SJS Alumni Spotlight: Shawn Sarver

Shawn Sarver of Allentown, Pennsylvania has many vivid and fond memories of his early life as a student at Saint James Catholic School and as a young member of the Saint James Catholic Church congregation. As a student and member of the church, Sarver was there when the current Saint James Catholic Church building was constructed in 1971, and fondly remembers watching the beams for the structure go up as he made his way to church. In fact, his class was the first to receive first communion in the new church. He also remembers when he and his elementary school classmates moved their books and desks into the former Elizabethtown Catholic High School building after its closure in 1969. 

Though Sarver grew up during a time of transition for the school and church, he said the impact of Catholic education has been consistent and strong in his life. 

“It gave me such a solid foundation for life, both from the education it provided but also the high moral standards,” he said. 

Sarver attended SJS from first through sixth grade – from 1969 to 1976. A native of Elizabethtown, Sarver lived in the area until 1981, when he joined the U.S. Navy after graduating from East Hardin High School. He served in the Navy for nearly 30 years, retiring in 2010. 

Throughout his time in the Navy, Sarver reached the rank of Master Chief (E-9) and served in submarines, recruiting, helicopters, fighter jets and aircraft carriers. He was stationed in several areas of the world, including Sicily, Japan and Korea, and visited over 30 countries throughout his military career. 

Sarver now serves as Director of Facilities Operations at PPL Corporation, a major energy company that owns several subsidiaries, including LG&E and KU Energy. He has worked with the company since 2012. He said he plans to retire in the next few years and travel the Great Loop, a 6,000-mile stretch of North American waterways, on his boat, “The Holly Day.” 

Amid all the success he has achieved throughout his life, Sarver said his time at SJS and the lessons he learned were fundamental throughout. 

“It is one of the foundations of my life, both the school and the church,” he said. “That and my family provided me with the guiding principles that have made me successful in life.”