January 17, 2023

Dear Saint Joe Community,

Since 1953, Saint Joseph High School has played a significant role in the lives of many in our community. Through its mission to transform students in heart and mind to serve God, the Church, and the world, Saint Joe has provided an exceptional faith-based education to generations. Meaningful extracurricular experiences have been an integral part of the Saint Joe tradition, leading to feelings of intense pride for our teams and school.

A commitment to excellence requires self-assessment, reflection, and input as we ask important questions related to our mission. After research and discussion, the Saint Joe School Board voted favorably to begin a process to evaluate our nickname. The principal accepted this recommendation. 

Thus, the school board, in conjunction with administration, has formed a committee to explore whether Saint Joseph High School should keep or change the nickname of Indians. The process will incorporate opportunities for input from the entire Saint Joe community - students, alumni, faculty/staff, and parents. The committee will engage in this work from now through May, and will make a recommendation to the school board and the principal at the conclusion of the process. If a decision to change the nickname is made, then a second phase to choose a new nickname and mascot will take place.     

The 13-member School Nickname Evaluation Committee (SNEC) consists of a representative sample of the Saint Joe community with alumni ranging from 1960 to 2017, faculty, staff, coaches, parents, and current students. The committee will listen to and evaluate input from Saint Joe stakeholders and community partners, including leaders of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians. The committee will ask hard questions and engage in deep and thorough discussion prior to making a recommendation. A list of committee members is below.

The committee invites and encourages the Saint Joe community to participate in this process through town hall meetings and a survey. Two town hall meetings will take place in February. There will be an in-person town hall on February 15 at 6:00 p.m., and a virtual town hall on February 16 at 6:00 p.m. 

We value the great tradition of Saint Joe and the passion and love that our students, alumni, parents, and faculty/staff have for our school. Throughout this process we will seek God’s wisdom and guidance. Thus, we ask for your prayers and support. In the spirit of our core value Build Family, it is our hope that the process will foster unity and strength representative of our patron saint, St. Joseph.

Please feel free to contact the committee directly by emailing nickname@saintjoehigh.com. While the committee will read and account for every email received, it will not send individual replies. Additional information will be shared by the committee through monthly updates and via standard school communications. 

God Bless and Go Saint Joe!

John Kennedy, Principal
Maura Ratigan, School Board President
Adam Gill,'02, Chairperson, School Nickname Evaluation Committee

SJHS School Nickname Evaluation Committee
List includes name and affiliation to Saint Joseph High School

Henry Chandler,'67, alumni, parent, former teacher, current staff member
Ben Dillon,'86, alumni, current teacher
Maggie Dosch,'17, alumni
Angelica Duarte, parent, current staff member
Adam Gill,'02, Chairperson, alumni, School Board Vice-President
Lynn Goralczyk, parent, current teacher
Marty Harshman,'93, alumni, parent, former staff member and coach
Eric Horvath,'87, alumni, parent
Fr. Geoff Mooney, C.S.C., current school chaplain
Michael Ryan,'60, alumni, parent
Sydney (Smallbone) Storey,'07, alumni, former coach
Student #1, current student
Student #2, current student

Consulting (non-voting) Members
John Kennedy, Principal
David Maugel, Associate Superintendent, Diocese of FWSB
Maura Ratigan, School Board President
Saint Joseph High School
453 N Notre Dame Ave, South Bend, IN 46617
(574) 233-6137