New principal strives to set example for 21st-century Noll community

Mrs. Lorenza Jara-Pastrick looks to motivate the student body with her own story

Bishop Noll Mass Media


Caitlyn Grcich, Managing Editor

 On stifling hot days in mid-August, Lorenza Jara-Pastrick spoke to a group of fidgety students struggling to sit still in sticky auditorium seats. They were, after all, battling the ennui accompanying the back-to-school blues and anxious to talk to their friends after a summer’s absence. They had heard this spiel before: obey the handbook, respect the staff, make smart decisions. This orientation meeting was the only thing standing in front of their last few days as school-free teenagers.

  But after a brief introduction of herself, Pastrick, Noll’s new principal, had the attention of a student body of 531 students and 35 faculty members. Her connection, she said, to Bishop Noll was strong. As a graduate of the class of 2001, she walked the halls as both a student and later as a teacher. Now, she walks them as principal. However, her road to success wasn’t paved with gold, and she had a lot of statistic to defy–something many of the students at Bishop Noll could identify with.

  The daughter of immigrants from Mexico, her parents sacrificed to send her and her five other siblings to good schools: first at (now closed) Sacred Heart in Whiting, then to Bishop Noll, and finally to college at Indiana University in Bloomington. She said that her own upbringing and guidance in life helped form her and helped form her beliefs, and she hopes to do the same for students.

  “I don’t ever feel like I was disadvantaged. I was blessed. I just know that a lot of people that aren’t successful use the excuses that I could’ve used. You figure it out, excuses are not a reason to hinder your success. Those things we use as crutches in life, I used as motivations. I’m blessed because I was raised in a hard working family that told me, ‘Hey, this is the hand you’ve been dealt, make the best of it’.”


  At an academically successful school that is 49-percent Hispanic and 18-percent black, and with 47-percent of the study body receiving free or reduced meals, Pastrick wants her mantra of defying statistics to serve as motivation for these students to strive for success. And she feels her own story is one to use as an example.

  “Statistically, I wasn’t supposed to be successful. My parents were the first teachers of becoming successful through hard work and a good work ethic. I never looked at the fact that I wasn’t supposed to be successful as a barrier; I looked at it as an opportunity. Negativity is a silent killer of people’s success,” she said.

  Pastrick has worked as an ESL teacher in Hammond, a first grade teacher in East Chicago, the health and physical education teacher at Bishop Noll, the admissions director at Bishop Noll, and most recently, principal at Saint Casimir in Hammond. She always said that she was going to come back to Noll as principal, and now that dream has become a reality, with Pastrick adding, “I have always had a fond love for BNI as a student and former staff member.  It’s still a bit surreal to me that I’m the principal, I [feel] like it’s all brand new too!  However, I take very seriously the responsibility that has been given to me as ‘my dream has come true’ I also realize I have a lot of work to do to make sure BNI is meeting all its potential”.

  Pastrick, who replaced principal Craig Stafford, left St. Casimir to come back to Noll. She said that she felt that it was a difficult decision to leave St. Casimir, but she has always loved a challenge and wants to ensure that Bishop Noll continues to serve its students to the best of its ability.

  Her lead-by-example design has already been set in place by enforcing rigorous uniform rules, giving out harsher punishments when needed, and trying to convey to both the student body and faculty/administration to “Stay classy!”

  “I want to emphasize that everything does matter, even the color of your shoe!  Sure, in the ‘real world’ it may not but the moment any administrator or teacher says ‘I don’t care’ then why should anyone?  This is why I believe it’s important for all staff and students to take pride in the ‘little things’.  Little things evolve into a lot of little things…eventually creating a culture of ‘I DO CARE, ABOUT EVERYTHING’  I believe that’s what Christ wants from all of us. I’m pretty sure Jesus never said, ‘I don’t care’!” she said.  “Thus far, the execution of the expectations has been great!  I have always believed that if you let students know the expectations, they’ll rise to meet them.”

  Pastrick has said that she has both short and long-term goals for Bishop Noll. By the end of the year, she has stated that she’d like Bishop Noll to be the best school in the Chicagoland area, “not only academically but most importantly by creating true disciples of Christ.”

  A lot of her energy will be focused on the STREAM (Science, Technology, Religion, Engineering, Arts, and Math) initiative and working with teachers and staff to prepare students for a successful college career. Her long-term goals include investigating an IB program and initiating stronger programs to cater to both advanced and lower achieving students.

  While Pastrick will give birth to her third child around Thanksgiving, her administrative team will be in charge during her absence; however,  Pastrick has said that all expectations will still be expected to be followed.

  When asked about the switch from being a teacher here at Noll previously to being the principal to teachers that she worked closely with, it has been a large adjustment, but a good one, according to Pastrick.

   “As much as I know it sounds lame, I never look at myself as the boss, I look at us as a team.  Together we are stronger, more influential, and more productive than  separate.  I respected as them as co-workers and now I respect them as teammates”, Pastrick has said that she does view each individual teacher’s strengths and weaknesses differently than before. “Sure every leader will try to play to an individual’s strengths and try to assist them with them in improving weaknesses, in that regards I do view them a bit differently”.

  While Pastrick is Bishop Noll’s “leader”, there is also the question of whether or not she will return to the field to coach girls’ soccer, however, this is not the case. Pastrick has said that, “My daughter is currently 4 so until she’s at BNI, it’s not anywhere in my near future”.

  While it is only a short time into Pastrick’s role as principal of Bishop Noll Institute, she is hopeful of the future and has a strong feeling to the role of Christ in the school.

  “Everyday our purpose is to serve him, in the classroom, on the field, onstage, at home, or on the streets.  Christ gave us our lives (some tougher then others) but within all lives there is beauty and blessings, I believe it is our Catholic responsibility to act and serve out of our love for Christ.”