Weekly Letter (Sep 25 ’17)

Dear Star families,

Through my life’s most difficult trials I have been told that God does not give us more than we can handle. It’s an interpretation of 1 Corinthians 10:13. After the month we’ve had so far, I have to admit that there have been moments, even whole days and nights, when I have called into question the veracity of this Scripture reading.

Upon preparing to write this letter, I have thought on this saying and forced myself to gather my thoughts away from the overwhelming fatigue, grief, and stress of the last few weeks. Instead, I have sought to pay attention to the life lessons as taught by the children who fill Star’s halls and classrooms.

For example:

  • The light in an 8th grader’s eyes when she figures out an equation in Mr. Chen’s room.
  • The 7th grader patiently caring for his little Church buddy during an all school Mass.
  • The 6th grader showing off her very first Social Studies test grade to her father, ecstatic by the results.
  • The 5th graders grinning ear to ear every time I visit my former classroom.
  • The 4th graders scribbling down notes, listening attentively as I pass by their open door.
  • The 3rd graders telling me to look at their science experiment on germs clearly labeled next to the door. It’s pretty gross, by the way. 
  • The 2nd graders learning to be quiet and considerate in the halls and their silly attempts at shushing each other.
  • The 1st graders’ excitement about their recent “trip” to Latin America.
  • The Kindergartners’ shockingly strong high-fives.

Even the preschoolers show me again the excitement of the future as I was recently regaled with their numerous proclamations of soon reaching their 4th year of life and how I am definitely invited to a number of their birthday parties which, you should all know, are in February.

They’ve all retaught me that there are still reasons to smile, even laugh, and find the strength to take on the daunting and oft uncomfortable tasks that are the sole duties of a school principal.

So now, while I still find little comfort in the overused recounting of the Bible verse above, I have discovered great solace in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10, in which it is written, “God will give you all the grace you need in every situation you face.” This grace is very much alive and real.

I’ve discovered through Fr. Vito, Fr. Illo, and Fr. John as they have helped guide me in the ministerial aspects of this job. Grace is given to me by the faculty and staff, who have gone beyond the call of duty to bring the school back to feeling like a grade school in the September days approaching fall and who have helped return the joyous sound of children at play during recess – a sound I know Mr. Hanley so loved.

I have discovered God’s grace in you, the parents, who’ve not only cared for your children through this most trying of times, but have brought your love and support to the schoolyard where you are most visible and appreciated by all who work here.

Mostly, however, I discover daily grace through Star’s students, who I love with an abundance, a love of which I had not been previously aware. It is for them that I work tirelessly and this is a promise I will keep for as long as I am given the privilege of fulfilling this role left by one of the most wonderfully understanding and compassionate men for whom I’ve had the pleasure to work.

The gift Mr. Hanley left me is the full realization of the beauty and joy found in what I’d always considered a thankless job. Because now, in doing it, I more completely understand how it is we, together have and will continue to do the Lord’s work here at Star of the Sea.


Have a blessed week.

Mrs. Theresa Poon

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