Leadership & Love: A Reflection

American Flag

I write to you today as both a parent and an educator. For those who know me, you are well aware that I am rarely at a loss for words, yet last evening I felt speechless. Today, through prayer, I found the words that I’d like to share with you.

If you are upset and frustrated after watching last night’s presidential debate, you are not alone. Policy issues aside, this event featured behavior that would be completely unacceptable in our classrooms. In fact, some of the behavior exhibited on that national stage would result in a school suspension or expulsion!

The politicians and pundits will likely continue to argue. As LCA educators, however, we will recommit ourselves to the important work of teaching respect and thoughtful conversation & dialogue. As people of faith, we will renew our commitment to form our students in humility, compassion, kindness, and social & moral justice. As academic leaders, we will rededicate ourselves to the intellectual tradition of Lakewood Catholic Academy that values truth and distinguishes the difference between facts and opinions. Since the world can’t look to our political leaders for this noble work, the world will look to us, the educators of tomorrow’s leaders. This is a heavy burden to carry during an already challenging year, but we will carry this work forward, because it is at the heart of our mission.

One small, tangible way that we at Lakewood Catholic Academy aim to build a more respectful and peaceful world is the incorporation of our communications class in both the seventh and eighth grade curricula. This class helps our students learn effective public speaking skills and introduces them to the art of true debate. As a former speech and debate competitor and coach, I assure you that our students are capable of more competent and constructive debate than what was televised last evening.

As the tumultuous political season continues to rage on, please be aware that, as a Catholic school, we do not endorse specific political candidates in our classroom conversations. Our teachers strive to share balanced perspectives when asked questions by our inquisitive students, and they regularly suggest that students share those questions with you, their parents. We encourage you to take time to thoughtfully and patiently discuss those issues that your children may bring to you.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops recently reissued a document entitled Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship. The guidance provided within that document states, in part:

Our commitment as people of faith to imitate Christ’s love and compassion should challenge us to serve as models of civil dialogue, especially in a context where discourse is eroding at all levels of society. Where we live, work, and worship, we strive to understand before seeking to be understood, to treat with respect those with whom we disagree, to dismantle stereotypes, and to build productive conversation in place of vitriol.

While there is indeed a heaviness to the issues we face today, there is also an undeniable source of hope. My son and your children have the benefit of being part of a school community and a faith that teach love – a radical love, Christ’s love, a love that knows no bounds, embraces differences, mercifully forgives and calls forth compassion. The type of love the world so desperately needs.

In the midst of national and global distress, I hope this brings you some peace. Your children are taught love. Yes, they will learn our first-class curriculum, complete with all the subjects with which you are familiar, but of greater importance, they will learn love and kindness. May God continue to hold us close, and may the love shared within the walls of LCA and the love experienced in your own family inspire and empower our children to heal a broken world.

With Love,
Brian Sinchak

Looking Back | Looking Forward

A Message from the President

I don’t know about you, but, even with Cedar Point still closed, I don’t find myself yearning for the thrill of a rollercoaster just yet. Life itself has provided quite the ride lately. Over the last several weeks and months, I’ve experienced beautiful and joy-filled moments, including graduation celebrations for our tiny saints in our preschool program, as well as our kindergarten saints and our beloved eighth grade students. I’ve also experienced the deep sadness of disconnection from family and friends due to the COVID-19 health crisis. I’ve been inspired by the amazing work of our Early Childcare Program staff as they lovingly cared for children throughout the pandemic, and I have been encouraged by the social justice projects completed by our community – even during school closure. I’ve also been shaken to my core by the acts of racism and violence that have gripped our country. Tears and laughter, prayer and work – they are all part of these difficult days. It has been and continues to be quite the ride, not just for me, but perhaps for you as well.

In some ways, this wild journey may feel like we are approaching the apocalypse – a roller coaster drop to our doom. I’ve learned from writer Krista Tippett, however, that this Greek word apocalypse does not mean a catastrophic undoing. It means an uncovering — the lifting of a veil. The current realities of our world have indeed uncovered reckonings we must bravely walk toward if we are to become wise and whole as individuals, communities and institutions. This is not easy, but nothing worthwhile ever is. Will we create a more just, fair and safe world for our children — all of our children?

I hope so. Sometimes hope is all it takes to roll up your sleeves and get to work. Empowered by that hope, we have started to work, and will continue to do so, not just as individuals, but as a Catholic school community dedicated to bringing the Kingdom of God more fully into this world. Simultaneously, we will continue the necessary work to live out our mission as an International Baccalaureate World School committed to the development of inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect.

LCA Saints At-Home Hero Unit


In reflecting on the survey results regarding our Saints At-Home Learning Program, I was moved by the thoughtful comments shared by our parent community. Overwhelmingly, you supported our work and approach while still providing insightful suggestions for consideration as we move forward. One parent noted the important and timely work our middle school students completed during their interdisciplinary study of their biographical hero unit. In that unit, our students examined the lives of five incredible women and five incredible men – six were people of color, four were citizens of other countries, and all were people who changed the world in some significant way. When we planned this course of study in March, we couldn’t have imagined the parallels our students would discover between their school work and their world.

As the world was learning more and more about the coronavirus, our students examined the global pandemic of polio. As the world watched a space mission blast off, our students learned the history of NASA and the lessons learned from courageous exploration. As the Amazon rainforest burned, affecting global climate and animal life, our students studied the lives of those who work to conserve the natural world we all share. As the world awakened to racial injustice, our students read about the long history of struggle of Black Americans through poetic expression. And finally, as the world protested and rioted against racism, our students examined the history and power of nonviolent revolutions and the importance of prayer and reflection.

Saint Mother Teresa was one of the heroes our students studied, and in reflecting on her legacy, Father Gregory Boyle wrote,

She diagnosed the world’s ills in this way: we’ve just “forgotten that we belong to each other.” Kinship is what happens to us when we refuse to let that happen. With kinship as the goal, other essential things fall into place; without it, no justice, no peace. I suspect that were kinship our goal, we would no longer be promoting justice—we would be celebrating it.”

As is the case with all of our teaching, it is our hope and prayer that these lessons not only find their way into our students’ minds, but also their hearts. This is how the world changes.

Students with Mother Teresa Statue Student with Gandhi Statue


We have significant work ahead of us. I know personally I am committing to doing some deep listening, reading and reflecting on how it is I can walk in the footsteps of some of the heroes our students studied, as well as how I can more closely follow the greatest hero of all, Jesus, who was fully committed to radical equality. Professionally, my administrative team and I will be working tirelessly this summer to continue to improve and enrich our innovative curriculum, create and install new health and safety features and protocols, as well as prepare new distance learning options for our students.

We are moving forward boldly with donor-sponsored renovations to our campus, including our school chapel and the creation of a new, state-of-the-art Innovation Lab. The pairing of these improvements offers a great lesson on the importance of adapting to new technologies without losing sight of the timeless tradition of prayer.

For those who may be worried about school structure in the fall, please know that Lakewood Catholic Academy will be ready to open and safely serve our students and families to the full extent allowed by our state government. Thanks to the more than 100 students enrolled in our early childhood program this summer, we already have experience with the new health and safety protocols. We will be excited to welcome your children back to campus in the fall. For those parents who might want their children to spend some time at home during the year ahead, please know that we will have distance learning options available for you as well.

As always, we will keep you informed throughout the summer months as we receive information and guidelines from the state government. While there may seem to be great uncertainly, please be certain of this…my team and I will adapt to whatever is tossed our way and will create an engaging educational experience for every little saint entrusted to our care. Speaking strictly as a parent myself, there is no better educational team that I would want to lead my family through a global pandemic than the one in place at Lakewood Catholic Academy.

We See in You the Glory of the Lord

If you find yourself on a rollercoaster this summer (either real or emotional), I encourage you to be gentle with yourself and others, and, above all, to hold on to hope. If you need a reason to hope, allow me to remind you of the inspiring work of a 2016 Lakewood Catholic Academy graduate, Chloe Becker, who will be studying at Harvard University in the fall.

Last summer, long before global protests demanding racial justice, Chloe began an artistic project focused on strengthening the Catholic Church’s voice against racism. Chloe shared her gift by creating a unique mural in the third and fourth grade wing of our campus that depicts primarily underrepresented Saints of color. In the mural, Saints are reaching down from heaven toward the Sacred Heart, holding flowers from their native lands. The words above the mural are taken from a worship hymn, We See in You the Glory of the Lord.

I see the Glory of the Lord shining brightly in Chloe, and this gives me hope. If LCA was one small part of Chloe’s formation, and it made a difference, then we have the opportunity to help form all of our student saints. These saints, tomorrow’s global leaders, are increasingly called to see the Glory of the Lord reflected in people unlike themselves, to go forth to serve others, and, in ways both big and small, to change the world.

Be a Saint!
Brian Sinchak

LCA Green Ribbon School Award Winner

U.S. Secretary of Education Names Lakewood Catholic Academy a 2017 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School
The U.S. Department of Education announced that Lakewood Catholic Academy is among the 2017 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools award honorees.

 LCA was nominated by the Ohio Department of Education and was the only school in the state recognized this year!
The aim of U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools is to inspire schools to strive for 21st century excellence, by highlighting promising practices and resources that all can employ. Across the country, 45 schools, nine districts, and nine postsecondary institutions are being honored for their innovative efforts to reduce environmental impact and utility costs, improve health and wellness, and ensure effective sustainability education.
President Brian Sinchak stated, “Lakewood Catholic Academy is proud to receive this national recognition, but more importantly, we are proud of our students and educators who are passionate about caring for God’s creation in thoughtful and innovative ways.”
Brenna Warrell, Dean of Academics, commented, “This award represents many years of hard work and dedication on the part of our faculty, students, and LCA community. Everyone at LCA takes pride in being a Saintly Steward.”
Lakewood Catholic Academy Environmental Leadership Team 

Leah Nagy, Fourth Grade Teacher

Brenna Warrell, Dean of Academics

Ed Kroeger, Director of Facilities

Ken Rogozinski, Chairman of the Facilities Committee of the Board
More information on the federal recognition award can be found here.

While LCA will officially accept the award this summer in Washington, we are planning a school celebration with our students prior to the end of this year. We will keep you updated.

LCA Applies to be an International Baccalaureate Candidate School

In a unique partnership with St. Edward High School, Lakewood Catholic Academy will apply to become an IB Candidate School offering the Middle Years Programme in April 2015. This innovative and research-based approach to curriculum and instruction will be a guiding force behind our academic strategic plan.

What is the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme?

The MYP is designed for students aged 11 to 16. It provides a framework of learning that encourages students to become creative, critical and reflective thinkers. The MYP emphasizes intellectual challenge, encouraging students to make connections between their studies in traditional subjects and the real world. It fosters the development of skills for communication, intercultural understanding and global engagement – essential qualities for young people who are becoming global leaders.

The International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme:

  • addresses holistically students’ intellectual, social, emotional and physical well-being
  • provides students opportunities to develop the knowledge, attitudes and skills they need in order to manage complexity and take responsible action for the future
  • ensures breadth and depth of understanding through study in eight subject groups
  • requires the study of at least two languages (language of instruction and additional language of choice) to support students in understanding their own cultures and those of others
  • empowers students to participate in service within the community
  • helps to prepare students for further education, the workplace

There will be information sessions in the spring of 2015 to explain more about this exciting partnership and instructional programme.

Top Academic Honors!

Congratulations to Lakewood Catholic Academy’s Academic Challenge Team that participated in the 4th Annual St. Ignatius Annual Brain Brawl on Saturday, October 15. The team consisting of Michael Donnelly, Ryan Grace, Cesar Olivera-Cerpa, and Eric Larsen pulled out an exciting 45 – 43 championship win over Incarnate Word Academy in the final round to regain the coveted Ober Cup that will remain at LCA until next year’s competition. This is the second time in four years that LCA has won this academic competition.

Fall Sports Round-Up!

Lakewood Catholic Academy is proud of its athletic program.  Our LCA Saints not only work hard in the classroom but also in athletic competition.  Here are some highlights from the 2014 Fall Sports Season . . . Go Saints!

Cross Country CYO and Intramural

Over 100 student athletes were members of the Lakewood Catholic Academy Cross Country Team this season. Lead by 14 volunteer coaches, the team participated in four divisions and eight meets. There were individual successes at all levels of competition, most results would find many LCA individuals in the top ten and our team results in the top half of the competition. Most of the team members improved their personal results each week and everyone improved over the course of the season.

  • Boys Cadet (5th & 6th grade) team won the season series competition
  • Boys Cadet team won the Diocesan Championship
  • Henry Raynor, Jack O’Sullivan and Freddy Becker were each top 10 finishers at the Cadet Championship meet
  • Abby Sacha was a top 10 finisher in the girls division of the Cadet Championship
  • Supported by more than 20 volunteers LCA once again sponsored and helped run the cadet championship meet held at Edgewater Park on October 11th


Our varsity football team, coached by Brendan Grady, returned to the City Championship for the first time in several years. They advanced to the semifinals defeating our rival St. Chris 27-18 before falling short to St. Raphael.

The highlight for our JV football team, coached by Jim Sowinski, was earning a 26-7 victory over St. Angela. They played tough in the CYO tournament, losing 7-0 on a fumble recovery to a team that had previously beat them.


Our 8th grade team, coached by Maggi Szczepaniak, earned a runner-up trophy in the LCA tournament. They lost in two sets in a competitive match against St. Paschal. They also advanced to the second round of the CYO City Championship. Our 6th grade team, also coached by Maggi Szczepaniak, earned a seed in the CYO tournament and advanced to the second round. We also fielded a 5th grade team as well as two 4th grade teams.

Sportsmanship Awards

Our other 8th grade volleyball team, coached by Gretchen Bulan, and our varsity football team both earned the prestigious CYO Sportsmanship Award. The Diocese of Cleveland CYO awards the Sportsmanship Award to those teams who exemplify extraordinary good sportsmanship and Christian values.

Faith. Vision. Courage.

Faith. Vision.Courage.These are the virtues at the heart of the Lakewood Catholic Academy story and they remain at the heart of our mission today.We celebrate these virtues as we honor the 10th anniversary of LCA – a school that courageously defied the odds and has grown to become an innovative model in Catholic elementary education.

As a school family we rely on these same virtues as we strategically chart the future direction of LCA.We remain committed to our Catholic faith, the partnership with our supporting parishes and the Sisters of Charity of Saint Augustine. We will continue to develop new ways to form our young boys and girls into young men and woman inspired to serve the Church and the world.

We will continue to be a visionary leader in Catholic education. We will continue to recruit and retain talented teachers. We will develop new strategies to financially assist families who want to be a part of our community. We will continue to grow our enrollment by giving each child the most exceptional beginning to their education – for in the end it is the beginning that counts.

We will continue to act with courage in bold and daring ways to live out our mission. We will give our children the world by becoming Ohio’s first Catholic school to offer the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program. We will also create a vibrant and unique 5th-8th grade middle school experience for our students here on our beautiful lakeshore campus.

Just as there were challenges ten years ago, there will be challenges ahead. Together we will face these challenges with the same faith, vision and courage that helped us achieve our current success.

I invite you to become our partner in this important mission. We need your faith, vision and courage. Your prayerful support and financial assistance to the Fund for LCA will make the difference. Contribute today and be part of an inspiring story of success.

Be a Saint!

Brian Sinchak President

New dining service for our school lunch program

We are excited to have a new dining service for our school lunch program this year. We have entered into a partnership with the Salerno Restaurant Group to completely revise and reimagine our dining services. This innovative partnership will position Lakewood Catholic Academy as an educational leader in student dining services.

Our mission is to provide food that nourishes both the body and the mind and fuels productive learning. Research indicates that brain development and growth depend on nutrition and lay the foundation for learning and behavior. A healthy, balanced diet can help your child reach his or her full potential for concentration, memory, focus and mental capacity.

Our new dining service will provide:

  • a variety of freshly-made quality whole foods that are not processed
  • no food dyes
  • no corn syrups
  • no artificial ingredients or unhealthy preservatives

Additionally, due to a generous donor, we were able to purchase a point of sale software program that you will be able to use in conjunction with our dining service to order lunches online and load money into your child’s account and even monitor what your child is purchasing. Furthermore, this system enables you to note your child’s dietary needs and allergies. This system is state-of-the-art and does not require your child to remember codes; rather, it uses biometric technology with a fingerprint scan.