(COVINGTON, La.) – The year 2014 was a year of many changes to the face of St. Paul’s School, as President Brother Ray Bulliard, FSC, said on Jan. 7, 2015, due to both campus facelifts and school regulation and curriculum changes. The Paper Wolf sat down with Brother Ray to review the year.
Q: When you look back on 2014 as a school, is it a year of progress to you? How do you look back on it?
A: I definitely think it was a year of progress. In athletics, we won a state championship in soccer, cross country, and a third straight championship in gymnastics, among other things. Academically, we were able to institute a brand new Gateway to Technology program on the eighth grade level, new AP classes, additional engineering and computer science classes, and we had six National Merit semi-finalists and three National Merit commended students. We haven’t had that in a long time. 2014 certainly was a year of progress, to say nothing that we broke ground on a new gym.
Q: When you see the immediate benefits that the new academic courses bring, do they convey to you a sense of true academic diversity at St. Paul’s?
A: One of the things I pride myself on is that St. Paul’s has a very broad range of academically able students. I don’t want someone to think they have to be a 99-percentile student to go to St. Paul’s, although we welcome 99-percentile students. But certainly, there’s a place for the student who just works hard and applies himself. I like the diversity we have academically and in our courses.
Q: When that diversity applies to all topics like it does at St. Paul’s, where anyone can come and find his niche, how does that measure up to the vision that St. John Baptist de La Salle had 300 years ago?
A: I think it fits perfectly with St. La Salle’s vision. He started his schools primarily for the poor, who were getting no education. The schools became so good, however, that the rich wanted to start coming to the schools, as well. St. La Salle said that was fine as long as they realized that everyone was going to be treated equally, and that everyone was going to be brother and sister to one another.
Q: How does our athletic prowess last year point to our success in the past and our continued success in the future?
A: When I speak to some of the alumni from years ago who had good athletic teams, they readily admit that our teams are much better than the ones we had years ago. That’s the way it should be. Every year should be better than the year before. Any time you take a step back, it’s not good. Next year, 2015, has to be better than 2014. 2014 was an advancement over 2013, and that’s not putting down 2013.
Q: With all of this advancement in athletics and academics in 2014, sometimes we can forget about the spiritual life here at St. Paul’s. How do you think we’ve furthered that mission in the past year?
A: The spiritual dimension has always been central to the Christian Brothers’ mission. St. La Salle wanted the schools to not only be excellent schools, but to be Christian schools and teach the beliefs of our faith. So, that’s always been there. But, I think the spiritual level today continues to deepen. We did not have a student body that could sing at mass 20 years ago like we do today. We did not have the availability of as much sacramental presence as we do now. We weren’t doing Eucharistic adoration on the first Friday of the month. The religion classes were only half credit courses compared to them being a full credit today.
Q: In the 1993 yearbook, you were quoted as saying, “The year will allow the families and faculties of St. Paul’s to grow academically, spiritually, and personally.” Do you think we’ve built on that since 1993 each year, even though we’ve had the same mission?
A: If we aren’t a better school than we were 20 years ago, I should’ve lost my job a long time ago. Every year needs to keep getting better. As much as I love 1993, as much as we were a wonderful, great school in 1993, we need to be an even better school in 2015.