National Parks Experience in Spring 2020

Just back from leading 8 RCS seniors on an incredible hiking/camping/exploring Spring Break trip to the Grand Canyon, science teacher Joe Sweeney’s National Parks Experience has begun planning for spring 2020. Based on student feedback, he’ll choose among 3 options:

  • Yosemite National Park 4-day backpacking trip. 11 students required.
  • Grand Canyon National Park 4-day backpacking trip. Minimum of 6 students; maximum of 8 students.
  • San Juan River, Utah, 5-day rafting trip. Minimum of 12 students; maximum of 20 students.

Cost for each is approximately $1800/student, not including airfare.

Contact Joe Sweeney,, for more info.

About National Parks Experience

The National Parks Experience provides a unique educational opportunity to high school students that exposes them to the natural world while teaching them history, science and outdoor skills.  Using one of our national parks, such as Grand Canyon, Yosemite or Virgin Island National Park, as the focus of the curriculum, students learn about geology, ecology, history and native cultures. Hiking and backpacking trips along the Appalachian Trail provide students with the opportunity to learn outdoor skills and physically prepare for their excursion in the national park. All the lessons, both on the trail and in the classroom, are brought together during the excursion to the national park. While in the national park, the geology, ecology and history lessons come to life. Students see and touch the different rock formations, identify native plants, watch wildlife and visit archaeological sites to learn more about the native people who once lived in these remarkable places.

The effect the National Parks Experience has on the students is life changing. For many students, this program provided their first exposure to hiking and camping or even their first trip away from their familiar surroundings. Conquering the physical demands of backpacking instills a sense of pride and improves the student’s self confidence. These young people gain the knowledge, confidence and desire to continue exploring nature. The National Parks Experience introduces student to the natural world and immerses them in the beauty and wonder of our national parks.

Get your tix to OLIVER! on April 5-6

Consider yourself at home at Roanoke Catholic School’s production of OLIVER! on Friday, April 5, at 7 PM, and Saturday, April 6, at 4 PM, at the Dumas Center, 108 1st St NW, Roanoke, VA 24016.

Tickets are $10 for a single or $25 for a family 4-pack (family 4-pack reserved for members of the purchaser’s immediate family).


Based on Charles Dickens’ classic novel Oliver Twist, this musical is among the most enduring and beloved of all time. Written by Lionel Bart, the award-winning score about an orphan boy who finds his way through the streets of London features iconic songs such as “Food, Glorious Food,” “Consider Yourself,” “Where is Love?” “I’d Do Anything,” and “You’ve Got to Pick a Pocket or Two.”

You will not want to miss this show, though parents are advised that Oliver! does include some material that may not be appropriate for children younger than 10. 

Questions: Contact April Corbett, RCS Director of Theater Arts,

Thank you Radjou family and Food Fanatics Kitchen for sponsoring our show!
“Food, Glorious Food” indeed!


Oliver: Aidan Callis
The Artful Dodger: Lauren Frackelton
Nancy: Isabella Myers
Bill Sikes/Mr. Bumble: Spencer Krohmer
Bet/Old Sally: Addison Vaught
Mrs. Corney: Abby Algeier
Mrs. Brownlow: Annie Kovats
Mr. Sowerberry/Orphan: Grady Whalen
Mrs. Sowerberry/Orphan: Alex Algeier
Charlotte/Mrs. Bedwin: Brynn Ferguson
Noah Claypole/Charley: Ana Kuehler
Dr. Grimwig: Silvie Chandler
Fagin: Michael Hemphill

Pianist: Meagan Gillette

Thank you for helping us win Roanoke Valley Gives Day!

Because of your incredible generosity on Roanoke Valley Gives Day on March 13, we surpassed our $125,000 goal and tentatively won another $17,000 in bonus prizes. Enjoy this highlights video from our “Celtics-Thon” broadcast on

For all of our Roanoke Valley Gives supporters, be on the lookout for an invitation to a celebration on April 1, 5-7 pm, at Food Fanatics Kitchen. Many thanks to the Community Foundation Serving Western Virginia for coordinating this special event!

Help us raise $125,000 on Roanoke Valley Gives Day on March 13 to fund an air-conditioning system in our Upper School! Built in the 1960s, our Upper School building has long been “cooled” by window units. With your generosity, we will be able to install a new HVAC system this summer.


Your donation won’t be charge to your credit card until March 13.


You’re invited to be part of our “Celtics-Thon” broadcast on March 13 during Roanoke Valley Gives Day!

RCS chef Peter Radjou is serving up his famous chicken tikka masala that day from 4-7 pm for all families who come to make their donation and help us win the $15,000 that goes to the Roanoke-area nonprofit that raises the most money.

During the broadcast, we will feature our student organizations. Be there live, or watch live on Here is the tentative broadcast schedule:

  • 3:00 – Welcome
  • 3:15 – Community Foundation Serving Western Virginia
  • 3:30 – Principal and Head of School Patrick Patterson
  • 3:45 – Chef Peter Radjou
  • 4:00 – Fr. Matt Kiehl
  • 4:15 – RCS Band performance
  • 4:30 – Celtics Singers performance
  • 4:45 – Oliver! spring musical preview
  • 5:00 – Segura program dancing
  • 5:15 – Shamrock Hill Run & St. Patrick’s Day Parade
  • 5:30 – Grandpals’ Day preview
  • 5:45 – RCS Athletics | Cheerleaders
  • 6:00 – Football
  • 6:15 – Middle School Boys & Girls Basketball
  • 6:30 – Girls Basketball
  • 6:45 – Boys Basketball
  • 7:00 – Cross-Country & Track
  • 7:15 – Boys Lacrosse
  • 7:30 – Wrestling & Girls Softball
  • 7:45 – Swimming
  • 8:00 – Girls Soccer
  • 8:15 – Girls Volleyball
  • 8:30 – Golf
  • 8:45 – Baseball
  • 9:00-midnight – TBA

Time to register for 2019 Shamrock Hill Run!

Get an early start on Roanoke’s and join our 29th annual Shamrock Hill Run! Our popular 5K chip-timed race (and 1-Mile Walk/Run) starts at 8:30 a.m., finishing in plenty of time for you to walk downtown for the 11 a.m. parade start! Free and convenient parking at the school.

RCS families enjoy a $5 discount by using promo code RCS19.

• $25 Early registration (until 11:59 pm on Feb. 15)
• $30 Late registration (Feb. 16-March 1)
• $35 (after March 1)

For more information contact Michael Hemphill at or 540.556.2879.

Age Groups: 9 & under | 10 – 13 | 14 – 17 | 18 – 22 | 23 – 29 | 30 – 34 | 35 – 39 | 40 – 44 | 45 – 49 | 50 – 54 | 55 – 59 | 60 – 64 | 65 – 69 | 70 & over

Packets may be picked up in the Roanoke Catholic School Gillespie Family Gymnasium on Friday, March 15, 4-7 pm, or on Race Day, 7-8 am.

Educating the whole person. Part 3: The Soul

While we value the education of the mind and body, it is our students’ “soul work,” in the words of chaplain Fr. Matt Kiehl, that is at the heart of Roanoke Catholic’s mission: blending learning with faith and faith with daily life.

In addition to our daily theology classes, weekly Masses, monthly Adoration, and time with Prayer Buddies, in the last month alone:

  • Our Lower School conducted three Advent Prayer Services.
  • RCS Dance Club performed for elderly residents living in Our Lady of the Valley.
  • Celtics students, alumni and parents sang Christmas carols during RCS chef Peter Radjou’s annual holiday feast for 250 homeless served by The Rescue Mission.
  • Lower School SGA collected school supplies for Commonwealth Catholic Charities Refugee & Immigration Services to help children arriving in the Roanoke Valley who lack the necessities to attend school.
  • Fellowship of Christian Athletes met before school to make hundreds of sandwiches for Roanoke’s homeless.
  • We presented 10 students with our new “Jesus Walks the Halls Kindness Awards” for their acts of service.

Yes, we are committed to our students being successful in the classroom and on the field, court and stage. But more importantly we want them successful in life, with Christ-like character and conscience — in short, with a developed soul, so that they stronger servants and leaders in our world.

If you believe in our mission of developing the mind, body and soul, please make a year-end gift to Roanoke Catholic School. We hope you are enjoying a wonderful, soulful, Christmas season!

Friday, Dec. 28: The Mind
Saturday, Dec. 29: The Soul


Educating the whole person. Part 2: The Body

The Celtics’ third consecutive football state championship in November highlights Roanoke Catholic’s commitment to nurturing the whole student: mind, body and soul.

More than 80% of our middle and upper school students participate on at least one of our sports teams: from our conference-winning track and cross-country program to volleyball, basketball, wrestling, lacrosse, golf, swim and cheer.

Nurturing our students’ artistic gifts, our drama program offered its first fall production this year and is excited to present Oliver in the spring. Our choir and band just produced RCS’ second annual Lessons & Carols service, and the choir looks forward to touring in May on a trip that includes performing at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC.

Our campus “body” will see major upgrades this year, too. We recently secured funding through a generous contribution to replace the bleachers in the Gillespie Family gymnasium — a $115,000 project. This Christmas break we installed new hardwood flooring in our chapel to enhance the space for prayerful reflection, Eucharistic adoration and confession.

As we near the end of 2018, please make a tax-deductible gift in support of Roanoke Catholic to ensure our students’ success both in the classroom and on the field, court and stage.


Friday, Dec. 28: The Mind
Coming Sunday, Dec. 30: The Soul


Educating the whole person. Part 1: The Mind

As we near the end of 2018, we take a moment — three moments, actually, today, Saturday and Sunday — to reflect on our fundamental task: the education of the whole person … mind, body and soul.

This year we hired full-time resource teachers who specialize in assisting students with learning differences. We will also soon add another full-time teaching assistant in 1st grade.

We enhanced our AP and dual enrollment offerings — which provide valuable college credits for our students while still in high school (many of our graduates actually start college as sophomores) — with the launch of an Entrepreneurial Studies Program through Mary Baldwin University. Next year we will add Broadcast Journalism, also through Mary Baldwin.

The Class of 2018 continued our standard of 100% college acceptance with $3+ million scholarships earned, and the Class of 2019 has already received acceptances to Virginia Tech, Washington & Lee, Roanoke College and Hampden-Sydney.

Thanks to our generous community of donors, we provided tuition assistance this year for more than 40% of our families so that all who desire our faith-based educational environment for their children can afford it.

All this by focusing on individual achievement, critical thinking, intellectual exploration and creative expression —  not unnecessarily stressful standardized testing.

Please make a year-end tax-deductible gift in support of strong Catholic education in the Roanoke Valley!

Coming Saturday, Dec. 29: The Body

Coming Sunday, Dec. 30: The Soul


Merry Christmas video from Roanoke Catholic

“Good King Wenceslas” tells the story of a king who, by his words and actions, leads his page through a wintry night to bring food and alms to a poor subject. The lyrics call to mind our teachers and staff who daily model to our students our mission of “blending learning with faith and faith with daily life.”

This year we concluded our Lessons & Carols service in St. Andrew’s Catholic Church with “Good King Wenceslas” — our student choir singing the part of the page, and our faculty singing the part of the king.

Roanoke Catholic School hopes you find blessing in this video, and we wish you a joyous Christmas season!



Support our school supplies drive for refugee children

Help others be wise … bring in school supplies! RCS Lower School Student Government Association is collecting school supplies for Commonwealth Catholic Charities Refugee & Immigration Services. Help us help children who are arriving in the Roanoke Valley without the necessities to attend school. Please bring in new items from the list below. Items should be brought to Mrs. Schlesser, Rm M119, no later than December 14. Thank you!

New School Supplies:

  • Pens
  • Pencils
  • Highlighters
  • 2 inch binders
  • Composition notebooks
  • Lysol/Clorox wipes
  • Ziploc bags
  • Sticky Notes
  • Rulers
  • Calculators

Order your 2018 State Champ gear!

Celebrate Roanoke Catholic’s 2018 football state championship — and show your Celtic Pride — by purchasing a commemorative State Champion T-shirt and hat! T-shirts are $20/adult, $15/youth. Hats are $25.

These items are available for a limited time only and make great Christmas stocking stuffers for the special Celtic in your life! Order forms are due to Joe Sweeney by Monday, Dec. 3.