The Corey C. Griffin Foundation has been honored to partner with Saint John Paul II Catholic Academy (SJP2CA) to provide scholarships and help support different education initiatives at the school.
With the school year starting, we spoke with SJP2CA Principal Lisa Warshafsky about the upcoming school year, what differentiates SJP2CA, and the partnership between the school and the Corey C. Griffin Foundation.
What has you most excited about going back to school?
The opening days of school are similar to the excitement you feel on Christmas morning! As a Principal, the summer months are a great time to spend reflecting on the wonderful areas of success that our school community has achieved over the past academic year, but also a time to think about areas of growth and how to continue providing the best opportunities.
How do you describe SJP2CA to people who don't know about the school?
I love to talk about our teaching and learning community! I would describe SJP2CA as innovative, while still remaining traditional in the hallmarks of Catholic Education. The pillars of Faith, Academics, CommUNITY, Social-Emotional, Family Engagement and Health are the frameworks that I continually refer back to.
I am proud to share that
All of the Early Childhood classrooms are going to a waitlist
The building went through a $10 million renovation with state-of-the-art facilities and technology
Our students are loved, cared for, and participate in community service and serving others
We offer the largest Fine Arts Program in the Boston Area
Our students scored above average in our national standardized testing
I would also add that our school offers financial aid to students. Most importantly, I would want community members to know that our school ensures that every student gets what they need. Our teaching and learning community provides a safe environment for all students and that is so important.
In your eyes, what differentiates SJP2CA?
Our teachers earn significantly less salaries than their peers in the public schools and charter schools-all with the same qualifications and experience. Our work at SJP2CA is a calling; it is part of our mission. The Lower Mills Campus is more than a building, more than a school — it is our family. I know every child's name, town they live in, siblings, family information, and so much more filed away in my brain because every one of those pieces matter. I need to know that a child is driving from Rhode Island to come to Before School at 6:30 a.m. and had to wake up at 4:30 a.m. to begin their day. These things matter! This means I need to make sure to tell their teacher to check in on whether or not they had time to pack a lunch this morning. This is what we do at SJP2CA. It is who we are.
What is one thing that might surprise the public about the students at SJP2CA?
You do not have to be Catholic to attend our school! We love children of all faiths and our school welcomes all students and families.
How has the Corey C. Griffin Foundation helped further the goals of SJP2CA?
The Corey C. Griffin Foundation is one of the most amazing organizations I have ever worked with in 20 years of being in education and working with community partners. The first word that comes to mind when I think of CCGF is intentions. I admire and respect the intention that is put into every event, interaction, email, video — all done for the exact right reasons. It is always about what can we do to support students and families in memory of Corey.
I remember the first time I went to the recording studio with our Corey Griffin scholars and researching more about the organization and Corey in the time before the video shoot. I still remember reading in the Boston Globe about Corey's character and that a gentlemen from Boston Properties shared that Corey was someone who was "making the world spin" instead of watching the "world spin by," and I thought wow, this is the exact message I want to share with our students.
I only wish that I had the privilege of meeting Corey and spending time with him. To say he was a phenomenal young man would be an understatement. I only hope and pray that I can one day leave an imprint on the world as Corey did. The mission of CCGF lives within our students and I know that they will continue to grow and prosper from our partnership.