Weekly Letter (Feb 27 ’17)

Dear Parents and Students,

Over the course of my career, the focus of education has dramatically changed several times. Education used to be “what the teacher gave the kids” but it evolved into “what the kids could give back” to the teacher. At the dawn of the digital age, education became a question of “what teacher and students can share”. But now, in the twenty-first century the focus of education is all three of those followed by the question, “So what now?”  Get the facts, put them into historical perspective, see how the lessons of history affect current events and figure out what to do next. That is education today.

What have we at Star of the Sea learned over the last three years? I suspect each of us have learned a unique set of lessons depending on our point of view and circumstances during that time. But we are here now to figure out what to do next. 

Some, perhaps all, of us have experienced pain and the source of each individual’s pain may be different. We would be foolish to nurture that pain we feel or to act in ways that would perpetuate the pain of our sisters and brothers. So the question must be asked, “What do we do next?” Just as we can’t let the pain continue, we can’t equate the sudden lack of pain with being healed. To assume that because the pain is gone we are healed is too simplistic.

Does anyone here want to imagine that ten years from now, someone looks back and states that Star went through a tough time but has managed to get beyond it? As principal, I have too much pride in this school to settle for that. The faculty and staff here have too much talent to be satisfied with that. The kids have aspirations and dreams far beyond that.

So, what do we do next? The answer is as old as human history, we reconcile. To do that we all have to become one community again.

Star has a great sports program. God bless all the coaches. It is a parish program for the kids of our school and parish. FAASTAR, the Filipino American Association at Star of the Sea is one of the school’s biggest and most loyal supporters. It is made up of parishioners who created and sponsor an award for graduating Star students every year.

Veteran Star parishioners may or may not know my name, but they know my job title and they always ask me how the school is doing. They also love to share stories from the time when their kids were students at Star.

It should surprise no one that even during these difficult years there were always others reaching out to our school community. Now we need to reciprocate. It is our turn to reach out, not just to those who have extended their hands to us but to all of our sisters and brothers.

I know that many of you attend Mass at other parishes and some of you are of other faiths. I also know that in a survey taken a few years back 96% of our Catholic 5th graders stated that being Catholic was important to them. But it is even more noteworthy that 65% of our non-Catholic 5th graders stated that being Catholic was important to them too.

To heal, we must reconcile. To reconcile, we must reach out. So in the spirit of reconciliation, I ask that you come back to Star. Come back to the degree that you can. Daily Mass, a short prayerful visit to Church just before dismissal, or coming to Sunday Mass are all options to you. At a minimum, join us at our monthly school Mass when we restart that parish/school tradition. Father Illo is available to meet with individuals or families to try to reconcile. If you care to meet with him, please email him at [email protected] to set up an appointment.

God Bless You,

 

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