Purpose has been our school year theme, rooted in our mission – equipping mind, body, and spirit for
lives of purpose
… – and a verse from the Book of Jeremiah – For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you to give you hope and a future.
In an August musing, I said, “My heart-felt prayer is that students who are with us this school year will look back on their time at VCHS and say – ‘It was during my high school years that I was engaged in discovering my purpose that shaped my aim, my focus, my life goals, and who I am today.” I spent the year offering Saints News musings that profiled our faculty giving us a glimpse into their lives and purposes. I’m convinced each student has an innate purpose that must be discovered and fulfilled – not a one and done, but more often than not, a lifetime journey. With faculty and coach mentors like the special ones we have at VCHS, I also know that they have played a pivotal role in helping our students come in contact with who they were designed to be.
At Academic Awards Night, I was struck watching the Senior Slide Show that included college major and career ambitions and saw strong connections between our faculty, courses, athletic and fine arts offerings, clubs, and adult-student relationships. People and opportunities have helped shape those ambitions. Not exhaustive but consider what our graduates plan to study and pursue: agriculture, animal science, architecture, business/economics/entrepreneurship/finance, computer science, education, engineering, English/journalism, environmental design, medicine/health care, military, music industry/animation, political science/political economy, psychology, and the list goes on. Consider their plans to compete at the collegiate level in Alpine skiing, football, and track and field.
I can’t help but think about their Faculty and Coaches: Mrs. Baker, Mr. Bruce, Mrs. Burner, Mrs. Carlson, Mrs. Cooper, Ms. Cunningham, Mr. Hall, Mrs. Hochtl, Mr. Jager, Ms. Larson, Mr. Lukanich, Mr. McKeever, Ms. Moriarty, Ms. Mutter, Mr. Mysnyk, Mr. and Mrs. Nowicki, Mrs. O’Neil, Mr. Phelan, Coach Pierson, Mr. Pyke, Ms. Robinson, Coaches Jen and Scott Sticksel, Mrs. Van Fossan, Ms. Ward, Mr. JD, Mrs. Wilson, and the list goes on. One’s purpose influences another’s purpose, especially during the formative teenage/young adult years. I couldn’t imagine a better group to help shape the purpose trajectory of this generation.
One of my favorite school mottos comes from The Stony Brook School and dates back to the 1920s – “Character before Career.” We know that careers are part of one’s purpose but certainly not what really endures. Character, and even more importantly faith, are what matter most. Loving God and loving others (Jesus’ synopsis of a life well-lived) are the ways in which I really hope our students have grown this school year. I know that’s the heart of our faculty and coaches for our students – to see them grow as people – to be more loving, more courageous, more kind, more empathetic, more humble, more selfless, more grateful, and more equipped to make the world a better place.
I couldn’t be more proud of our VCHS students -- for who they are and who they’re becoming. And I’m incredibly grateful for the privilege we have to play a role in unleashing all of their potential so that they might make a profound difference on our nation and world.