Letter from School Leadership

SJS prides itself on its academic excellence—a trade mark of Catholic education—as well as its Supernatural Mission.  The Supernatural Mission is one of the Five Marks as taught by the Holy See:

The Church sees education as a process that, in light of man’s transcendent destiny, forms the whole child and seeks to fix his or her eyes on heaven.  The specific purpose of a Catholic education is the formation of boys and girls who will be good citizens of this world, loving God and neighbor and enriching society with the leaven of the gospel, and who will also be citizens of the world to come, thus fulfilling their destiny to become saints [emphasis added].

In a nutshell, SJS’ mission is to not only help make men and women who will influence our world for the better, but they will go beyond “better” and enact virtuous action in the culture.  The Church called upon all her children, and specifically the laity in modern times “...to take up the renewal of the temporal order as their own special obligation.”  Furthermore, it is “...through the [Catholic] school that [the Church] participates in the dialogue of culture with her own positive contribution to the cause of the total formation of man.  The absence of the Catholic school would be a great loss for civilization and for the natural and supernatural destiny of man.”

I cite these sources, drawn up before my own conversion to the Catholic Church and the beginning of my own vocation in Catholic schools, to remind us as co-workers together for Our Lord Jesus of our supernatural calling.  Your relation to your child, be it biological, emotional, legal, professional, etc., is incredibly impactful.  Even the smallest things (at least, seemingly small in our eyes) often prove some of the greatest in the lives of children.

When I was in sixth grade, my mother made it a point to read through the Book of Proverbs with my brother and me before we walked to the bus stop each morning.  We would sit down on our swing or at the kitchen table, open our Bibles, and read aloud a chapter together.  Usually this was followed by me or my brother mentioning kids in our classes who acted like the “fool” in Proverbs, in one or more ways.  And my mother would direct our thoughts towards ourselves.  Instead of putting those proverbs on the “problem” kid on the bus or at recess, Mom taught us our first lessons on being responsible for our own selves, since Jesus tells us, “Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye?” (Mt. 7:3).  This crucial life lesson for everyone (not just Christians) I learned from her.  It might have been mentioned by my Sunday school teachers, or my teachers at school (I went to public school), but none of those individuals made the impression upon my young, developing brain like my Mom did.

Catholic teaching recognizes that parents are the primary educators of their children, and “it is the task of the whole educative community to ensure that a distinctive Christian educational environment is maintained in practice.  This responsibility applies chiefly to Christian parents who confide their children to the school… They are bound to cooperate actively with the school—which means supporting the educational efforts of the school and utilizing the structures offered for parental involvement, in order to make certain that the school remains faithful to Christian principles…”

After the past couple years, all of us have learned just how much brain development needs to happen in the presence of fellow children.  In person.  Not virtually.  During the lockdown and last year, the worldwide reactions to Covid in the media, in the election, in the dissension and rioting, in the phenomenon of “cancel culture”, etc.—our students have had to process these things, and they had to when by and large we adults were struggling just the same.  Yet the responsibility is on our shoulders to be the role models our children need us to be, that God has planned for us to be.  You, myself, every faculty member, the pastors, the volunteers, all of us are here at this point in time according to God’s purposes.  Children learn thought and behavior patterns from all, especially their family, teachers, and other community members (e.g. coaches, etc.).  Each person has a part to play in their time of development, which is over before we know it.

More than ever right now, our students need to see the adults in their lives display the fruits of the Spirit:  love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  “Against such there is no law” (Gal. 5:22,23).  The Greatest law that we are under as a Catholic school is Christ’s commandment, as 
recorded by our patron, “As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.  This is how all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (Jn. 13:34,35).  The best teachers our children have besides the fantastic SJS faculty is you.  You are the most impactful teacher for your child, as willed by God.  As such you have my full support and my heart-felt prayers.

Our students have grown fond of saying, “S-J-S!  Be my best!”  I have spoken many times with our classes about being our best.  One way is through our academic program; we aim to be the best.  The more important way, though, is through our words and deeds.  We’ve discussed that at the end of our lives, it will not be our report cards, or our careers, or our bank accounts that God will expect an accounting of when we stand before Him.  Instead, He will expect an account of how we demonstrated love to each other.  We read from 1 Jn. 5:  “whoever loves God must also love his brother.”  Our students are hungry to see this love in action and imitate it themselves.

I appreciate all of our community’s cooperation, support, and prayers as SJS moves forward.  Great things are happening, from a new playground to winning the NASA downlink contest–there is much to celebrate!  Let us continue working together in the amazing roles God has placed us in to lead our young minds and hearts into the plans He has for them.

Sincerely,

Mr. Jesse Read
Principal