St. Joseph Center Embraces Meaningful Messages and Fun in This Year’s ‘Joyful Noise’ Competition

This year’s “Make a Joyful Noise” music video competition shows thousands of students throughout the Diocese of Allentown celebrating their Catholic schools with singing and dancing. One music video by St. Joseph Center for Special Learning (SJC) in Schuylkill County packs an especially powerful message into a 2:23-minute video, and they’ve also engaged a winner from last year in a friendly rivalry.

Featuring the 2016 song “Unstoppable” by pop singer Sia, the video focuses on the first day of school experience for three new students at SJC. Good friends Elina and Madison join the SJC’s Primary Life Skills class, and Joseph joins the Adult Program. Though all seem to have the usual nervous feelings about starting a new school, they’re welcomed at the front door by Principal Bob Giba.

As Sia sings, “I put my armor on, show you how strong I am,” Giba puts on his SJC vest, symbolizing how students and teachers unite as one through the “armor” of the SJC uniform.

Throughout the video, we see the students gain confidence as they’re guided through the SJC hallways, meeting their teachers, and joining their new classrooms.

“Principal Bob always says that we’re all one family, and that we’re stronger together,” said SJC Development Assistant Aubrey Peters. She said they use the hashtag #sjcstrong on social media for that same reason.

Development Director Monica Walborn called Peters the “creative mastermind behind the video.” Peters said that her two daughters – ages 9 and 6 – were often listening to the Sia song, and Peters started to see correlations to the song’s lyrics and the SJC students and the challenges they face.

In September 2023, SJC welcomed students to a new, larger building at 302 Randel St. in Schuylkill Haven, which made the first day of school for new students a meaningful theme for their video.

“The new school has more defined spaces for all programs,” said Walborn. The new location also allows SJC engagement with neighbors St. Ambrose Church in Schuylkill Haven – where students can attend Mass and receive Sacraments – and Nativity BVM High School in Pottsville – winner of the first place “Maestro” award of last year’s “Make a Joyful Noise” competition.

“Our two schools have been making a concerted effort all year long to have increased interaction with our students and show support for each other,” said Jennifer Daubert, assistant to the principal at Nativity.

In fact, SJC’s mascot, JJ (Joey the Jaguar) could not help but have some fun with neighbor and past winner Nativity.

On April 26, a video was posted to the SJC Facebook page showing JJ sneaking into the Nativity building and stealing the school’s first place trophy from last year’s competition. In a later video, Nativity students can be seen stealing the trophy back, and returning it to its rightful place.

“We were excited for the chance to work together. The entire school community had so much fun with this experience,” said Daubert.

Of the “Joyful Noise” competition, Daubert said, “Knowing that we won last year’s title motivated our students to work that much harder on this year’s video. We are very proud of our school and what we were able to accomplish in the competition last year.”

“Make a Joyful Noise” is a friendly online musical competition to celebrate school spirit and raise funds for schools throughout Berks, Carbon, Lehigh, Northampton, and Schuylkill counties. It runs throughout the month of May, and winners will be announced June 1.

To see all the “Make a Joyful Noise” videos and vote:

To see the Facebook video of JJ stealing the 2023 trophy from Nativity: