As students return to Hastings Catholic Schools this fall, those in grades 6-12 will do so with an iPad in hand.

Sandy VanCura, principal of St. Cecilia Middle School and High School, said Hastings Catholic Schools was approached by the Lincoln Diocesan Technology Office in January about the possibility of becoming a 1:1 iPad school. Each student in grades 6-12, along with the majority of the teachers, will be issued an iPad.

“Everybody is really excited about the opportunities this will bring for our students,” she said.

Faculty will have had six days of training prior to the start of school year.

St. Cecilia is the second middle and high school in the diocese to participate. Nebraska City Lourdes has been part of the program for three or four years.

The iPad distribution will take place Aug. 7 and 8, in the evenings.

Donations to the Hastings Catholic Schools Foundation during Give Hastings Day in May covered the $50 usage fee for families.

St. Cecilia also will see several new staff members this year.

Lindsay Shaw is the new K-12 counselor for Hastings Catholic Schools.

Shelby Burr is the new 6-12 instrumental and vocal teacher.

Kelan Schumacher is a new high school math teacher. He’ll be teaching Algebra 1, algebra 2 and geometry.

Kaden Kaping is a new 6-12 physical education and health teacher.

The Rev. James Morin will teach freshmen and sophomore theology. He moved to Hastings in June and also is assigned as a parochial vicar, or assistant pastor, at St. Cecilia Church.

The Rev. Corey Harrison will teach eighth-grade religion. He is the new pastor of Sacred Heart Church in Lawrence, St. Stephen’s Church south of Lawrence, and Our Lady of the Assumption Church in Deweese.

There were no staff changes at St. Michael’s Elementary.

The Bluehawk football team will have a new leader this year.

Cody Jackson, already the St. Cecilia girls’ track coach, takes over the football program from longtime coach Carl Tesmer, who retired after 47 years in education and 28 years at Hastings Catholic Schools.

“Carl was very dedicated to Catholic education,” VanCura said. “He was a very strong supporter of everything we were trying to do in Hastings Catholic Schools. He’s a very faith-filled man. He did an excellent job of sharing his faith with his athletes.”

Jackson, who graduated from St. Cecilia in 2011, himself played for Tesmer. VanCura said Jackson most likely will continue many of the same faith-based activities in the football team’s schedule that Tesmer had done.

Like many high schools, St. Cecilia is continuing to work with Central Community College to expand dual credit offerings.

St. Cecilia also now is participating in the Nebraska Math Readiness Project through CCC. It is a course designed for seniors who had a 13-19 score in the math component of the ACTs.

The program is an opportunity to increase the math skills of those students before college.

St. Cecilia requires three years of math.

“As a senior, many students want to take a math course,” VanCura said. “At St. Cecilia, our offerings of pre-calculus, calculus and statistics may be challenging for a student who is not strong in math. This particular course will offer an opportunity for a student to hone their skills prior to taking college math courses.”

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