As the Cathedral school of the Diocese of Knoxville, our charism includes developing SHCS students into Christian leaders who will transform society.  We believe that leadership is learned through the example of mature Christian role models and through experience and opportunity. The Latin expression discimus agendo (“we learn by doing”) holds true, and this is one of the pillars of our philosophy. We intentionally provide daily moments for children to learn to lead.

Examples of these opportunities to learn to lead are easy to find in our school:


Catholic Leadership Seminar

One of the electives offered to middle school students is the Catholic Leadership Seminar.  This course discusses how Catholics can serve as faith-filled Christian leaders in an increasingly secular world and advance the Kingdom of God on Earth by serving in various leadership capacities.  A special highlight of this class is the guest speakers, who are Catholic leaders themselves, such as Bishop Richard Stika (left). 


National Junior Honor Society

Qualifying SHCS Middle School students are invited to join the National Junior Honor Society in the spring of seventh grade.  This national organization recognizes students who have demonstrated excellence in the areas of scholarship, service, leadership, character, and citizenship. 


Community Service

Active participation to better our community is a huge component of student leadership and daily at SHCS.  In 2017, middle school students completed more than 3,500 hours of community service, and in 2018, the graduating eighth-graders completed more than 1,000 hours alone. They supported causes including Catholic Charities, Samaritan Place, Under the Bridge Ministry, KARM, and Second Harvest Food Bank, to which they donated 120 turkeys at Thanksgiving. More than 100 students participated in Kids Walk this spring. 


Mass Preparation

During each of the twice weekly daily masses that SHCS students attend, they have the opportunity to lead the congregation in prayer by serving as lectors, cantors, and altar servers. 



Students demonstrate leadership and develop character and sportsmanship though participation in one of the 26 athletic teams available to students in grades K-8.


Student Councils

SHCS students have the opportunity to collaborate and problem-solve as members of two student councils: one for middle school and another for fourth and fifth grades.


The Lives of the Saints

SHCS students across all grades engage in scholarship about the lives of the Saints and learn from their examples as templates for Christian living. 


Middle School Meetings

Students gain valuable leadership and organizational skills by planning and leading the weekly Middle School Meetings on Tuesday mornings.



Faculty and staff at SHCS provide positive reinforcement to students through the merit system.  Each month, a virtuous behavior is studied school-wide and merit slips are awarded as that virtue is lived out.

speech pic

Public Speaking

Students in eighth grade are invited to take the speech elective, during which they will participate in the Optimist Club’s annual oratorical competition.  This international contest evaluates speeches given by students of all ages.  SHCS students regularly qualify for the district and regional competitions and have placed well at both.