Message from the Head of School

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Oh the places they will go……..

We are anticipating the graduation of our eighth graders that will take place tomorrow. We have gotten to know them well. As a group, they have bonded nicely. They successfully worked through any mean girl or overly aggressive behaviors. They have learned to accept each other as different and special. They have developed relationships with classmates while not excluding others in the class. One can easily see that they have grown to love and care for one another and for their teachers who have challenged them to become their best selves. This past week has been a struggle for our teachers who are frantically trying to collect past due work in order to assign a grade. You know what I am talking about. Have you heard yourself asking your child “ How many times have I told you to clean your room? From experience, when you least expect it or have totally given up on the possibility, you will show up in a room that is cleaned without prompting. Academic gas tanks for many of our grade eight students are empty or fast approaching empty. It is a bit of a paradox. They desperately want to graduate but, for many, cannot see themselves anywhere else.

Yesterday, a couple of students who had graduated a year earlier came by for a visit. At this time last year, we were shaking our heads, wondering if these kids would ever make it to the end of September in high school. Each of the returning students presented themselves with poise, a clear self-understanding, and what they need to do to fulfill their dreams. Each told me (I have not verified) that that the majority of their grades were in the “B” range. It appeared on the surface that these are not the same children that were here just a short time ago. They now project confidence in the way they walked and in the way they talked. They appeared more reflective and grateful.

I always remind my middle school teachers, and from time to time convince myself, that the work we do is well received but often hidden. I know this to be true as a parent. You know the lectures that you have delivered and the countless number of times you have delivered them. “When will they ever learn?” The truth is that they already have.

We have a tradition at school where we have the soon to be graduates assemble on the top floor and process through the school to say good by to their former teachers and students who occupy classrooms where they once learned. It is heartwarming to see the support and encouragement afforded these students. The parade ends in the plaza where hugs and tears abound. We are family.

At the end of each year we ask our grade eight students to tell us what is the most important thing that they have learned. Here are a few things that the students said:

“The most important thing Saint Columbkille has taught me is that no matter what comes your way no matter how hard it is, that you should never give up and keep trying and that you will soon succeed.”

“The most important thing I have learned is to put others first and to always help others. Many service projects have taught us to help anyone you can. These projects have taught us to lookout for everyone because we are all children of God. We learn that everything we do is for God.”

“The most important thing Saint Columbkille School has taught is that on the journey of finding myself I will find God, and with God an eternal happiness.”

“To be magis and humble to everyone no matter their race, skin color, gender, etc. “ (Magis means doing more that would normally be expected of you.)

Summing it up, one student simply wrote AMDG. That is all that we do in life is Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam. (For the Greater Glory of God)

We will miss this class and have faith that they too will return next year to show us the fruits of our labor.

William Gartside
Head of School