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From snicky snacks to recycling, Mrs. Francis leaves legacy

Mrs.+JoAnne+Francis+helps+the+junior+student+council+prepare+for+the+Easter+Egg+Hunt.
Mrs. JoAnne Francis helps the junior student council prepare for the Easter Egg Hunt.

Mrs. JoAnne Francis helps the junior student council prepare for the Easter Egg Hunt.

Mrs. JoAnne Francis helps the junior student council prepare for the Easter Egg Hunt.

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You have been welcomed by LINK leaders, gone to school dances, participated in club meetings, and listened to announcements on the daily, but have you taken the time to get to know the woman behind all these activities? Mrs. JoAnne Francis, Director of Student Activities, is the individual responsible for so many of the events and memories that make Saint Viator into a place that goes beyond academics. While she will be retiring after the school year ends, there is still plenty of time to show appreciation for the woman that makes daily life run smoothly.

Her influence began 18 years ago when she applied to Saint Viator after previously working as an assistant principal at another Catholic school.

“It was like one of those little God moments,” said Mrs. Francis, when the opportunity to apply to Saint Viator presented itself at the perfect time for her. She was accepted as the Director of Student Activities as well as a recruiter. However, Mrs. Francis would have her own impact on the community over the years as she took on more responsibility in student council and began the LINK Crew program that now welcomes every incoming freshman.

“It is a little smaller now, but more diverse with the international program and other communities,” said Mrs. Francis. “It’s a kinder place that is more compassionate and service-oriented and students treat each other like family members.”

When she began, Mrs. Francis felt the school needed a way to connect upperclassmen and freshmen in a positive way, so she created LINK Crew. Its influence now carries over to all grade levels as students help guide new freshmen when they are lost or sing alongside them in the musical.

“My job is to create memories,” said Mrs. Francis. “Students can learn a whole lot outside of the classroom. It is important for me to support and advocate for the students.”

In terms of student council, Mrs. Francis is working with representatives and officers daily to carry out the many events that the group is responsible for: Homecoming, Turnabout, Prom, the Easter Egg Hunt, the Halloween Fun Fair and the Talent Show to name a few.

“It is such a delight to watch the students interact with little kids at the fun fairs and to catch them doing good when they are not aware of it,” said Mrs. Francis.

She specifically works with the Inter-Class Council each Tuesday and Thursday to get student input for the major decisions.

“She nurtures students to bring out the best in them and get them to do more than they think they are capable of doing,” said junior student council moderator, Mrs. Ann Perez, who often works alongside Mrs. Francis. “She makes sure to try new ideas so that we are not stuck in a rut.”

However, Mrs. Francis is not only involved in LINK Crew and student council. Additionally, she is the moderator for the EYEsee club, also known as the Student Vision Project, which collects used glasses to be repurposed and sent to countries where people cannot typically afford eye care. So after she announces the clubs during activity schedules, Mrs. Francis is likely running off to her own meeting or others to make sure the day is going as planned.

While she is often on the organizing side of events, Mrs. Francis also participates in activities outside of her responsibilities. She went on four spring break trips to Mississippi as a part of Habitat for Humanity and multiple trips to France with French students.

“It is one of my favorite things and is always rewarding to get to know students outside the school setting,” said Mrs. Francis.

Also, she has been on 12 Kairos retreats beginning with Kairos 50 and finishing with Kairos 81 as her last this year.

“The students love having her on Kairos,” said Campus Minister, Mrs. Nancy Devroy. “She is like a second mom and always puts the interest of the students first.”

Beyond the school day and all the events she commits to, Mrs. Francis makes appearances at  many of the student activities she is not involved in, such as the musical, the play and sporting events.

“She is always a bright, smiling face that I see at school who supports all students regardless of what activities they do,” said junior Kiana Resch. “I will miss her a lot, but I am grateful for all she has done.”

So whether she is just a friendly face in the halls or the moderator of a club that you are in, Mrs. Francis has been an influence to all in the Viatorian community.

“I will miss the students the most,” said Mrs. Francis. “I have drawn my purpose and energy from them for a long time, and they have enriched my life more than they will ever know.”

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From snicky snacks to recycling, Mrs. Francis leaves legacy