At Battle Creek Area Catholic Schools, every family is an extension of the broader school family.

When a member of the Tiger family is going through adversity, it is our duty to remind them that they are not fighting alone through support and prayer.

One recent example occurred when a hush fell over the crowd at C.W. Post Stadium as St. Philip Catholic Central High School junior Brady Lightfoot laid on the field in pain.

It was the second quarter of the football team’s homecoming game against Athens on Sept. 23 when Brady went down from a tackle that dislocated his left hip, breaking a piece of the femoral head and the socket area.

Immediately following the injury, Brady said he was overwhelmed by prayers, well-wishes, cards and overall support from the BCACS community.

“I knew everyone had my back when I was in the hospital,” Brady said. “And having a support system like that helped me take my mind off the injury. It means a lot, just having all that support, and it helps with my emotional wellbeing throughout my recovery.”

Following surgery, Brady continues his road to recovery and is hopeful to join the basketball team by the end of the season.

Brady’s mother, Stacy Lightfoot, is a 1996 graduate of St. Philip and the high school’s administrative assistant. She said she received numerous text messages of support from fellow football moms as head athletic trainer Tom Lawrence and first responders attended to her son.

“He had several of his football players come into the hospital with their parents. And it was very overwhelming to see the amount of support and the amount of love that they showed him because he went through a really dark time,” Stacy said tearfully. “The whole ordeal, it was nothing but full support from our BCACS family.”

The Fighting Tigers rallied to win the game, and the support for Brady continued. St. Philip students met early before school the following morning to pray the Rosary for Brady in front of the grotto with Fr. James Richardson. St. Joseph Elementary and Middle School students created and signed a large banner that welcomed Brady home from the hospital.

Once he was able to use a walker, Brady and Stacy visited classrooms at St. Joseph Elementary to show concerned students that he was OK. He also wanted to personally thank them for their support.

Brady said the injury has taken an emotional toll, as he was looking forward to finishing out a strong season on the gridiron alongside his friends. But the injury has also given him perspective.

“It definitely has made me stronger and made me realize more who all supports me as a person,” Brady said. “When I was bedridden, having those cards and coming home to a huge sign that was laid out in in the living room, just from everybody in the Battle Creek Area Catholic schools just helped me out with my emotional wellbeing.”

That support encapsulates the BCACS experience for the Lightfoot’s and other families who have faced challenges, including my own. In 2019, when our then-9-year-old daughter received a kidney transplant, we too were overwhelmed by the love, prayers and support provided to us by BCACS.

As parents, we chose BCACS because we value faith-based education, high academic standards and opportunities provided to our children. We cherish the relationships, empathy and support extended to everyone in the BCACS family, and are comforted to know that when we are down, our schools are here to help pick us up.

Nick J. Buckley is a freelance journalist and 2003 St. Philip High School graduate. He and his wife, Alexis (Rainier) Buckley (Class of 2004) have two children who attend Battle Creek Area Catholic Schools. To reach him, email


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Questions? Call Cathy Erskine at 269.963.1131