St. Philip is a small school with a big heart which created a constant problem.

“We have all of these kids who want to be involved in clubs,” St. Philip student services director Kyra. Rabbitt said. “In the past, there was just not enough time in the day for students or teachers, especially with sports practices after school.”

When St. Philip switched to a six-class day this year, it created a pocket of time. Mrs. Rabbitt saw an opportunity. Why not schedule club time into the school day?

“This way both teachers and students have time to pursue outside activities and passions,” Mrs. Rabbitt said.

It sounds good on paper, but how did it work out in practice?

“Honestly, it’s been better than I thought it would be,” Mrs. Rabbitt said. “There is so much more student leadership. It’s awesome.”

St. Philip math teacher Debbie Evans, who leads the Eco Club, agrees.

“Every student has access to club time, without the worries of transportation or schedule coordination,” Ms. Evans said. “There is also less chance of stigmatization. It’s not like, ‘If I am a member of a club, people might think I am goofy’. We are all in it. It’s just how we operate.”

One of the biggest benefits of the new format is universal engagement, instead of extra-curricular “haves” and “have-nots”.

“[Before] we had some really involved students and then students who were involved with nothing,” Mrs. Rabbitt said. “To be college and career ready, everybody needs to be involved in something. I can now say with fidelity 100% of students at St. Philip are involved.”

These are just some of the STP club highlights:

Eco Club: Members have been researching rooftop gardens in hopes of constructing one in Battle Creek. They are also exploring the feasibility of an indoor greenhouse on campus to help raise the seedlings needed.

Student Government: Student officers now have a dedicated day to meet with staff and discuss issues, events, and fundraising, which they then share with their respective classes during weekly class meetings.

Freshmen class officers Miles McCullin, Harleen Deol, Hayden Schaub, and Parker Farrington conduct research for Spirit Week using old St. Philip yearbooks.

Creative Writing Club: Aspiring authors now have regular creation time.

Choir: These talented musicians select and lead the music for Friday school Masses.

Science Club: Our young scientists have already made news and a donation to the University of Michigan’s Museum of Paleontology. Read our blog post: St. Philip’s Homegrown Paleontologists.

St. Philip’s homegrown paleontologists at U of M’s Museum of Paleontology. Front row (from left to right): Miklo Hernandez-Mendez, Abby Hill, Lauren McIntyre. Back row (from left to right): Ms. Stephanie Halbert, Faith Scriber, Ellie Stewart, Jon Sonneborn, Maggie Hill, Stacie Sadowski.

Pep Club: Homecoming festivities owe a lot to this robust club. Next up: Catholic Schools Week.

Quiz Bowl Team: Members are looking forward to showcasing their skill during tournaments this spring.

Campus Ministry: Having waged a successful “change war”, these students gave gift cards to the school’s adopted Christmas families.

Yearbook: These students are working hard to capture this school year’s memories.

Members of the St. Philip yearbook staff went to a Jostens Kickoff event in Grand Rapids.

Model UN: Always an active St. Philip Club, the team participated in a December summit and are preparing for their next challenge.

Book Club: Given the wide variety of interests, these students are using this time to follow their literary bliss.

Interact: St. Philip has the only Interact Club in the city. Now 20 members strong, this service club is planning a “Purple Game” to raise money and awareness for Polio eradication. They are fund-raising for Woodlawn Preschool and senior Lilianna Robinson, who will be the first Battle Creek student to go on year-long overseas study for Interact.

St. Philip Interact students entertained the children at the 87th Annual Children’s Christmas Party hosted by Battle Creek Rotary and Cereal City Sunrise Club.

Snow and the seeds of understanding
A real teacher – 30 years and counting
Questions? Call Cathy Erskine at 269.963.1131