Psalm 66

R. Blessed be God who filled my soul with fire!

Shout joyfully to God, all the earth;
sing praise to the glory of his name;
proclaim his glorious praise.
Say to God: “How tremendous are your deeds!”

R. Blessed be God who filled my soul with fire!

Come and see the works of God,
his tremendous deeds among the children of Adam.
Bless our God, you peoples;
loudly sound his praise.

R. Blessed be God who filled my soul with fire!

Hear now, all you who fear God, while I declare
what he has done for me.
When I appealed to him in words,
praise was on the tip of my tongue.

R. Blessed be God who filled my soul with fire!

From the Principal

Dear Parents:

The school year has begun on a wonderful note. Students have been most cooperative. Please know that the carpool line went so well this week because the kindergarten and preschool are not yet in school. However, the school has had an increase in over twenty-five students this year, and the lines will get longer. The easiest way to help arrival and dismissal is to allow your child to use the public school buses. Bus service is your taxpayer money at work. The Catholic schools do not receive an overwhelming amount of aid from taxes; let us use what they do provide. Bus forms are on the website, and if you have questions, please call Mrs. Cory Pinion in the office.

Please be aware that the weekly school Mass will be on Wednesday at 8:30 this school year. You are welcome to come to Mass with the students.

It is most important that all the students begin the school year in a manner that will assure their success, so please check on your children to see that they have everything they need and that they are preparing themselves each evening for the next school day. One day builds on another and each new school year offers a new beginning.

I bring the following to parent’s attention because at times attendance becomes an issue with students. State law is very specific in terms of the number of days students must be in school, the number of days school must be in session, the length of the school day, and the length of time students are to spend in each subject. I ask again that parents be very attentive to school attendance. Plan vacations when school is not in session. Do not keep students home for minor complaints. 

-- Gerard Toups, Ph.D.

From Earlier this Week ......

August 12, 2013

Dear Parents:

Welcome to the 2013-2014 school year. We thank you for your continued support. Largely due to the efforts of parents who have expressed confidence in the school, enrollment has increased again this school year, and the school year will start with 450 students in attendance.

As most of you know, Father McDuffie has been welcomed to St. Joseph Parish as our new pastor. Father has served as pastor of two parishes with schools: Mater Dolorosa in Independence and, most recently, at Sacred Heart in Baton Rouge. He came into the gym this morning and introduced himself to the children. Before entering the seminary, Father graduated from LSU as an engineer and worked as such for seven years. As a seminarian he studied in Rome. He is a very personable man and has expressed more that once that the school is the primary ministry in the parish. The staff at St. Joseph welcomes Father, and we are all looking forward to working with him for our students.

There are additions to staff this year with several new employees. New duties have been assigned to employees previously on staff.

Mrs. Tracy Owens will serve as a first grade homeroom teacher. She taught twelve years at St. Cletis Catholic Elementary School in Gretna. Mrs. Owens graduated from Our Lady of Holy Cross College. She has two children at St. Joseph.

Mrs. Stephanie Mares will teach third grade and comes to St. Joseph from Our Lady Queen of Peace in Mandeville where she has taught for the past seven years. She previously taught at St. Robert Bellarmine in Arabi. She is a graduate of Our Lady of Holy Cross College in New Orleans.

Mrs. Ashley Notariano will be the new seventh grade homeroom teacher. She taught six years at Holy Ghost and worked for the Tangipahoa School Board for ten years. She is an alumna of St. Joseph School. She has a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degrees from Southeastern.

Mrs. Krista Chiasson, formerly Miss Krista Lalande, will be the eighth grade homeroon teacher. She worked as the aide in first grade last year and replaced our two fifth grade teachers for their maternity leaves in the spring semester. She is a graduate of Southeastern.

The four new teachers are certified and degreed in the areas in which they are teaching.

Mrs. Lisa Eck is the new pre-kindergarten aide. She has a B.S. Elementary Education and taught in the Jefferson Parish School System for three years. She has a child at St. Joseph.

Mrs. Julissa Marshall was hired as the new kindergarten aide. She is serving in Mrs. Harwell’s class. She has a B. A. from Southeastern. She also has child at St. Joseph.

Mrs. Dorothy Piazza has been reassigned to the first grade as an aide for Mrs. Owens.

Mrs. Kelly Curtis will take Ms. Mims' place as the physical education teacher.

Mrs. Debra Caliva will work mainly with fifth graders and serve as an aide to the third grade.

In addition to new staff and new assignments, the school doubled the eighth grade homerooms. New reading text books were ordered for first through fifth grade classes. These are aligned with the new Core Curriculum being adopted by states across the country..

During the summer, the remaining split A/C units were installed in the main building. Ceilings were dropped, and lights were replaced in the science lab. The last two classrooms are on the schedule to be renovated during the Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks.

The sixth, seventh and eighth graders will be presented with new i-Pads and cases shortly.. Rules and regulations as to their care and use will be coming home. Students will be oriented the first week of school. Students will be responsible for their i-Pads and a repair agreement will also be presented to the students and their parents. These items are very expensive and need to be handled with care.

For a comprehensive view of the capital expenditures that have taken place at the school over the last seven years, visit the St. Joseph website and look at Planting Seeds that Grow.

A thank-you goes out to Mr. Tommy, Mr. Joe, and Nicholas and Christopher Ekker for their yeomen efforts this summer. Every year the school environment improves and our pledge to you is that these efforts will continue.

Thanks also go to Mr. Mike Fulmer at Berryland Campers. Mr. Fulmer sponsors our website throughout the year at no cost to us and provided a company to spray wash parts of the school. They cleaned the front entrance of the school, the gutter cans were blown out as they had become filled with debris, and the walkways were cleaned.

We appreciate your support and thank you for entrusting your children to our care. And may the Lord bless each of you and your families as we begin this new school year.

Gerard Toups, Ph. D.

Calendar at-a-Glance

Tuesday, August 13 - Friday, August 16
PreK Small Group Sessions
Kindergarten Testing

Thursday, August 15
Feast of the Assumption - Mass @ 8:30 - All are invited to attend.

Friday, August 16
Spirit Dress
Pep Rally @ 1:15

Monday, August 19
First Full Day with PreK/K

Tuesday, August 20
July Birthdays
Back-to-School Night for Grades 1-4 @ 6:30

Wednesday, August 21
Mass @ 8:30 - All are invited to attend.
Mandatory CC Meeting for Parents @ 5:30 Ponchatoula Rec Park

Thursday, August 22
Home & School Meeting @ 6:30
Back-to-School Night for Grades 5-8 after Meeting

Friday, August 23
Spirit Dress
Sock Hop @ 7:00-10:00

Tuesday, August 27
August Birthdays

Wednesday, August 28
Mass @ 8:30 - All are invited to attend.

Thursday, August 29
Individual Pictures in Uniforms

Friday, August 30
Spirit Dress

Monday, September 2
Labor Day Holiday

New Flag

Students at SJS were surprised on the first day of school with a brand-new United States flag.

The flag was sent to St. Joseph by Senator Mary Landrieu in honor of the marriage of Jay and Janet Naquin, teachers at the school.

The accompanying certificate reads as follows:

This is to certify that the accompanying flag was flown over the United States Capitol on July 31, 2013. 
At the request of the Honorable Mary L. Landrieu, United States Senator, this flag was flown for the students and staff of St. Joseph School from Mr. and Mrs. Jay Naquin on the day of their union.

Our students are proud to fly this flag on the school flagpole in honor of two of their favorite teachers!

First Day of School

How did you feel on the first day of school?

First grader Trey Ohler conveys the feelings of many students as they came back to school this week.

To see how others faired on their first day back, visit our Photo Albums on the website.

Feast Day Mass - Thursday, August 15

Students will celebrate the Feast of the Immaculate Conception on Thursday, August 15, at their first school Mass.

Everyone is invited to attend.

The arrival and dismissal times for school will not change on Mass days. Students are to wear regular uniforms.

July Birthdays - Tuesday, August 20

All students at St. Joseph who have a birthday in July may come out of uniform on Tuesday, August 20. This is the only day students with July birthdays may come out of uniform. There is no make-up day. Out of uniform guidelines can be found on the WEBSITE.

Back-to-School Night - Tuesday, August 20

Tuesday, August 20, is Back-to-School Night for parents of students in grades 1-4.

The event begins at 6:30 p.m.

We invite parents to visit with teachers of grades 1-4 in the classrooms to learn about class requirements and other information special to particular grade levels. Please go directly to the student's classroom.

As this is an event for adults, we appreciate parents making arrangements for their children.

Home and School Meeting

The first Home and School Meeting of the year will be held on Thursday, August 22, beginning at 6:30 p.m. in the gym.

As this is a business meeting for adults, we appreciate parents making arrangements for their children.

After a short business meeting, faculty and staff will be introduced to the parents. Following the meeting, a Back-to-School Night will be held for parents of students in grades 5-8.

To learn more about the Home and School Association, please visit the school website at HOME & SCHOOL.

Back-to-School Night - Tuesday, August 22

Thursday, August 22, is Back-to-School Night for parents of students in grades 5-8.

The event begins at the conclusion of the Home and School Meeting. 

We invite parents to visit with teachers of grades 5-8 in the classrooms to learn about class requirements and other information special to particular grade levels. Please start in your student's homeroom class. Bells will ring every periodically to guide parents through their child's schedule so that all teachers can be visited.

As this is an event for adults, we appreciate parents making arrangements for their children.

Sock Hop - Friday, August 23

The first SJS sock hop of the year will be held on Friday, August 23!

The event is for SJS students in grades 5-8.

Cost is $10 which includes refreshments.

Optional pictures are available in $5 and $10 packets.

SJS students may bring one guest outside of the school. The guest must also be in grades 5-8 and must abide by all rules that cover the SJS students, including dres..

This sock hop is sponsored by the St. Joseph Cheerleaders.

Sports News

There will be a mandatory meeting for all parents that have children running cross country this year. The meeting will be held on Wednesday, August 21 at 5:30pm at the Ponchatoula Rec park. Please bring your child to this meeting because practice will take place.

We are in need of a boys JV (5th-6th) Basketball Coach. If you are interested, please contact Mrs. Thomas AT 985-386-6421 or E-mail at


Edline activiation codes for parents of new students (or those who never activiated their accounts last year) were sent home for grades 1-8 today. Also included was a letter with instructions to access Edline.

If you did not get a code, have trouble with a code, or forgot username/password from last year, please E-mail Mrs. Little at to have these problems resolved.

EDGE Retreat

First ever EDGE Jr. High Kick-Off Retreat!

Food! Fun! Inflatables! Forming friendship with Christ and each other!

Sunday, August 18, @ 9:00-7:00 including 5:00 p.m. Mass and ending with parent/teen supper.

St. Joseph Youth Center and Church.

Sign in at the Youth Center @ 9:00 a.m.. Cost is $35. Fee is waived as needed.

Parish News

Fr. Paul A. McDuffie, Pastor
Larry J. Melancon - Deacon
Mike Agnello - Deacon
Dr. M.J. "Dutch" Schanzbach - Deacon

Weekend Mass Schedule 
Saturday Vigil Mass - 5:00 p.m. 
Sunday Mass - 8:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m., 5:00 p.m.

Contact Information 
Address - 255 North 8th Street (P.O. Box 368), Ponchatoula, LA 70454 
Phone - 985.386.3749 
Website -    

See Old News: Archive