Prospective parents and students are often surprised by the number and variety of athletic teams, extracurricular activities, and clubs at St. Francis. It seems counterintuitive, but a small high school can actually provide varied and diverse opportunities for student involvement. There are no barriers here: from our no-cut athletic teams to organizations and clubs that are always excited to have more members to starting your own activity, the opportunities are many! Read on to learn more about our athletics, extracurriculars, and clubs.
Our mascot is the Wyvern — a fierce, fire-breathing dragon. With 14 varsity athletic teams, our Wyverns are true competitors. St. Francis fields varsity teams in soccer, volleyball, field hockey, golf, basketball, bowling, tennis, track, and baseball. Talented and experienced athletes gain varsity experience starting in freshman year, and we’ve sent student-athletes in recent years on to play at the University of Kentucky, Michigan State University, Northern Kentucky University, Berea College, Vassar College, Furman University, Greenville University, Tiffin University, the College of Wooster, Centre College, and Dickinson College. Plus, 2013 alumnus Napo Matsoso was an All-American at UK and has now been a member of Louisville City FC’s stellar team for several years. St. Francis teams are no-cut, however, so less experienced athletes can also pick up a new sport or continue playing something just because they enjoy it and want to be part of a team. Students who want to have the team experience, but don’t love actually playing sports can serve as team managers, photographers, scorekeepers, etc. We also offer the “Underground Lifting Society” after school, one of our longtime and most popular athletic activities, for students who want a guided personal training program in the Fitness Room (which is named for its “underground” location in our basement).
Extracurricular activities also include drama, music, academics teams, and more. Our National Youth Arts Award-winning theatre program includes musicals, comedies, dramas, and student-written short works. In 2020-21, affected, of course, by the COVID-19 pandemic, we offered a fall virtual production of short plays by various playwrights that we dubbed Reindeer Games; and rehearsals have begun for our spring production of Almost, Maine (a short-play collection by John Cariani), which will also be done virtually. Student-written plays come out of our Playwriting elective, which is taught by Actors Theatre personnel; these plays are also submitted to the Actors Theatre New Voices contest and we’ve had three SFS student plays honored in that competition over the years. Recent musicals have included Chicago (2020) and Little Shop of Horrors (2018).
For singers and/or musicians, in addition to the bi-annual musical and a music performance and theory classes, we offer a jazz ensemble and a vocal ensemble (and we welcome students to access practice space, including a grand piano, an upright piano, and a keyboard) during free periods. Students have the opportunity to audition into local, regional, and national honor choirs and bands, and our students have had great success in being selected for these honors.
Academic teams include Varsity and JV Quick Recall teams, Governor’s Cup, Science Olympiad, and Math League. Throughout our history, as well as in recent years, we have regularly won our Quick Recall league and tournament (playing against all the other area private schools), sent students to the State Governor’s Cup competition in various subject areas and Quick Recall, advanced as a team to the State level in Science Olympiad competition, and had top-10 Math League finishers.
In addition, we offer Kentucky Youth Assembly (KYA) and Kentucky United Nations Assembly (KUNA), which are some of our most popular extracurricular activities at St. Francis. These are statewide YMCA-sponsored programs that stretch over a long weekend in fall or spring, with the St. Francis group earning Delegation of Distinction or Excellence and/or Best Bill Packet honors several times in recent years. Prior to the pandemic, we had received a scholarship to take a group of students to a Model UN Assembly in New York at the actual United Nations, and we hope to be able to make that trip in the future!
Aspiring writers and photographers work on the Literary Magazine and the Yearbook every year, and have the opportunity to compose and publish novels as part of the annual National Novel Writing Month project (NaNoWriMo). In addition, we’ve had great success with students being accepted into the Kentucky Museum of Art + Craft annual KMAC Couture event, with SFS students’ designed couture walking the runway in this city-wide show that includes the work of mostly adult artists for the last several years.
Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) organizations abound at St. Francis; they meet weekly and are open to all. The Black Students Association, Gender Rights and Equity Initiative, Multicultural Students Association, and Queer Students Association meet weekly and discuss various topics, usually with student-led presentations. They invite speakers to meet with their groups or sometimes the entire school, and plan themed weeks and other programs throughout the year. AFRO (Afro-Americans Fighting Racism and Oppression) and Q-Club are affinity groups within BSA and QSA, respectively. Four of our DEI student leaders had the opportunity to attend this year’s virtual Student Diversity Leadership Conference, held annually by the National Association of Independent Schools.
A hallmark of the St. Francis extracurricular experience is the ability to easily start new clubs. The Encouragement Club, whose goal is to brighten the day of everyone in the SFS community; the Climate Club, focused on environmental education and advocacy; the Justice Book Club, which reads and discusses selected works; and special-interest groups like the Cereal Club, the Cheese Club, the Film Club, and the Anime Club, were started by and are fully run by students.
From athletics that provide opportunities for elite athletes as well as those who just love to play, to wide-ranging extracurricular activities that suit everyone from the artistic to the intellectual, to an ever-changing group of clubs that match the interest of just about any student at St. Francis, everyone finds a way to get involved beyond the classroom and help create a vibrant student life at St. Francis!