Message sent to students and faculty this afternoon by Mr. Dupont!
April 9, 2020
Dear St. Paul Students and Faculty,
On this unusually quiet Holy Thursday afternoon at St. Paul, allow me to take a moment to reflect upon the last four weeks and share my gratitude to you for your inspiring response to this unchartered journey we are all on.
As you know, Robert Frost in his classic poem,
The Road Not Taken,
ends saying, “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I --- I took the one less travelled by, and that has made all the difference.” We’re certainly traveling the road less travelled, if even ever taken before. Did we even know the road COVID-19 existed six weeks ago? What may have started out, for some, as an extended snow day has become the reality of the “new normal” for the time being. While acknowledging it isn’t the same as being together at school, the majority of you have successfully made the transition to distance learning. That’s not to say that it was easy for anyone. We all miss the personal contact, the interaction and time spent together as faculty, staff, classmates, cast & crew members or teammates.
And yet, it is that strong commitment to our faith and community that has carried us through the last four weeks. Faculty have worked tirelessly to transition to online education, something none of them imagined when we started this school year. Students have been open and resilient to this drastic change adjusting to a new daily routine, if you will. The impressive creativity and connectedness both in and out of the new virtual classroom has been heartwarming to witness.
As we come to the end of the Third Marking Period today, I offer my deepest gratitude to everyone for not only surviving but thriving during the past month. This can’t happen if the critical mass isn’t all going in the same direction. You have been impressive as we remain committed to delivering on our vision – to be a truly great Catholic high school.
I can’t help but be proud and motivated by Byron Jones ’10 comments when he visited St. Paul earlier this week, “One thing I’ve been passionate about all along is being better today than I was yesterday. Small incremental improvements every day and if you do that over the course of the year, that’s 365 days a year. Do that over the course of a couple of years, you’re taking about thousands of days that I forced myself to be better today than I was the day before.” Byron’s a good example of what St. Paul greatness looks like when living your life to be the best version of yourself that God created you to be.
Whether in-person or online our definition and expectation of greatness doesn’t change. Together, we’re on a journey to be great by consistently living our five core values. Keep it up … no excuses for anything less.
On another note, a few weeks ago, Governor Lamont closed schools in Connecticut until Monday, April 20, the day we were scheduled to return from spring vacation. We expect to hear an update from him soon, and subsequently the Archdiocese of Hartford, in regard to our status moving forward. Regardless of the decisions made, I’m confident that our St. Paul community will continue to shine in the face of this unprecedented adversity. When that time comes, be assured that we will continue to provide you with the necessary information to questions that can be answered. Your continued patience and understanding are appreciated.
In closing, let us turn our undivided attention to the significance of the next three days … the Passion, Death and Resurrection of our Lord, Jesus Christ. He is why St. Paul Catholic High School opened in 1966 and still exists today.
Be it be known to all who enter here
that CHRIST is the reason for this school.
He is the unseen but ever present teacher in its classes.
He is the model of its faculty and the inspiration of its students.
Pope Francis stated, that Christians will celebrate Holy Week this year “in a truly unusual way.” But the message of Holy Week has been the same for 2,000 year and does not change in the face of COVID-19. It is one of hope nourished by our faith. I ask that each of us take time over the next several days to reflect upon the true meaning of this Easter weekend. “In the risen Jesus, life conquered death.”
I received a note yesterday from one of the original St. Paul faculty members and his wife that said, “The irony is not lost that the toughest time for our world and the pandemic we are all facing, coincides with the most difficult week Jesus faced as well. May we all follow His lead, by keeping our faith and rise again once we are all safe from harm.”
This is an unusual time in our lives. A time when we have been forced to adjust our busy routines and habits. And now, just maybe the time for us to hear Jesus’ cry to believe and trust in Him. Leave our anxiety, grief, loss, disappointment, frustration, and maybe even anger at the foot of His cross so that each of us can share in the joy of His resurrection this Easter Sunday. By his wounds, we are healed … let us rejoice and give thanks!
Wishing you and your family a Blessed Easter. Enjoy your well-deserved spring vacation.
Stay well … see you soon,