May 27th, 2011

Elementary Excellence: Nativity Academy

Sarah Newell

CSN Staff Writer


Elementary Excellence: Nativity Academy
photo from Nativity Academy at St. Boniface

 Athletic program look to grow this school year

The following feature is a part of a weekly series called "Elementary Excellence" - a set of profiles that will spotlight Louisville area Catholic elementary schools and its athletic programs, teams, traditions and excellence in all aspects of sports. Do you want your school to be featured? Send us your recommendation to editor@catholicsportsnet.com.

Located in downtown Louisville, there is a small faith filled middle school putting their students on a pathway full of dreams for life.

From the educational programs to Catholic faith teachings to athletics, the Eagles of Nativity Academy at St. Boniface learn lessons that help them soar high for years to come.

“Our school was founded in 2003, and we started the athletic program in 2006,” said Athletic Director Bob Meyer. “Most of these kids, especially the girls, have never played a team sport. Sports and teams are important because it gives them a sense of pride and accomplishment. It also gives them a great way to burn up energy and find hidden talents.”

According to Meyer, “Nativity Academy at St. Boniface is part of the NativityMiguel System.”  The school services low end come children, mostly African American and Hispanic ethnicities.

“Most of the kids are on federal assistance lunch program.  Nativity Academy, serving the west end and Portland area, has only 60 students, and offers the Catholic curriculum to 6, 7 and 8th grades. While the school is not an Archdiocesan school, it participates within Archdiocese athletics,” said Meyer.

Meyer says his passion to volunteer with Nativity Academy comes from his own Catholic education and the Catholic education he helped instill for his own three sons.  He works with the athletic program to bring about a future of teamwork for the kids.

“Because we are a smaller school, the only team sport we play CSAA (on our own) is boy’s basketball,” said Meyer. “We are trying to develop the girls’ basketball. We do have individual sports such as track, swimming or tennis. We just put together a new affiliation with St. Stephen Martyr for team sports starting next school year 2011-2012.  The goal of our affiliation with St. Stephen Martyr is to offer opportunities for the students to try, play and learn sports they never knew existed.”

With Nativity Academy’s tireless dedication to student life and flourishing successes, there is excitement around the students moving on after grade school.

“The Graduation rate from high school in Jefferson County for African Americans is under 50%. Last year, 15 students that graduated 5 years ago from Nativity went onto high school, and 14 of the 15 of those guys graduated from high school.”

And with the Nativity Academy staff and volunteers giving back to those in the community, Meyer says keeping up with the students’ athletic careers after Nativity is a special part of the process.

“We had Josh Jordan graduate a year ago St. X. No one in his immediate family had graduated from high school, and he didn’t know what St. X was originally. Because of Nativity, he brought himself around and became a strong academic kid. He went onto Georgetown College with a football scholarship,” said Meyer.

Unfortunately, Nativity Academy at St. Boniface Grade School faces challenges with funding. Yet Meyer is hopeful regardless of the finances.

“We have limited resources,” said Meyer. “We are always looking for new volunteers and anyone is most welcome. The volunteers we do have are wonderful. For instance, our boys’ basketball coach is great and he helps out financially by paying for the players’ shoes and uniforms for the team. As far as facilities go, we have a small gym we use for basketball, but long term we would love to have a multiple purpose facility to be able to offer the kids other sports and activities on campus.”

And ultimately, Meyer wants to continue to help the students grow spiritually through Nativity Academy.

Said Meyer: “Through education, our hope is that these kids can break the cycle of poverty in their communities. And through sports, we can educate them as well. By participation, they can learn teamwork, pride in themselves and the school they represent.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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