At John Paul II High School in Plano, students have the opportunity to grow into leaders who think critically, communicate effectively and are rooted in faith.

The Catholic college preparatory school offers a variety of rigorous academic programs designed to prepare students for success as well as extracurricular involvement opportunities.

Director of Admissions, Lauren Westerfield said 95% of students at JPII participate in co-curricular activities ranging from athletics and dance to academic decathlon teams and robotics.


JPII junior Charlotte Blank takes full advantage of the school’s academic and extracurricular options, and was named as the recipient of the 2023 Hal Tehan Scholar Award. The annual award recognizes one high school student from a local Catholic high school each year.

Blank was nominated by JPII not only for her involvement in a number of academic organizations, including the National Honor Society, Science National Honor Society, National English Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta, and Sociedad Honoraria Hispanica, but also for her active participation in the Plano community and her demonstrated Catholic values. She is also a three-year member of JPII’s cheerleading squad and a two-year member of the women’s lacrosse team.

“I was so touched and felt like it was a pat on the back from God that I’m doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing,” Blank said in the JPII news release. “It’s motivating to serve, and I look forward to doing more. I’m even more motivated to continue down the path that God has laid out for me and feel so thankful and blessed.”

Outside the classroom, Blank is president of her National Charity League Class of 2024. The NCL is a philanthropy program for mothers and daughters grades 7-12 and supports a variety of areas including food pantries, performing arts, women’s health and more.

Blank is also a squad leader for a group of The Storehouse of Collin County volunteers and is involved with Minnie’s Food Pantry, North Texas Performing Arts, and Feed My Starving Children.


Director of Catholic Identity Nicholas Brandt said in addition to its extracurricular offerings, JPII also encourages its students to grow in their faith.

“We seek to serve the community and overall well-being of earth,” he said. “It’s service branded with a little bit of faith.”

For JPII junior Jimmy Hademenos, his faith comes in the form of music. Since his sophomore year, Hademenos has provided the piano and organ music for all school Masses at JPII.

In his community, he plays the organ for Masses every Saturday and Sunday at St. Bernard of Clairvaux as well as in the contemporary teen band at St. Monica Catholic Church on Sunday evenings.

In January 2023, Hademenos was awarded the 2023 Bishop’s Award for Service for his passion for music and service to the St. Bernard community.

“It’s something I truly love,” Hademenos said. “For me, music is how I give back. It is how I celebrate my faith. I pray to God through my music every single time I play.”

In addition to playing the piano and organ at JPII, Hademenos is also involved with campus ministry, peer ministry, praise-and-worship and the school ambassador program.


Dean of Innovation and Academic Programs Melissa Downs said JPII also offers students an opportunity to serve their communities through the Social Innovation Lab. Students in the unique class can work alongside community partners to come up with a solution for a social issue. The class uses “design-based thinking” to create actionable solutions to real-world problems.

Most recently, students in the Social Innovation Lab collaborated with the City of Plano, Texas Conservation Alliance, and One Earth One Chance to raise community awareness about the benefits of native plants.

During the project, 13 students worked along Pittman Creek in Buckhorn Park to plant 150 native plants in a buffer zone along the bank.

“Just by starting with little efforts, it can make a big impact on others around us,” SIL student Brady Pampillonia said.


This year, Athletic Director George Teague announced seven JPII student-athletes who signed National Letters of Intent to play for their college’s sports team.

Three students signed in November 2022:
  • Marcella Jaques - University of North Dakota (Softball)
  • Derrick Mitchell - Louisiana State University (Baseball)
  • Lydia Cooke-Wiggins - Stephen F. Austin State University (Basketball)
Four students signed in February 2023:
  • Taylor Haggan - St. Mary's University – San Antonio (Basketball)
  • Sydney Wade - LeTourneau University (Basketball)
  • Justin Blancaflor - East Texas Baptist University (Baseball)
  • Kendall McDowell - Seminole State College - Oklahoma (Baseball)
JPII is sponsored by the Diocese of Dallas and serves the greater Collin County area. Since opening in 2005, the school has based its mission and values off of the legacy of St. John Paul II.

“We encourage and empower our students to walk in the footsteps of St. John Paul II and develop into critical thinkers, effective communicators, servant leaders, that are rooted in faith,” JPII Principal Kayla Brown said.

For students interested in JPII enrollment, find more information on the school’s website.

The above story was produced by Summer El-Shahawy with Community Impact's Storytelling team with information solely provided by the local business as part of their "sponsored content" purchase through our advertising team. Our integrity promise to our readers is to clearly identify all CI Storytelling posts so they are separate from the content decided upon, researched and written by our journalism department.