Teaching and learning have been part of our world from the very first moment that humanity appeared on earth. When our ancestors were hunters and gatherers, sons learned how to hunt from their fathers and daughters learned how to care for their families from their moms. As humanity became more advanced, people began to learn skills and trades from people outside their families. Young men were apprenticed to tradesmen to learn how to be a blacksmith, or a carpenter or an accountant so that they could do their part and make their contribution to society.
The more complex our society became the more skills humanity needed to share and learn and so centers for learning gradually came into existence. Schools, colleges, universities are places where humanity thinks and humanity dreams. They are places where we learn the skills we need to make our contribution to society and be successful.
You see, a school is a place where one generation shares the skills and the knowledge they have acquired during their lives with the next generation. And that’s what happens here every day. Here at St. Anne-Pacelli we are so blessed to have teachers and administrators who sincerely care about you, and who are willing to share their skills and their knowledge with you. They do this because they believe in you and they want to give you a greater chance to be successful in life and leave the world a better place.
We all know that many people in the world are sick, but now we can see the light at the end of the tunnel because some people, actually many talented people, were able to come up with the vaccines we need to overcome Covid in record time. What was projected to take years took less than a year. How did they ever do it? They went to school. They studied and learned, and someone gave them the skills they needed to succeed, and they did. Yes, schools prepare students to take their place in the world. Schools give their students the skills they need to be successful, personally and professionally.
So, young adults, when school gets old, when you just don’t feel like studying or doing your work, try and remember that everyday when you get up and come to school, every time when you open a book that you would rather keep closed, every time you read an article rather than surfing YouTube for hours, you are preparing yourself to make your contribution to our world and the generations that will follow you. They will need your knowledge and skills. If your generation forgets anything that was handed on to you it will be lost for future generations. Where would we ever be if the people tasked with developing the vaccines didn’t do their work and rather watched YouTube for hours? Where would we be?
St. Anne-Pacelli is a school, a great school, an incredible school in every sense of the word. But this is not just Schools Week. This is Catholic Schools Week. And St. Anne-Pacelli is not only a school, it is a CATHOLIC school. You see, a simple school educates the mind and challenges its students to share their skills and knowledge with those who will follow. A Catholic school is supposed to do so much more than that. A Catholic school also educates your heart and introduces you to God who created humanity and loves humanity. A Catholic school teaches us that we are not just strangers on the road of life; rather, we are related, we are brothers and sisters who have a responsibility to each other. A Catholic school inspires its students not only to share their knowledge and skills with the next generation, but even more importantly, a Catholic school challenges its students to love and care for the world, each other and the next generation. Catholic schools teach us, engrain in us, that learning is not just about our personal success and fulfillment, and that our lives are not just about personal success and fulfillment.
Fr. Pedro Arupe, a leader of the Jesuits who are very involved in Catholic education all over the world, continually reminded those who attended Jesuit schools that they and we are called to be men and women for others. In other words, men and women willing to share their lives with others and for others over and over again. Just like Jesus gave His life for us. If you leave here only concerned about yourself and your personal success and financial success then we have failed you; because we may have educated your mind, but we somehow missed the most important part of our mission, and we failed to educate your heart.
I want to thank Ronie Collins, Jocelyn Smith and all the administrators for sharing their skills and their knowledge to make our school a special place. I want to thank them especially for loving you and caring for you so much. You are, indeed, precious to them. I think you know that. I want to thank your teachers and our school staff who generously share their lives and their skills and their knowledge with you each and every day.
These are people who never give up on you, even when you are less than enthusiastic learners. You know that, too. I want to thank your families who believe in Catholic schools and are willing to make big sacrifices to send you here. I can’t wait to see the good you will do and the generous lives you will live because you walked these humble halls and graduated from our beautiful Catholic school. Rest assured that our St. Anne Church parish and all of the Catholic parishes of Columbus are so very proud of our
school and pledge our support to you, your teachers and your administrators.
“Be it known to all who enter here that Jesus is the reason for our school. He is the unknown but ever present teacher in its classes. He is the model of its faculty and the inspiration of its students.” May it always be so."
Happy Catholic Schools Week!