With the recent fall colors and the noticeable change in weather, we look ahead to the last month and a half of 2017 and the coming Advent season. When I think about these seasonal changes, I am reminded of Henry David Thoreau’s quote from his famous work Walden: “Things do not change; we change.”
As I observe our senior class transforming into young adults and transitioning to college, I think about how their personal changes are SO MUCH more important than the changing color of leaves. I have the privilege of teaching just over 50 members of the Class of 2018 this year and their development is of utmost importance to me, as their teacher first and foremost. Their ability to express themselves, to demonstrate diplomacy, and to engage their intellectual curiosity – these are the qualities that make me hopeful for their future. And when they leave for college next fall, I know that they will make us proud.
I am also excited for our juniors, who will participate in their class retreat on Friday, November 17th. Even though they are far from that senior perspective, they will have a chance to recharge and refresh at the Seton Shrine in Emmitsburg during the day-long retreat. This annual, spiritual retreat is a rite of passage and our Director of Campus Ministry Becca Richards has a great program planned for the students including a mass in the Basilica. Our chaperones and all involved are looking forward to this retreat and this day off campus.
Dr. Powell has given us a charge to incorporate more cultural events into our school schedule, and so our sophomores and juniors will be treated to live theatrical performances at the end of November, and our freshmen will go to the theatre at the beginning of December. On Monday, November 20th, the 10th and 11th-grade classes will travel to the Olney Theatre for a stage rendition of The Great Gatsby. This matinee performance is being presented by the National Players, an acting troupe that was founded in 1949 by Father Gilbert V. Hartke, OP, a prominent arts educator and head of the drama department at Catholic University of America. Ticket costs for students are covered by the school’s comprehensive fee. During the second week of December, the freshmen class will travel to the Weinberg Center for the Arts for a matinee performance of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. These tickets are also covered by the comprehensive fee and the performance promises to provide students with a literary, dramatic, and artistic performance.
SJCP will be celebrating Advent starting on December 3rd, and we will be running several fundraisers and service projects to prepare for Christmas. Our Winter Clothing drive has already begun (to benefit patrons at the Frederick Rescue Mission) and we will also be doing a toy drive in December. Our Advent prayers and our school’s Advent wreath become essential parts of our assemblies in the gym during homeroom, as we pray for the less fortunate and those in need during this holy time.
I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving with their families,Marc Minsker Principal