christi as St. John’s Youth Minister, she has already demonstrated a deep understanding of our most important work: that we lead our community to Christ with love, grace, and togetherness. She is a brilliant example of living her life as the Light of Christ and we know she is already lighting the candles of those around her. As we continue to focus on growing our Catholic culture, we are proud to introduce a full-time Campus Ministry role for the first time at Lumen Christi. As our new full-time Director of Campus Ministry, we are excited to see how Mrs. DeWitt continues to brighten our faith and community!” – Lumen Christi Principal, Stephanie Kristovic

Clare shares that she has “always had a love for people and hearing their stories. I’m so excited to be able to invest more deeply into the stories of our Lumen Christi staff and families this year and walk with them in their faith journeys.

Press Release

Press Release Date: 6/25/21

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

GIRLS ATHLETICS SCORES BIG WITH FOUR NEW COACHES

Jackson, MI, June 25, 2021 – Lumen Christi School

A new era is dawning for Lumen Christi female athletics. Titan Athletic Director, Jesse Brown, has brought in four new coaches to lead the softball, girls soccer, volleyball, and girls basketball programs in addition to hiring Michael Calderone as the girls tennis coach.

Brown states, “We are very blessed to have added Blake, Robert, Carson, Maureen, and Michael to our female athletics at Lumen Christi! They all bring great knowledge, passion and experience to our athletic department and more importantly to our female student athletes. Go Titans!”

Robert Wrozek, Head Varsity Softball Coach

A 1999 Lumen Christi graduate, Robert Wrozek brings coaching experience and passion for developing a program as the new varsity softball coach. After playing baseball for the Titans and also at Adrian College, Coach Wrozek has coached multiple levels of different sports including softball, baseball, basketball, and football. He played a large role at Jackson Southwest Little League and also helped begin the Michigan Brewnettes travel softball program. During the 2021 spring season, the Lady Titans showed growth from the beginning of the first practice to the last out in the district semi-finals.

“It is an honor to coach at Lumen Christi, and I plan to continue to build a program that is successful both on and off the field.” Coach Robert Wrozek

Blake Newman, Head Varsity Girls Soccer Coach

A 2016 Lumen Christi graduate, Blake Newman begins her coaching career right back at her alma mater. After playing four years of varsity soccer for the Titans, and two years for Jackson Rush soccer club, Coach Newman continued her academic and athletic career at Defiance College. At Defiance, she was a three year varsity captain, earned All-Conference honors in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference for two years, and is in the Top 10 for goals scored in a single season.

During the 2021 spring season, the Lady Titans continued the strong tradition of excellence placing in the top three in the I-8 conference and competing for a MHSAA district championship.

“After a year of coaching, I can honestly say that I never thought that I could love the sport more. Watching something you said or taught click with an athlete, seeing them light up after scoring a goal, making a save, or getting another shut out, the team growing together – amazing. Getting to come back and do all of that with a program I already cared so much about – priceless.” Coach Blake Newman

Carson Vestergaard, Head Varsity Volleyball Coach

Former Hartland High School volleyball standout and current Lumen Christi math teacher, Carson Vestergaard, will begin her varsity volleyball coaching career for the Titans during this fall. Coach Vestergaard continued her academics at Michigan State University and played club volleyball for the Spartans.

The 2021 fall season will mark Coach Vestergaard’s eighth year of coaching, which includes coaching the Lady Titan J.V. team during the 2020 fall season. Along with coaching summer camps throughout the state of Michigan, she coaches the 17U Elite team at Top Gun Volleyball Club out of Howell Previously, Coach Vestergaard coached a 14U Elite team through Michigan Volleyball Academy (Grand Rapids) and 12U to 15U national-level teams through Top GunVolleyball.

“This past Fall, I was the Junior Varsity Coach here at Lumen Christi, and am really excited and thankful for the opportunity to lead the program as the next Varsity coach. Building relationships with the kids as both students and athletes is really important to me, and I love being a part of the Jackson and Lumen community.” Coach Carson Vestergaard

Maureen Brown, Head Varsity Girls Basketball Coach

Former collegiate coach and current Director of Marketing and Advancement Services for Jackson Catholic Schools, Maureen Brown, will be walking the sidelines for the Titans this winter. Coach Brown brings over 15 years of coaching experience from the interscholastic and collegiate levels.

Prior to moving to Jackon, Coach Brown was the varsity girls basketball coach at Hackett Catholic Central High School in Kalamazoo and won a MHSAA District Championship in 2018.A majority of her coaching career has been with Kalamazoo Valley Community College where she served as an assistant coach for ten years before taking the head coach position in 2015. During her time as head coach, Brown led the Lady Cougars to two MCCAA State Championships, a NJCAA Regional Championship, and an appearance in the Elite 8 of the NJCAA National Championship. With an overall record of 58-6, she was named BCAM Junior College Coach of the Year, MCCAA Coach of the Year, and NJCAA District G Coach of the Year. In her two year span, Coach Brown coached eight NJCAA Academic All Americans, 17 MCCAA Academic All-Conference, one NJCAA Division II First Team All-American, one MCCAA Defensive Player of the Year, and helped eight young ladies continue their academic and basketball careers at NCAA and NAIA four year institutions.

“I am excited to take the helm of the Lady Titan basketball program, and look forward to building a strong program full of strong tradition and continued success for our female student-athletes.” Coach Maureen Brown

Press Release

Press Release Date: 6/04/21

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

ARTWORK BY LUMEN CHRISTI JUNIOR SELECTED FOR CONGRESSIONAL RECOGNITION

Jackson, MI, June 4, 2021 – Lumen Christi School

Each spring, the Congressional Institute sponsors a nationwide high school visual art competition to recognize and encourage artistic talent in the nation and in each congressional district.

Students submit entries to their representative’s office who select the winning entries. Congratulations to Lumen Christi junior Baileigh Clevenger who was chosen by Congressman Tim Walberg to have her artwork, The 9am Crowd, to be displayed in his office this year!

On Thursday, June 3rd, Lumen Christi welcomed Congressman Walberg and presented the artpiece to be taken to the 7th District of Michigan office in Downtown Jackson. Joining in the presentation was Ms. Sabrina Sarata from Roxy Cafe, the restaurant represented in the artwork. Roxy Cafe has been a staple in the Jackson Community for decades and is known for their amazing breakfast menu that is offered until 2:00 p.m.

The 9am Crowd will be on display in Jackson before being on display in Washington D.C. for a short time.

To learn more, visit our website: jacksoncatholicschools.org

Press Release

Press Release Date: 5/06/21

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

JACKSON CATHOLIC SCHOOLS SECURES GIFT OF $1,100,000

Jackson, MI, May 6, 2021 – Lumen Christi School is overjoyed to announce the gift of $1,100,000 from generous donor Donna Ambs. A substantial portion of this money will be used in the establishment of an endowed fund for Jackson Catholic Schools to attract and retain teachers across all four schools.

As a former Jackson Catholic School teacher, Donna was happy to give back to the very place that helped enrich her life for so many years. She believed the role of teacher was one of the noblest and most relevant professions in the world, and that it is vital that institutions like Jackson Catholic School be a welcome place for educators to build their careers and influence young lives.

A lifetime educator within the Jackson Catholic Schools, Donna was a 1958 graduate of St. Mary Star of the Sea, Jackson Community College, and Michigan State University. She then moved back to the area to become a high school business teacher. During her time as an educator, Donna was known for her refined disposition and high standards when it came to dress code, conduct, and personal standards with students. Her high expectations of others was tempered by a great sense of humor, for which she was also fondly remembered. When it opened in the fall of 1968, Donna was among the founding group of teachers at Lumen Christi High school. There, she taught Shorthand, Secretarial Block, and Typing classes. Donna was extremely dedicated to the mission of both Lumen Christi and Jackson Catholic Schools, which she exemplified effortlessly throughout her career, until her retirement in 1997.

About Jackson Catholic Schools:

The Jackson Catholic Schools is a formal district comprised of four Catholic schools (Lumen Christi Catholic School, St. Mary Star of the Sea Elementary, St. John the Evangelist Elementary, and Queen of the Miraculous Medal Elementary). This district is now working to further ignite Catholic education in the Jackson, MI area. Gifts such as this by Donna Ambs are crucial to our ability to accomplish our mission and continue to support family’s desire to educate their children in a school that promotes Catholic learning and academic excellence.

To learn more, visit our website: jacksoncatholicschools.org

Contact:

Charles Ludlow, Major Gifts & Alumni Officer, Jackson Catholic Schools

Phone: 517.787.0630

Email: cludlow@myjacs.org

Press Release

Press Release Date: 4/23/21

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Michael Calderone Hired as Lumen Christi Catholic School’s Girl’s Tennis Coach

Jackson, MI, April 21, 2021 – Lumen Christi Catholic School is proud to announce the hiring of former Mr. Tennis recipient and Titan alumni, Michael Calderone. Calderone attended Lumen Christi from 2003-2007 and excelled both in the classroom and on the tennis court. By the end of his senior season at Lumen Christi, he earned the honor of being named the 2007 Mr. Tennis award winner by the Michigan High School Tennis Coaches Association and Detroit Free Press. Upon graduation, Calderone went on to play NCAA Division 1 tennis at Western Michigan University. As a Bronco, he holds all men’s singles records, including the record for most career wins. Calderone served as a team captain, and earned All-MAC honors during his four-year collegiate career. To this day, he is the most decorated tennis player to come out of WMU.

Upon graduation from Western Michigan, Calderone pursued a professional tennis career, but found his true passion was in coaching and the mentoring of young people. This new passion led him to transition into Division I collegiate coaching as an assistant for the University of Nevada-Las Vegas Men’s Tennis program. After his time at UNLV, Calderone decided to move back to Jackson and has since become the premier private tennis coach in Jackson County.

“We are so blessed to have Michael Calderone re-join the Titan Athletic Department as the head coach of the girl’s tennis program!” Lumen Christi athletic director, Jesse Brown, CAA stated. “His ability to get the best out of the student-athletes and his knowledge of the game is a huge asset to our community. Go Titans!” Calderone’s new position at Lumen Christi fulfils a dream to be able to coach tennis and help kids realize their full potential, both on and off the tennis court. He is passionate about the mission of Lumen Christi and shares in our five core values which include: living faith, achieving excellence, developing character, being warm and welcoming, and promoting teamwork.

“I am so excited to return to Lumen! This school community means so much to me, both personally and professionally,” states Calderone. “This will be a great opportunity to further connect with the community and, hopefully, continue to improve our great tennis program.”

Contact:

Maureen Brown, Director of Marketing and Advancement Services, Jackson Catholic Schools

Phone: 517.787.0630

Email: mbrown@myjacs.org

Press Release

Press Release Date: 3/31/21

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:

Charles Ludlow, Major Gifts and Alumni Officer

Jackson Catholic Schools

Phone: 517.787.0630

Email: cludlow@myjacs.org

Gift of $1,000,000 Allows District to Create Scholarship for Tuition Assistance

Jackson, MI, March 31, 2021 – Jackson Catholic Schools gratefully announces Richard Neuenfeldt’s gift of $1,000,000. Through an endowed scholarship, this generous donation will allow families in need to attend Jackson Catholic Schools. Humanitarian and philanthropist, Mr. Neuenfeldt is fully dedicated to Jackson Catholic Schools’ mission of educating students of all faiths in a safe, nurturing, and Christ-centered environment, something in which he strongly believes.

“Given how strongly my own Catholic school education enriched my life, I wanted to give back to the academic community that helped shape me,” explained Neuenfeldt. “I grew up in St. Joan of Arc Parish, in St. Clair Shores, Michigan. While my sister was able to attend because they began an elementary school at the time, I began my Catholic education at grade 7 at St Joseph’s in Quebec. Upon graduating, I attended University of Detroit, where I majored in marketing. I spent one semester at Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit before embarking on a two-year draft, mostly in El Paso, Texas. From there, I entered the Jesuits at Grand Coteau, Louisiana in 1971. I eventually returned to work with my father in food manufacturing here in Jackson. The guidance that I received at these catholic schools was important for my growth. I was blessed with six years of boarding school prior to high school graduation, plus college and beyond.”

The Illuminate the Future Capital Campaign for Jackson Catholic Schools aims to raise $7 million, of which $5.2 million has already been committed, due to a second generous donation from philanthropist and Jackson business leader Alvin Glick. This money is being utilized for facility improvements at Lumen Christi Catholic School and to establish two endowments benefitting students and faculty across Jackson Catholic Schools. The current planned improvements to Lumen Christi are a complete renovation and facelift of science classrooms, ushering in an improved and state-of-the-art science curriculum, complete renovation of all classrooms utilized for general education complete with updated technology, and cooperative work spaces for students, and athletic facilities.

About Jackson Catholic Schools:

The Jackson Catholic Schools is a formal district comprised of four Catholic schools (Lumen Christi Catholic School, St. Mary Star of the Sea Elementary, St. John the Evangelist Elementary, and Queen of the Miraculous Medal Elementary). This district is now working to further ignite Catholic education in the Jackson, MI area. Gifts such as this by Mr. Neuenfeldt are crucial to our ability to accomplish our mission and continue to support family’s desire to educate their children in a school that promotes Catholic learning and academic excellence.

About Illuminate the Future:

Illuminate the Future is Jackson Catholic Schools’ response to address necessary, long-overdue capital improvements to the campus buildings of Lumen Christi Catholic School, and to grow the endowment funds to assist all of their schools with tuition assistance and faculty compensation. It is critical to the district’s long-term growth that they keep pace with the competition in their marketplace, continue programmatic growth, and grow their endowments. This major campaign, the first since Lumen Christi was built, is their response to over 600 recommendations of their community, alumni/ae, current and past parents, friends, and benefactors.

If you are interested in donating to Illuminate the Future, visit jacksoncatholicschools.org

Press Release

Press Release Date: 3/30/21

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

We are pleased to announce the launch of the Jackson Catholic Schools Community Hall of Fame on September 17, 2021 at the Lumen Christi vs. Marshall Football game, which will recognize the rich heritage and help preserve the great tradition of our outstanding athletic program and schools. With this endeavor, we hope to build stronger connections with alumni and supporters, attract new donors, and enrich the spirits of Jackson Catholic School students. In welcoming past people to our schools, we intend to forge new relationships with our current student body. Jackson Catholic Schools Community Hall of Fame will also highlight the success of our school system, in hopes of encouraging a sense of community among our students and teachers.

Jackson Catholic Schools has a rich tradition of having great people involved in our school system. Whether that be on the athletic fields, in the classrooms, in the community, or supporting any of the schools and their missions. We want to recognize the alumni, coaches, teachers, supporters, and community members who have had a positive impact on our school community (St. Johns High School, St Johns Elementary, Queens, St Mary’s High School, St. Mary’s School, JCMS, Lumen Christi).

To learn more about the Jackson Catholic Schools Community Hall of Fame, and to nominate people for induction, please visit our website:

https://www.jacksoncatholicschools.org/jcs-community-hall-of-fame/