Sunday, September 05, 2010

Once more into the breach, dear friends

They’re baaa—ack!

The students, that is. Out of your homes and into mine, the kids came back to school this week. The kids took it right in stride for the most part. The parents, on the other hand, betrayed far more emotion. They fretted over details before, and paced about erratically after, the kids all marched resolutely to their fates, er, classrooms. Some parents even wept; others I could swear giggled and grinned as they drove away.

I am not sure how it looked where you were, but whatever the school, I would imagine there were similar scenes. Here, I have to admit I was happy to have the little darlings back on the property, even if it did signal the return to Business As Usual. The phones and doorbell were ringing at full tilt within minutes of the school bell. It is time to get serious, and pick it all up where we left off.

We have a phenomenal team running our school here, from Mrs. Wood the principal, to her two “wingmen,” Mr. Ewanciw and Mr. Lee, vice-principal and dean, respectively. We have been working together for three years now and are of one mind and heart on all the important things. The teachers similarly are united in their purpose and mutual support, providing an environment for growth and learning that is a source of wonder to me.

Speaking of environment, the middle school kids and teachers, (the top floor of our main school building) returned to air-conditioned comfort this year. Phase two of our four-year plan to replace the failing heating system and add cooling, this tangible sign of progress got everyone’s spirits up. I have yet to hear anyone say anything about the wireless network now available throughout the school, or the new computer lab. Nobody is going to notice, much less mention, the repointing on the bricks that was done over the summer, or the replaced carpeting. Some folks may notice how sparklingly clean the place is, but it won’t be the middle schoolers, I’ll wager.

Many of these improvements benefit our religious education kids, as well. I’ll not soon forget the Sunday morning when one of the parents whispered in my ear that A/C wasn’t working in the classrooms. There wasn’t any (yet), so it was impossible not to chuckle. Step by step, we’re getting there!

All this reminds me of another thing I accomplished this week, which was to sign a huge pile of checks. All this goodness does require payment, and it is astonishing what it costs to run a school even as lean as ours is. The tuition reflects those costs, and can be quite daunting for a lot of the folks who are really committed to providing the benefits of our Catholic school for their children.

This is the time of year when I mention that I, as Pastor, provide assistance to as many families as I can to help them reach that goal. This, in turn, allows the school to benefit not only from the presence of their families here, but also the tuition that they can contribute. Sometimes the boost of just ten or fifteen percent ($690 or $1035) makes it possible for them to enroll. If you want to help me help someone enjoy this blessed fruit of our strong parish school, I will be happy, and they will be grateful. Because it is good to come back.

Monsignor Smith

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