By William W. Crist | Superintendent of Schools
It seems nearly impossible that an entire academic year is transitioning to a summer that we all thought would never arrive based on spring conditions. The family and community presence in each of our schools will take on a new set of priorities for a few months, as we all begin the arduous, yet deeply fulfilling, pursuit that begins our next school year. Before we get there, I write this final piece — at a time of reflection and contemplation, but also a time of joy and celebration as we head into our final week of school.
The year-end events bring to a final crescendo the teaching and learning that includes projects, concerts, sporting competitions, culminating events, retirements, celebrations, Masses, and commencements.
As superintendent of Catholic schools, I am focused daily on our schools’ deep need to create a culture resulting from our collective mission. At a recent retirement luncheon, the retiree — who served 30 years in one of our schools — was characterized as “bringing faith to life.” That notion is evident in our schools and classrooms. That particular culture has a positive impact on student learning, achievement, and Faith formation.
More so, I am energized by the positive impact our Catholic schools can have on the many problems facing society today: violence, drugs, broken families, disinterested citizens. Research tells us that graduates of Catholic schools are far less likely to get involved in drugs, crime, or violence; they enter into more lasting marriages with unified families; and they are very involved as leaders in the community.
I am encouraged when I am personally able to participate in and witness the culminating celebrations at our graduations. Our graduates are departing our schools with exceptional academic achievements — Regents diplomas, many advanced designations, and advanced designations with honors. They have completed thousands of hours of service that positively affected the areas they live in and areas of the world where they will never see the true impact of their service. An overwhelming majority of our graduates are continuing on to colleges and universities of choice while receiving scholarships that, in total, number in the millions of dollars. We are proud of those who will be entering the military and those entering the workforce upon graduation.
The most compelling reasons for a parent to sacrifice to provide a Catholic education for a child are the values, morals, spiritual foundation, and character building taught in our schools. A Catholic education is holistic — body, mind, and soul. An education without God is an education deficient.
To our graduates, continue to know, live, and share your faith as Catholics. As is spoken at the conclusion of Mass, “Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life.”
I renew my sincere appreciation for our principals, teachers, boards, parishes, priests, volunteers, alumni, and benefactors who ensure our schools remain excellent, affordable, and available.
I also offer my deep appreciation to Bishop Robert J. Cunningham for his unwavering support of and commitment to our Catholic schools. He continues his support of Catholic schools as our faith leader, affirmed by his own grade school, high school, college, and postgraduate Catholic education. Finally, on behalf of all of our Catholic schools, I extend a warm welcome and congratulations to Bishop-elect Douglas Lucia and look forward to his ordination and installation as our bishop on August 8.
May you all have a blessed, safe, and rejuvenating summer.