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New Year, New Possibilities

Lead, Leave, Live and Love

Dear Parents,

The beginning of a new academic year has a magical quality.  Even for returning students, everything seems new.  I have always loved the start of a new year.  In the first days and weeks of school, anything is possible.

We kicked off our year with convocation, a time to dedicate ourselves as a student, faculty and staff community to the mission and values of Saint John’s Prep.  We asked students to commit themselves to creating a welcoming community for all, to accept challenge and change, to learn to serve, to grow spiritually, and to strive for excellence in all they do.  Modeled on collegiate convocation, I’m not aware of any other school that begins its academic year so powerfully and profoundly.

As we began our 163rd academic year, I offered students, faculty and staff four themes – borrowed and adapted from my friend, Dr. Michael Sorrell, president of Paul Quinn College – to guide the 2019-2020 academic year:

  • LEAD from where you are. Leadership is not about charisma or being the singular best.  Rather it is about being your best and doing the best you can.  Make that commitment to yourself.
  • LEAVE the people you meet and the places you touch better than you found them. Make a positive mark on the people and the world around you.
  • LIVE as if your life matters, because it does. To quote a phrase attributed to Dr. Suess:  to the world you may be just one person, but to one person you may be the world.  Choose to make a difference.
  • LOVE something greater than yourself. This is what makes a community a community, and it is central to the Catholic Benedictine values we profess at Saint John’s Prep.

Lead, leave, live, love.  Four simple but meaningful words important to take to heart.

I prefer to think of school as a kind of imaginarium, where every day – not just the first day – we get to ask and answer three questions:  IMAGINE what I can learn today, IMAGINE what I can do today, and IMAGINE who I can be today.  As we begin this new year, please encourage your daughters and sons to reach beyond the temple of their familiar or comfort zone, to try something new or something they are not already good at, to create, to invent, to reimagine.  These habits will serve them well throughout their lives.

Stay tuned for more details about a four-part parent-only lecture series we are preparing for this year.  The “Dear Parents” series will offer you the opportunity to learn more about Catholic and Benedictine values at Saint John’s, college planning, saving for college, and raising resilient children.  We will share more details soon.

With gratitude,

Jon McGee
Head of School

Click here to see a recording of Mr. McGee’s speech and the entire the Saint John’s Prep 2019 Convocation Ceremony