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Take Advantage of All Saint John’s Prep has to Offer

Saint John’s Prep Student Council President Regan Mies ’18 is on a mission to make the most of her last year at Prep, and she wants her fellow Johnnies to join her!

This week Saint John’s Preparatory School started our 161st year, welcoming students from 11 countries, 5 states and more than 30 Minnesota cities and towns. We officially started the academic year with a convocation in the Abbey Church. Headmaster Father Jonathan Licari, OSB and Fr. Bradley Jenniges, OSB, Prior of Saint John’s Abbey, presided over the ceremony. Speakers included Principal Pam McCarthy and Regan.

Regan welcomed students, faculty, staff and parents to campus. She gave her fellow students advice on how to make the most of the their time at Saint John’s Prep:

“Hello everyone, and welcome to Saint John’s Prep’s 161st year. My name is Regan Mies, and I’m the student body president for the 2017/2018 school year. I’m so excited to be a part of our convocation today, and to be able to say a few words of welcome to the Prep community—my fellow students, our parents, our faculty and our administration.

Before continuing, I want to take a moment to acknowledge that the Prep community has experienced great losses over the course of the summer: the passing of Ms. Ellenbecker Johnson, our former biology teacher, and of Ian Lo ’19, our classmate and friend, both of
whom will be missed and remembered. Their kindness, friendship and positive impact will remain present as we transition into fall.

The beginning of the school year is always such an incredible time. As a returning student, I’ve enjoyed hearing about everyone’s endeavors over the summer months—experiences like working on research, going on family road trips, spending weeks camping in the Boundary Waters, sailing, doing volunteer work and more. In my case —evading some unexpected moose and wildfires while hiking out west.

In addition to preparing for the school year, I know the teachers have been on some adventures over the summer, too—Ms. Daiker hiked to Maccu Piccu in Peru, Ms. Koffi spent time doing mission work on the Ivory Coast in Africa, and Mr. Miller went on a crazy cross-country road trip, to name just a few.

The diversity and variety of our summer adventures is only one example of the greater diversity of our community here at Prep. In this academic year, we will be learning alongside peers from eleven countries—from Japan to Brazil, five states—including Alaska, and over thirty Minnesota towns. These numbers stand to show that going to school at Prep truly is an international experience. As new students and returning students alike venture into the new academic year, I encourage everyone to take advantage of the opportunity we’ve been given through this diversity—the opportunity to learn from and alongside classmates from different cultures—from China’s to Austria’s, Florida’s to Iowa’s, or even the difference in culture from Foley to Brainerd. I believe the global perspective that we can gain by going to school at Saint John’s Prep is profoundly unique, especially as we’re set against the rural backdrop of Central Minnesota.

At Prep, there’s a palpable enthusiasm about getting to know the peers who we’re learning alongside, but another amazing part of our school is the rigor and enthusiasm with which we learn. A school year at Prep is full of academic and intellectual opportunity, both in our classes and in our extracurricular activities. It’s up to us to be curious, inquisitive, and to reach out for the opportunities that are present.

Let’s look forward to the coming year with the hopes of being challenged by new classes, perspectives, and ideas. We should aim to support our classmates in their endeavors—whether they’re competing on math team, scoring a goal on the Lake Sag field, or performing onstage in Les Miserables this spring. I’m looking forward to witnessing all of the remarkable undertakings that Prep students will tackle this year, and I know that there is so much in store for us all.

Mrs. Anderson’s sixth graders, welcome to Saint John’s Prep! I know you will have fun meeting new friends and starting your adventure at a new school! From tapping maple syrup and going on chapel walks this fall, over the next seven years, you’ll get the chance to explore the 2,700 acres that make up our beautiful campus—how cool  is that?

Middle schoolers, good luck on the sludge test in science! And good luck with all of your projects—they’re a lot of fun. Food’s day, especially. When it snows this winter, and you get the chance to go sledding, know that all of the high schoolers are jealously looking out the windows.

Ninth graders, welcome to the high school! Enjoy your new independence, the refectory, and all of the amazing classes you will be taking. I promise, it will be impossible to pick a favorite.

Tenth graders, you’re in for a great year. I hope you’ll all have fun being older than the freshmen! Sophomore year is the perfect time to try those clubs or sports you were maybe unsure about last year—so I strongly encourage you to put yourselves out there and give them a shot.

Juniors, I’m sure you’ve heard a lot about junior year, and I’m sure you’ve heard how tough it might be—especially for those brave souls who are taking on IB. Remember that your teachers and peers are a great support network. I won’t lie and say that junior year isn’t stressful, but I will tell you that it might be the most fun.

And finally, to my fellow seniors, Class of 2018, we’ve made it this far. Now we just have to navigate our way through college applications and two more semesters! Although it may sound like a daunting final stretch, there is so much we have to look forward to, and I’m confident we’ll make the most of the time we have left at Saint John’s Prep.

Whatever grade you’re in this year, remember that you only get the chance to experience it once. Take it on with enthusiasm and an open mind. Find passions that excite you. Find people that excite you.
Try new things, and even if they don’t work out in the least, you’ll have grown from giving them a shot. With this attitude, I’m sure that we’ll have a successful year.

I once read, “There is no elevator to success. You have to take the stairs.”
If that really is the case, between walking the 66 stairs from the science wing to the English classes—that feel like 600—I know that everyone at Prep is going to be successful.

So let’s take a second to think about all the cool things you’ve done this summer, maybe mourn summer’s end… Okay, perfect, that’s enough, because now we should look forward to all of the outstanding opportunities we will encounter this school year. Think of the memories we’ll make, and the experience’s we’ll share. It would be a disservice to yourself to stifle that sliver of excitement you might be feeling right now.

Walt Disney once said, “The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.”

I am genuinely excited to begin doing, to dive into the tradition and legacy of Saint John’s Prep’s 161st year with all of you. High school is what we make of it, so let’s make it a great year. Our world awaits.”

In addition to serving as president of student council, Regan is also captain of the tennis team, a member of National Honor Society and a frequent contributor to student publications.