Category Archives: General School News

Dr. Amy-Jill Levine kicks off Pope Week

Mr. Deely, Dr. Levine, Dr. Peper

In honor of our namesake’s upcoming feast day on Sunday, we kicked off Pope Week on Monday with a presentation delivered by Dr. Amy-Jill Levine, University Professor of New Testament and Jewish Studies at Vanderbilt Divinity School and College of Arts and Sciences. Her presentation, titled “Agreeing to Disagree: How Jews and Christians Read Scripture Differently,” analyzed the history of various Biblical accounts and explained how different factors, such as translation and punctuation, change the meaning of these stories for the two groups. This lecture was truly a great way to open Pope Week, given St. John Paul II’s focus on Jewish-Christian relations during his papacy. We would like to thank Dr. Levine for joining us on this special week!

Two Seniors Named National Merit Commended Scholars

Pope John Paul II High School is proud to announce two National Merit Commended Scholars: Cainie Brown and Clare Steiner.

Cainie Brown, a St. Joseph School alumna and a parishioner at Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church, has taken a total of 12 AP classes while at JPII and is currently taking AP Microeconomics, Macroeconomics, English Literature, 2D Art, Psychology, Biology and BC Calculus. She is a Lead Ambassador, founder of the Kindness Club, and is a member of the National Honor Society, National Art Honor Society, International Thespian Society, Veritas Council, and the theatre program at JPII. Cainie is currently completing an internship at Vanderbilt Endocrinology, working with non-human primate pancreas samples. She is also actively involved in the Diocesan Catholic Youth Office, attending their March For Life trips annually and serving as a leader at Youth Leadership Workshop and SEARCH. She has made the Headmaster’s List every semester of her high school career. Cainie is interested in attending the University of Chicago, Rhodes College, Trinity College or Vanderbilt University in the fall.

Clare Steiner, a graduate of Overbrook School and parishioner at Cathedral of the Incarnation, has taken eight AP courses while at JPII and is currently taking AP Macroeconomics, Microeconomics, United States Government and AB Calculus. She is a Lead Ambassador, captain of the Knights Girls Tennis team, and is a member of the Chamber Choir, the a cappella group Voices uKnighted, Model UN, and One Pretty Dress. Clare has been named to the Honor Roll every semester of her high school career. She is interested in attending Washington & Lee University, Davidson College, or the Honors Colleges at Villanova University or the University of South Carolina next fall.

Congratulations to these two students on receiving this great honor!

Eva Nsengiyumva Speaks to NCBWL

Eva’s mother Marie-Odile Umuhire, Eva, and Eva’s sister Alaynna

Junior Eva Nsengiyumva, recipient of the Nashville Catholic Business Women’s League scholarship, recently spoke to the group at their September meeting. She explained how her experience at JPII has shaped her into the young woman she is today. She shared how she has been encouraged by her teachers to set her goals high and strive for success, which she continues to do by taking three AP classes this year (AP US History, AP Language and Composition, and AP Chemistry). Eva shared that even her participation in extracurricular activities such as volleyball, piano, and Model UN have helped her to become more confident in her ability to achieve her goals. “My achievements would not have been possible without the knowledgeable and caring teachers, friends, and organizations such as the Nashville Catholic Business Women’s League,” said Eva in her closing remarks.

Eva is a perfect candidate for the NCBWL scholarship – meeting their desire to support the education of young women who reflect the life of Catholic teaching and good works. Eva made an impression before even becoming a student at JPII, recalls John Cooper, Director of Admissions. “I remember Eva when she came through the admissions process as an eighth grader. I knew when I met her that she was smart, determined, and certain to do great things at JPII and beyond,” said Cooper. Eva is one of many Holy Rosary Academy alumni making the most of their educational opportunities at JPII.

Apply now for 2018-2019 School Year

Newgarden Wins 2017 IndyCar Series

JPII has a connection with 2017 IndyCar Champion Josef Newgarden. Newgarden attended JPII his freshman and sophomore years and left JPII to pursue his dream of being an IndyCar driver in 2007. Mr. Mike McLaren remembers Newgarden as a bright and talented student full of passion for the race car industry. In fact, McLaren recalls Newgarden telling him his freshman year that he was “going to be a famous race car driver”. Dismissing the comment at the time, McLaren is pleasantly surprised and genuinely happy for Newgarden’s success, as is Mrs. Jennifer Smith. Smith, a longtime Indy fan also remembers Newgarden. In fact, she attended the Indy 500 the year Newgarden first participated in the race. Smith has been following Newgarden’s career for the past 10 years and is very excited for him.

A native of Hendersonville, Newgarden returned for a quick visit on September 20th. The Hendersonville Standard hosted a press conference for him at Drakes Creek Park where many locals gathered to welcome him home. Among those attending were Mrs. Michelle Barber, Director of Admissions and Advancement and Mrs. Jo Lind Weaver, Alumni Relations Officer. During their conversation, Newgarden recalled JPII fondly and reminisced about playing ping-pong with Golden Tate in the Commons area. Mrs. Barber invited Newgarden to visit JPII and speak to the student body in the future, an invitation we all look forward to him accepting.

For more stories on Newgarden visit and FoxNews.

Barber, Newgarden, Weaver


Upcoming Alumni Events


Saturday evening, November 25th – Thanksgiving Social, Bar Louie

Time: TBA



Saturday, December 15th –  JPII AlumKnights Basketball Games @ 6:00

This longstanding tradition is one of our most popular gatherings. No matter if you play or just watch the game, you will find yourself back on the court cheering for the AlumKnights!

The Women’s game will begin at 6:00 pm. The Men’s game will begin at 7:00 pm.

If you would like to play, please email 


Saturday, December 16th– JPII Young AlumKnights Winterfest 

6:00PM – 9:00PM

Winterfest is an alumni event for the JPII Classes of 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017! 

Please join us on the JPII Campus for an evening of music, dancing, food, games, and fellowship.

Mass (optional) will begin in the JPII Chapel at 6:00 pm. All AlumKnights will receive a special blessing before heading over to the Commons for the inaugural launch of a new social, Winterfest 2017. Winterfest will begin immediately following Mass at 7:00 pm.

RSVP to Mary Leonard at


Date TBD-  AlumKnights Hockey Game 

The date is up in the air, but make no mistake, you will want a seat on the glass at this game! If you would like to attend or play, please email Once we have your contact information, we will alert you about date, time and place! 



ThursdayJanuary 4th– AlumKnight Luncheon and All-School Mass 

(In honor of all JPII Alumni) 

For those working AlumKnights, take a break from your day job . . For those AlumKnight students, stop by JPII before you head back to school for your second semester! We have a special blessing for you all and we want to treat you to lunch!

10:00 am– Mass begins in the Auditorium 

11:00 am– Alumni Luncheon in the Library 

RSVP to Mary Leonard at

Three Seniors Named National Merit Semifinalists

AnMei Little, William Fussell, Alexandria Ficarro

Pope John Paul II High School is proud to announce three National Merit Semifinalists: Alexandria Ficarro, William Fussell, and AnMei Little. This is the largest number of National Merit Semifinalists from any school in Sumner County. These students will now compete to become a National Merit Finalist (announced in February 2018). Congratulations Alexandria, William, and AnMei! We are proud of you and all you have accomplished so far at JPII.

For more information see the official Press Release.

Hannah Grubbs honored at Newcomer’s Club of Sumner County

The Newcomer’s Club of Sumner County recently honored freshman, Hannah Grubbs and her charity, BOWS & BALLCAPS as the Charity of the Month. Hannah took time out of her busy school schedule to speak to the members about her charity, why she started it, and who benefits. Hannah was diagnosed with Alopecia Areata, a rare condition causing baldness, when she was not quite one year old. She has dedicated much of her time and energy over the last four years to her charity, which she founded in 2013 at the age of ten. Her mission is to “encourage other kids to be comfortable and confident being bald and to remind them that it is what’s on the inside that really matters.”  Find out how you can support Hannah’s charity at BOWS & BALLCAPS.



Honors Anatomy & Physiology Students Prepare to Study Skin Disorders

Young scientists in Mrs. Terrill’s Honors Anatomy & Physiology class use a number of materials to develop models of the skin and its accessory structures. Students will use this foundation to discuss skin disorders in the coming week. Just another example of the hands-on instruction at JPII!




Online Media Students Attend Workshop

Students of Mr. Patton’s Online Media program attended the Tennessee High School Press Association’s Fall Workshop at Lipscomb University on September 11th. Students were able to attend sessions about producing videos, live streaming events, using social media for marketing, recording content for radio journalism, and more. Pictured here are Tessa Herzer, Jack Julow, and Katy Beth Boyers with NewsChannel 5 anchor Rhori Johnston, the event’s keynote speaker.