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President's Perspective - We Give Thanks 2018

As we prepare for Thanksgiving, we give thanks for the people in our lives. This Thanksgiving I will give thanks for the great services Michael Schultz and Gwen Austin have provided to our school community. We have been so blessed because of their presence with us and the exceptional services that they have provided to our students and families. While they go on to new adventures they will always be a part of our campus.

Where are we with the building projects?

Recently we experienced problems with our septic system. Hopefully, this will be cured when we are connected to County sewer and water. County Executive Jan Gardner and her team have been working to properly amend the current regulations to allow us access to both the sewer and water systems. This just makes good sense for the high school. Once in place, we can systematically grow as Frederick County grows.

In a few weeks, you will begin to see the dismantling of our patio area to make way for the new school addition. Fortunately, we constructed the patio with the knowledge that it would be moved, so most of the stone will be reused within the design of the athletic stadium. The trees and bushes in the patio area will be replanted around the school.

We are almost finished with the final plans for our athletic stadium. If all goes well we will begin in June and finished by the first football and soccer games.

The plans for our St. Theresa of Calcutta Chapel are completed. This will be constructed as the school addition nears completion. Once finished the chapel will hold 35 people and allow for daily Mass.

Off to China

As I write this, I am preparing for my recruitment trip to China. I will be visiting students and parents in several cities including Beijing, Hothot (Inner Mongolia), Ningbo, Nanjing, Nanchang, Shanghai, and Hangzhou. It will be a busy 9 days encouraging parents to send their children to Saint John’s. I am always impressed that the parents I visit within China want what we all want for our children. They want a safe school that will provide their children with a rigorous education that will prepare them both for the best universities and the skills to live successful lives. Their dreams for their children are the same as my dreams for my children. They tell me that their hopes and dreams for their children rest with the American educational system. It reminds me again how fortunate we are to have high-quality education in our local community, not halfway around the world. I always return home being proud to be an American and to give thanks for my good fortune to have been born here.

Our students from China provide our other students the opportunity to develop lifetime relationships with the children of some of China’s most successful business and political leaders. It is my hope that we are able to develop “sister” school relationships where our students and faculty can learn from each other. This is just one small step in promoting world peace through a more thorough understanding and appreciation of different world cultures. 

We are always looking for homestay families for our international students. Besides a wonderful experience for the family, the homestays come with a monthly stipend of $1,200 to offset the costs of sponsoring a child. If you are interested in serving as a host family, please let me know.

Partnerships with universities

Thanks to the hard work of our college counselor, Mrs. Paulette Anders, we now have formal partnerships with 11 universities. This guarantees Saint John’s students with acceptance and a scholarship. At Mount St. Mary’s University the guaranteed scholarship is $88,000. These partnerships will grow over the next few years.

It is a fact that many of our students will go on to earn their graduate degrees. My general advice for students who already know that they will seek a graduate degree is to attend a solid undergraduate university as inexpensively as possible and save the most prestigious universities for graduate work. Johns Hopkins for medical school, Yale for law school, etc.  

I hope you and your family have a blessed Thanksgiving. All too soon we will begin the Advent season as we prepare for Christmas.

God Bless,

Thomas H. Powell