St. Bernard embarks on promising new school year

Cash Daly addresses the student assembly on expectations and student conduct. (St. Bernard)

CULLMAN, Ala. – St. Bernard Prep began classes for the 2023-24 academic year on Aug. 14, 2023, with great enthusiasm and a vibrant community of 124 eager students. The campus buzzed with excitement as students from around the world, including Brazil, Spain and China, converged to embark on a journey of mind, body and spirit.

The first day of classes unfolded as students gathered in Room 100 of the Swisher Science Building to receive a warm welcome from Fr. Linus Klucsarits, the school chaplain. Addressing the students, Fr. Klucsarits shared, “I evaluate no one. You always have an open door to my office, and I am honored to serve as your chaplain.” This message resonated deeply with the students, setting a tone of openness and support for the year ahead.

The school’s guidance counselor, Chanda Dabbs, anticipates an inspiring year ahead, both in her role as a counselor and as a math teacher. Dabbs is committed to helping each student set and achieve their goals while overcoming any obstacles that may arise.

Tim Burleson, the athletic director, took the opportunity to introduce the fall sports teams and encourage all students to participate in extracurricular activities. Emphasizing the importance of teamwork and healthy competition, Burleson motivated students to embrace the various opportunities the school offers.

Phuong Nguyen, headmaster, who previously served as the guidance counselor, addressed the students, and highlighted changes to bell schedules and upcoming activities. Student Council officers Ezra Penner, Charley Deist, Cash Daly and Sydney Watwood played a pivotal role in guiding their fellow students on matters such as dress code, conduct, activities and the importance of fostering a caring community.

In an email sent to the faculty and staff on the evening of Aug. 14, Nguyen expressed profound gratitude for their hard work and commitment in ensuring a smooth and welcoming transition for the students. He acknowledged the seamless start of the academic year, despite minor hiccups like the bells initially not functioning correctly and a few schedule changes.

Nguyen stated, “Thanks to all your efforts. Our students experienced a seamless and welcoming transition into the new academic year. Your warm smiles, encouraging words and dedication have not gone unnoticed. Many students shared with me their appreciation for the care and attention you have given them on their first day, especially new students.”

He concluded, “Thank you for all that you do, and may God continue to give us wisdom and strength to continue the good work that we do, better each and every day.”

St. Bernard Prep looks forward to a year of growth, learning and collaboration as it continues to provide a nurturing environment for students to excel and flourish.

For more information about St. Bernard Prep and its programs, visit