St. Joseph greets students (video)
Aug. 12, 2013 at 3:12 a.m.
Morning dew slipped onto the ground as Bruce Eaves plopped his backpack into the trunk of his 2012 black Chevrolet Impala.
Through his dark Costa sunglasses, Bruce, 16, veered his eyes to the rearview mirror to check for oncoming traffic.
Two blocks later, he arrived at his destination - St. Joseph High School.
Bruce lives less than a whisper away from campus, but this was a milestone the junior didn't want to miss.
It was Bruce's first time driving himself to school.
"I really like the freedom of having a car, especially coming to school," Bruce said. "And it'll make it a lot easier to make it to soccer practice, too."
St. Joseph High School greeted about 314 students on its first day of school.
Wearing a gold paisley tie and a dark suit, Principal Bill McArdle greeted 80 new freshmen to campus Monday morning.
With the new school year came an increase in tuition. A full year's tuition at St. Joseph is $9,100 this year, up from $8,750 last year.
"Tuition normally rises with inflation on an annual basis," McArdle said. "We try to make sure it doesn't go way up over a short period of time."
The 28-teacher campus offers its students weekly Mass, advanced placement and dual-credit courses, 16 clubs and activities and about 20 athletic programs.
About 98 percent of the student body participated in extracurricular activities last year, according to the school.
And this year, students traveling to competitive events can do their homework on two of St. Joseph's new buses.
From above each seat, students will be able to turn on a light they can use to see their notes in the dark.
"We want to make sure our students keep up with their work even if they're away on a school trip," McArdle said.
The college readiness bar is set high at St. Joseph, with an almost 100 percent college admission rate.
And 65 percent of its 2012 graduates chose to attend a four-year university while the remainder enrolled at a two-year college or post-secondary program.
McArdle said he remembers the days of when a student had to be Catholic to attend a Catholic school.
At St. Joseph last year, 37 percent of its students were of other faiths.
Bruce, a Methodist, is one of the 37 percent.
Bruce and his older sister, Sarah Eaves, a recent St. Joseph graduate who is attending Texas A&M University this fall, were moved into private Catholic schools by their mother while Sarah was in middle school.
Their mother, Julie Bauknight, said she chose to move her two oldest children to private school because she felt they would be happier in a more structured setting.
Her youngest two children are in public schools.
Bruce said he enjoys the competitive nature of St. Joseph's campus.
"The atmosphere is oriented around behavior and respect," Bruce said. "All the teachers want you to learn and behave well in class."
After getting his class schedule from the campus secretary, the junior made his way to his first-period class.
Bruce took a front-row seat in English III and looked up at the teacher.
Ready for class.