Happenings At JPII

Happenings At JPII

JPII Starts a new Track and Field Program

This February, Pope John Paul II High School welcomes a track and field program, the School’s newest sport. Joining the coaching staff are Head Coach Scott Carter, a former University of Wyoming athlete, and Larry Weber, whose career includes coaching a local cross country team to eight Washington State
High School championship titles and coaching a Paralympic sprinter to a gold medal. For JPII, starting a track and field program is a big step, and they look forward to a large turnout this season. Coach Carter and Coach Weber sat down for a Q&A to tell the community about their enthusiasm for the sport.

Q: After having coached JPII’s cross country team to State, what potential do you see in the track and field team that is forming?

Coach Carter: I think that we have a lot of potential, not just because we have a cross country team that went to state, but also because we have track and field athletes that competed for their public high schools and they were very competitive in those. I think as a whole, our team will be a mixture of kids
that are very experienced, or who have little to no experience, but all who have much potential and I think that we can accomplish some amazing things this year at our league meet, at districts, and even at State as a team.

Coach Weber: The cross-country team had a good year this past fall with a lot of personal bests on the state championship course. This tells me that when the stakes are high, the great character of JPII student-athletes shines through. The potential of the first ever JPII Track and Field team is pretty amazing. There are many great student-athletes at JPII who, if they work hard and are consistent in
training, will surprise a lot of people this year.

Q: Coach Carter, after competing for the University of Wyoming and at the NCAA National Championships, you have experienced a lot of the sport. What would you say is your favorite part about track and field? Coach Weber, you have coached athletes to gold medals and have been nationally ranked as a runner yourself. What is your favorite part about track and field?

Carter: My favorite part about track and field is the community that forms. During meets, everybody gets a chance to talk with each other, whether the jumpers are talking with one another before their jumps, or the sprinters before their races. Everyone is rooting for each other, and not against each
other. We will get to know the athletes in the SeaTac League very well, and we’re really excited about building a community with them and within the school.


Weber: My favorite part of track and field is seeing student-athletes break their personal barriers. I believe you can always do more in sport and life than you initially believe. With a strong faith in God all things are possible. Seeing student-athletes break through to a personal best is inspiring to me and to all the people around them.


Q: Coach Weber, you have been a running coach at a couple different schools. What makes JPII athletes stand out to you?


Weber: The character of student-athletes at JPII is inspiring to me, and the support system at the school is a huge blessing. The administration, parents, and staff are very focused on the mission of JPII and it is apparent that each of these groups are working together daily to help each student-athlete reach their
God-given potential in all areas of the high school experience.

Q: What are you two most looking forward to this season?

Carter: I’m looking forward to the athletes that have never done something that will find a spot in track and field – they’ll find an event that they really enjoy competing in. I am also eager to see the smiles of the athletes who never thought they could.

Weber: Since I am new to JPII, I am most looking forward to getting to know everyone more and building relationships. I am also looking forward to helping the community of JPII establish new and meaningful traditions in the track and field program. In addition, I look forward to designing and customizing workouts for every athlete I coach so in some small way I can help each person reach their potential.

My Track Experience:
My name is Molly Zepeda and I am a multi-sport athlete at Pope John Paul II High School, where I compete in volleyball and basketball. This year I am thrilled to participate in JPII’s new track and field program! As JPII had not yet formed a track team last year, I was blessed with a great opportunity to run
for Olympia High School. There, I was able to meet new people and learn more about hurdling, sprinting, and conditioning. Even though I will not be running as a Bear this year, I am very proud to say that I will be sporting the blue and gold as an Eagle! I have been hoping ever since I started track in fifth grade that
my high school would start a track team – and here we are. A new program at the school will allow students to bond even more and develop strong relationships with their dedicated coaches. I hope that you can catch the Eagles in action this spring!

Posted 45 weeks ago

Q & A with SeaTac League MVP’s

This past week both Molly Z. and Jack F. were recognized by the SeaTac league as the MVP’s of their respective sports. Both Eagles were gracious enough to spare some of their time for a Question and Answer with me:

Q: What does it mean to you to be SeaTac League MVP?

Molly: It shows me how far the School has come, and I am proud to say that the School has achieved this honor. 

Jack: It shows how competitive our School is in this league, having both Fall sports win the League MVP award is quite an achievement!

Q: We moved into the SeaTac League for more competition. What is special about winning this award in such a competitive league?

Molly: The league has some great players, so to achieve such honors in such a competitive league means that my team and teammates really stood out this season. 

Jack: I’m very proud of everyone, there are some really fast runners in the league. It is cool to win the award, when the league is so much faster than it has been in the past. 

Q: What would you like to say to your teammates?

Molly: This year we had more of a desire to win, and I am excited for next year because this team can go a lot farther than we did this year! I want my teammates to know how great we did, but how much room we can grow!

Jack: I am really impressed to see the growth in our team over the past few years. With everyone running faster it has pushed me to be better. 

Q: What was your favorite memory of the year?

Molly: Winning on senior night, to give that night to the seniors because they gave so much to the team for four years. To win on senior night and give our hearts and effort to what they did was really special.

Jack: Getting the perfect score at Auburn Adventist, especially to see Kobe beat out another runner to claim the fifth spot!

Both of these students are incredible leaders of their peers and great models for the School. It was a pleasure sitting down, and hearing more about their seasons. Jack F. will run at the Washington State Cross Country Championships on Saturday Nov. 4th with the rest of his team as they finish off their season!

Posted 57 weeks ago

Seniors Lead the Way in JPII Athletics

The past two weeks have been marked with great excitement from our Fall athletic programs. Last week offered three senior night events, a SeaTac League Championship in Cross Country, a playoff birth, and an incredible scene of community. Both Fall athletic programs begin postseason play this week.

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- JPII Volleyball players celebrate a point in their game vs. Auburn Adventist.


The Volleyball team started the week by winning 3-0 on their senior night vs Auburn Adventist. Coach Peterson shared words with each of the three Seniors before the game, and each was honored by their family, teammates, and students. This win qualified the girls for the SeaTac League Playoffs, in which they are currently playing. The team travels to Evergreen Lutheran Thursday, for the 2nd and 3rd round of the League Playoffs. 

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-Senior Dmitry S. is honored by coach Herness and his father as a senior at SeaTac League Championships.


The Cross Country team then followed up the performance by winning the SeaTac League Championships in dominating fashion. The Eagles were 6 points away from a perfect score, and had all 7 varsity runners in the top 10 overall racers! Jack F. was marked league MVP, as he won the league race by 24 seconds. The Eagle’s had 4 First Team All-League performers, along with 3 Second Team All-League performers. Three JPII Seniors were honored as part of the SeaTac League Senior ceremony. Head Coach Anthony Herness gave each athlete gifts, along with sharing kind words about each athlete. The team will compete in districts this Saturday with state qualification on the line, the Boys’ look like a favorite to win their district race. 

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- JPII students celebrate Ibi C’s Senior night at Olympia High School.


Finally, Friday night Senior Ibi C. played his final home game for the Olympia High School Football team. He has been taking advantage of being able to play sports that JPII does not offer throughout his career at Olympia High School. JPII had over 35 fans to support Ibi, and were pleased to watch him play. Ibi has been a star at Olympia this year, and is among team leaders in receiving yards, touchdowns, and tackles. 

Athletic Events Coming up this week: 

Volleyball: Thursday, Oct. 26th SeaTac League tournament 2nd and 3rd round.

Cross Country: Saturday, Oct. 28th District Championships.

Posted 58 weeks ago

Fall Athletics Surpass Lofty Expectations

Last year, JPII had their first athletics team compete at the State Championships. This fall alone, we might have two

The Girls’ Volleyball team has caught fire in league play, winning 4 of their last 5 games. This streak started with a come from behind victory against Evergreen Lutheran (A team that advanced to the quarterfinal of last year’s state tournament). They have won games against 3 league foes since, and currently maintain a 4-3 league record. 

I could not be more proud of our ladies. They are showing great dedication and team work this season. -Coach Peterson (Head Coach)

Molly Z. serving in JPII’s victory over Seattle Lutheran

The Cross Country team has continued their storied success all year by winning all 3 league meets they have ran in, along with a 2nd place finish at the Mark Lyle Invitational. They are currently ranked 7th in the state for 1B/2B by athletic.net, and are looking for a strong finish to the season! 

Though the Cross Country team is on the road the rest of the season, you can catch the Lady Eagles in action three more times! Check out their schedule at: SeaTacLeague.org

Posted 61 weeks ago

Letter from the Principal

Change is in the air.  This has intentionally become a year of change for JPII high school in many ways.  As you know, we have hired new staff and made significant changes in personnel positions, including my own promotion to principal.  The intentionality of our transitions here will allow us to continue our focus on our students and greater community.  As a people and school of faith, our focus is on more than just a strong college preparatory education. Indeed, our primary focus is on helping each student, staff, parent, board and community member continue to grow in their relationship with God.

Fostering growth toward a more perfect relationship with God is a tall order for each of us as humans.  How do we address this as a school?  This charge belongs to each of us and must be found in more than Theology classes or when we celebrate Eucharist together.  It must permeate the daily life and breath of the school.

We recognize Christ in each member of our community.  God became flesh in the Mystery of the Incarnation – Jesus – like us in all things but sin.  In doing this, He gave us the example of divinity in humanity.  It is our choices that can bring us closer to that divinity or further from it.  Students face temptations as choices daily: Should I play a game or do my homework? Should I copy my friend’s paper or accept a lower grade? Should I eat the chips I found in the commons or walk away hungry?  How we as a school lovingly respond to each choice students make must help them feel empowered to make the choice that leads to Christ.

We recognize the beauty of community.  The Mystery of the Trinity, God in three persons, is our model of the perfect community.  This is at the heart of who we are because of who God is – we are most like God when we are in community supporting each member.  At JPII, relationships are critical to everything that we do. It is no secret that teens struggle with relationships.  Beyond their academic studies, they are also busy learning about themselves and how they “fit” into the group or community.  At JPII we focus on helping students learn to build instead of break relationships.  We also work to ensure that all students have a positive relationship with their teachers.  

We recognize that change is integral to being human.  The Paschal Mystery, Christ’s death and resurrection, is brought to life around us.  Recognizing that each “little death” leads to “new life” is an essential piece of our faith and gives us hope as “we are Easter people.”  In my years at JPII, I have seen many concrete examples of a death and a rebirth.  When the economy changed and we could not build or open as planned in 2009, there was a death of the vision we had clung to but a rebirth in our location close to Saint Martin’s University and Sacred Heart Parish — a gift that unfolded in God’s grace.  Little deaths and rebirths are more the norm than the exception.  “I used to be terrible at math, but now I get it.” These are the moments of joyful rebirth we celebrate.

This last month, I have witnessed all of these mysteries of our faith lived out recently at JPII in the birth of the Eagles’ Nest.  Senior, Jay S. recognized a need for strengthened community spirit at athletic events.  He put himself forward and developed a plan to address this need.  With the parting of the Red Sea last Thursday, a new spirit of JPII is an outstanding example of relationship, community, and rebirth.  Thank you Jay for bringing JPII to this new version of community.  Join us Tuesday for the next Eagles’ Nest event.

Posted 62 weeks ago

JPII Ranked Fourth in State!

Our Eagle runners hit the trails on September 16th and brought home an array of personal bests. The course at Ft. Steilacoom Park, was traversed by more than 1,000 competitive runners on Saturday, but JPII’s runners held their ground and had a very successful meet. 

J. Farrell, class of 2018, broke the school record for the 5,000 meter run with a time of 17:27; J. Braun (’19) shaved off thirty-four seconds for a personal best time of 19:08; and J. Stratford, in his second year of JPII cross country, also achieved a personal best time.

As a result, our JPII cross country team is now the first athletic team to be ranked in the state’s top ten! According to Athletic.net, JPII is currently tied for fourth in 1B/2B state rankings. 

Even our coaches got in on the action. Head Coach Anthony Herness, Assistant Coach Scott Carter, and faculty member Alexis Deutscher ran the 5K in hopes of crushing the times of the student runners. 

Today, the Eagles will run in Seattle’s Seward Park in their second league meet, and Saturday, they will proudly sport the blue and gold at the Mark Lyle Memorial Invite in Montesano. Go JPII!

- Written by Molly Zepeda (’19) of the JPII Journalism Committee 

Posted 63 weeks ago

Fall Athletes Excel in First Competitions

Both the JPII Girls Volleyball team and the Cross Country team started off their seasons on high notes this past week. 

Volleyball kicked it off on Thursday night with an away win over Christian Faith High School in 5 sets. After the match captain Molly Z. said “I did not see a single girl give up, we believed in each others abilities!” The Girls will look to continue their strong start with 3 matches this week. You can catch them in action Monday, September 11th @ 6:00pm at St. Michael’s Gymnasium when they host Three Rivers Christian High School. 

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Photo Above: JPII athlete runs at the Capital Invitational on Saturday

The Cross Country team also started their season in remarkable fashion at the Capital Invitational. Every returning runner improved their time over last year at the same meet. “It was great to see our athletes finally have an opportunity to show what they can do. We have been practicing for three weeks, and some of our runners have been training for months. To see them go out and excel was inspiring,” said Head Coach Anthony Herness. The team will host their next race on Wednesday, September 13th @ 4:45pm at Saint Martin’s Campus. 

Make sure to mark your calendars to catch the Eagles in action! 

Posted 64 weeks ago

JPII Announces New Principal

Pope John Paul II High School is growing, so much so that we are looking forward to new changes. The School has added 4 new Staff and Faculty to meet the needs of the growing student body, along with moving to a strategic model in having two distinct positions for President and Principal. Ron Edwards will be President of Pope John Paul II High School, while Therese Allin will be Principal. Therese Allin has worked along side Mr. Edwards for 7 years now as Associate Principal. Mr. Edwards shared some kind words about Mrs. Allin for this announcement:

For 13 years, Therese Allin has been a driving force behind the vision, development and accomplishments of Pope John Paul II High School. Therese’s investment in the JPII initiative began in 2004 when the School was just an idea. She served as a member of the initiative’s exploratory committee, responsible for investigating the viability of building a new Catholic High School in the South Puget Sound. In 2008 Therese was hired as the Founding Faculty of JPII and given the responsibility of developing a comprehensive, four-year, college preparatory curriculum in the Catholic tradition. Since the School opened in 2010, she has served as Associate Principal, Chair of the Mathematics Department, teacher, college counselor, technology manager, and cheer leading coach, among many other titles.

Under Therese’s leadership these students have established a remarkable tradition of excellence. JPII’s 72 graduates have earned more than $9.7 million in merit based scholarships to colleges and universities across the country. Forty percent of the 2017 graduating class were in the ten percent of students in Washington. More importantly, each of these students gives a minimum of 80 hours of service in our community during their high school careers.

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- Photo: Therese Allin brainstorming college applications to submit with a student.


“Therese has remarkable skills—developing curriculum, incorporating cutting-edge educational technology into every classroom, instructing…the list goes on and on.” says President/Principal, Ron Edwards, “But if you were to ask anyone in our community what makes her such a remarkable educator, they would universally say it is Therese’s commitment to the individual. It does not matter how many priorities she has on her desk, when a student or parent walks into her office, they are her sole focus.”

Says Board Chair Carol Cooper, “Very few people take on the challenge of building a Catholic high school from scratch, but those that do have an extraordinary focus on the students it will educate. We are calling students to a certain standard of excellence at JPII, while asking them, at the same time, to place service to others in the center of their lives. Therese lives this mission every day. She is a concrete example for our students of what it means to be ‘a person for others.”

Posted 65 weeks ago