September 18th, 2012

Elementary Excellence: John Paul II Academy

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Conor Revell

Managing Editor

Elementary Excellence: John Paul II Academy
from Rosemary Sheehy

John Paul II Academy is in the spotlight

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

For more than twenty-five years John Frank has coached in the CSAA. Currently, he's the athletic director at John Paul II Academy. The students that attend John Paul II Academy come from the parish communities of St. Pius, St. Barnabas, and St. Bartholomew.

While many CSAA athletic directors' main goal is to get as many kids as possible in the athletic program, Frank believes there are more important things to devote his attention.

"I want to inspire our athletes to be the best that they can be," said Frank. "Ideally, the athlete will improve over the course of the season and make them strong leaders on and off the court."

"We want our student athletes to always have good sportsmanship, dedication to the sport, and their school," he continued. "I want them to learn skills, have fun, and to develop good work ethic. Sports is not just about scoring goals, running faster, (scoring) touchdowns and spiking the ball. It's also about life lessons and learning to be apart of a team. Those values will last them for a lifetime."

Last year, 295 students attended John Paul and just about every one of them participated in the athletic program. The participation rate is at an all time high for the school. Younger John Paul students also get the chance to to play sports even though they aren't old enough to participate in the CSAA.

"Practically every student from John Paul participates in at least one sport every year," said Frank. "We have introductory leagues in volleyball and basketball that we offer to K-2nd graders. Plus we host our own Tee Ball League for K-2."

The KHSAA will offer archery as a sanctioned sports for the first time this school year. Even though archery is not a CSAA sanctioned sport, a lot of catholic communities are beginning to offer archery to students in their parish.

"We are now offering archery to our students for the first time," explained Frank. "Here at John Paul, we are open to adding new sports as long as we have knowledgable coaches."

Last year three John Paul teams made it to the city championship game.

"We had two city champions last year," said Frank. "Our 8th grade No. 3 girls volleyball team and 8th grade No. 1 boys basketball teams we undefeated year. I'm also proud of our 6th grade No. 2 girls volleyball team who were runners-up. We also had several ribbon and medal winners in track and field."

"I am excited again this year," said Frank. "All of our teams are well coached and we have a lot of enthusiasm for the kids. It wouldn't surprise me if we brought home another city championship in volleyball, basketball or track. "

John Paul introduces their athletic teams to the community each fall. They also do a tug of war tournament between each of the grades. At the end of the event, they top if off with a bonfire.

"Every year we have our annual homecoming event where each of the grades competes in a tug of war tournament," said Frank. "We also introduce our volleyball and football teams to the community. Afterwards our 7th and 8th grade girls participate in a powder-puff football game. The 7th and 8th grade boys cheer for their respective grades. This is one of the funnest events we have at John Paul."

Frank comes from a long line of coaches and loves what he does. All of his older brothers coached at one time or another. John Paul Academy is his third stop in the coaching career.

"It is so rewarding to be a part of so many teams," said Frank. "I'm also thankful of my supporting cast that have helped me along the way. We have amazing parents and a great Booster Club who are willing to go the extra mile for the kids. That's why I stay involved. When things get tough, the question I ask myself, 'Is it best for the kids?' If yes, we go for it."


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