By Matt Lincoln
As the entire student body gathers to celebrate Mass, all people are united in a faith-filled community.
A sea of blue, gold and white — dress code colors — floods the bleachers and blankets the floor, while an incredible yet quiet ambience is established. The gentle melodies of the choir produce a sort of serenity and peace, while creating a reverent and holy atmosphere. Regina is at its strongest when united in prayer. Despite the many individual differences that make each student a unique asset to Regina, everyone is connected by faith and an eagerness to love and serve.
Regina provides its students with a safe and nourishing environment to grow academically, emotionally and spiritually. Committed to preparing students for their future endeavors, Regina helps individuals become confident, responsible and positive contributors to society. This is done through academics and service, but also through the teachings of the Catholic faith.
The Catholic identity is an essential component in education at Regina. Named after the Blessed Virgin Mary, Regina aims to enrich the spiritual lives of students so that they may not only learn the word of God and recognize its magnitude, but live their faith. Every day, students start their day with prayer, experience the Bible and encounter Catholic social teaching. Supported by the generous contributions of the four parishes of Iowa City and Coralville, Regina is home to Masses and prayer services on a regular basis.
As kindergarten teacher Julie Lacina stated, “Regina is special to me because of its people: the students, parents, administration and teachers. It is truly a faith-filled family atmosphere. We care about each other and want every student to be the best he or she can be. There are many paths for a student to excel. Academics, sports, drama, speech and music opportunities are encouraged and supported. Our curriculum is challenging, but it is always offered in a supportive and Catholic environment.”
Thanks to devoted faculty and staff members, who shape students into the leaders of tomorrow, Regina is a stimulating environment that compels students to learn and challenges them to venture into new territory. Talented and Gifted coordinator and AP biology teacher Barb Reilly said, “Students at Regina like to learn. They go out of their way to experience things outside their comfort zone.” The elementary school provides students with the foundation to continue their academic and social journey in junior high and high school. Currently, Regina ranks third in the state of Iowa on the 2011 AP Index and is the highest performing nonpublic school in Iowa.
Regina takes pride in the fact that more than 95 percent of its high school students participate in extracurricular activities. Whether it is athletics, drama, band or quiz bowls, students are active. Last fall, the Regina football team took home the state championship trophy, and the boys’ cross country team finished first in the state as well. The girls’ cross country team brought home a third-place trophy at the state meet, and the dance team won two first-place titles at the state competition for hip-hop and jazz routines. The math team finished in second place in Iowa at the Great Plains Math League math competition in the small schools division, and finished second in the nation out of 107 schools at the Junior Engineering Technical Society math competition. From their participation in jazz band to choir, to all-state speech and drama, to art club and Operation Smile, Regina students yearn to be involved and succeed in doing so.
Service is a vital part of one’s journey at Regina, for there is no better way to reflect and enact Jesus’ teachings than to give. Regina Elementary sponsors a service project or collection every month for an organization, while the junior high and high school raised funds for the Christmas Basket Project in December and, most recently, Hunger Happens during Lent. A specific high school, student-run organization is Operation Smile. Students involved collect funds to provide facial reconstructive surgery for children in Third World countries. It is truly a blessing that Regina can integrate faith into all service activities. A unique trait in the student body is eagerness and a willingness to make a difference.
Regina aims to instill in its students a sense of self-worth and achievement, as well as provide them with the tools to live successful and faithful lives. United in one building, a family is created on the first day of kindergarten, and that family blossoms until the last day of senior year. But for most, the strong ties established at Regina last a lifetime. As Elementary Principal Celeste Vincent said, “Regina is special because it takes an ordinary life and changes it to an extraordinary life, forever. Blessed are we, the Catholic school named after Mary, Holy Queen and guiding light for our lives. Your journey in life is forever changed for the better when you enter the halls of Regina.”