August 19th, 2011

Elementary Excellence: St. Bernard

Sarah Newell

CSN Staff Writer

Elementary Excellence: St. Bernard
photo by Sarah Menefee

New AD and President Share Goals, Friendship

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

St. Bernard Grade School Athletics offers families exceptional sports teams, facilities, and one of the best smoked barbeque sandwiches in the city, according to Athletic Director Ted Schiess.

“I’m very proud of St. Bernard. When people say they had the best bbq sandwich, I’ll say I know where you went, and nine times out of 10 they are talking about Bernard. It’s better than Bootleg, I’m actually looking forward to football starting to get the pulled pork,” said Schiess.

Schiess, who is in his first year as Athletic Director this upcoming season, will join longtime friend Kenny Zickel, in his first year with his new title of Booster President.

And addition to great concession stand items, Zickel added the atmosphere within the Wildcats’ campus is even more appetizing than the food itself.

“We are a community here that helps to get everything done. And with us working together (Schiess and Zickel) in new positions this year, we have years of service and experience with us here. There’s four or five us on board who are best friends, and that helps to get things done. If Ted calls, I’m going to do what he needs,” said Zickel.

While Schiess and Zickel have worked together for years, they have new ideas moving into the 2011-2012 school year.

“We are always talking about the peacebuilder mentality and importance of sportsmanship to the kids,” said Schiess. “We teach them to work as hard as you can in all you do. “ We want the athletes to learn team spirit, work together with a Catholic/Christian background, and once the game is over shake hands and say a prayer. “

Along with philosophy on sports, Zickel wants to continue working towards a “sports fee free” program for the students.

“In my first year as president, my goals aren’t really immediate. Dave (Secor, past AD and long time volunteer whom has helped build the facilities on campus), a couple years ago, had the goal to generate enough funds that our kids won’t have to pay sports fees. We want to get rid of them. They are the lowest in the city now, but we still want to remove them.”

St. Bernard, located off Tangelo Drive, is tucked away in a quiet neighborhood. Yet, once visitors get a hold of the facilities the athletic department has developed, excitement can be heard across the campus.

“We have been very lucky with our facilities,” said Zickel. “We’ve done fundraising, but we’ve had a lot of contributions.”

In the past five years, St. Bernard has created two new scoreboards, lights on the practice field, a football concession stand, pavilion, paving to the baseball field, a t-ball field, baseball press box/storage room and the conversion to Bermuda grass on the football field. 

And the school is still looking to do new improvements in the next year, including new bleachers on the field.

“The great thing about St. Bernard, everyone has their niche, putting time in is what I do, but others are busy, and they push money in,” said Schiess. “And some people have contacts, and they help that way. It’s an overall effort.”

St. Bernard’s athletic program has a list of successful sports including 2011 city champs in track, 2010 and 2011 8th grade boys soccer city champs, 2010 8th grade cheerleader national championships, and 2009 8th grade toy bowl champs.

And Schiess says he’s excited about the recently added sports and new opportunities to come.

“We’ve added field hockey, golf, and powder puff football in the last two years,” said Schiess. “We have nearly 300 students playing fall sports this year, and we want to add lacrosse as well.”

St. Bernard Wildcats are lining up for another school year. And as Schiess and Zickel look into new beginnings, they look back to their history to build success to come, as well as a trip to the consession stand for a bbq sandwich here or there.

Said Schiess: “It’s the friends here, we work together. If it’s Friday night or Saturday night and the kids aren’t playing in games, we are still going to get together. It’s a brotherhood.”





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