I send a special word of congratulations to the administration, faculty and staff at Holy Name School in Sheridan, Wyoming. As your institution celebrates its 100th anniversary, please know of my continued prayers for your success.
I have had the privilege to be involved and connected with Catholic schools for quite a few years now. This has consisted of serving in a number of roles. I have been the Coordinator of Religious Education, a high school theology teacher and campus minister, principal of a K-8 school, and now the Superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Diocese of Cheyenne for the last four years. I continue to learn and grow with each new experience and with each passing year.
These last four years have provided an opportunity to see Catholic education from a vantage point which I had not previously considered. Being involved with more than one school at a time creates a perspective not as easily realized when confined to one parochial institution. It has enabled me to witness the successes and the struggles of the various educational institutions and put it into the context of the universal Church. We are all working toward the goal of educating our children in light of the faith, but the way that is accomplished is varied indeed.
A school with fifty students functions differently than the school with over three hundred students. The school with a leaning toward the Classical Curriculum has a different flavor than the one which does not have that direction. Some schools may have a more vibrant athletic program than their counterparts, but others may be stronger in areas of music, speech, and drama. The end result is still the desire to provide an academic education enveloped in the faith of Jesus Christ and His Church.
Principals and administrators—thank you for your leadership. You set the tone for the school. Your ability to model the faith and provide excellent spiritual and academic leadership for the school is essential to its success. Author John Maxwell says an institution will rise and fall in connection with the leadership at the top. Each of you bears an immense amount of responsibility for the success of your school. I offer a special word of gratitude to each of the Catholic school principals in Wyoming. Your task is not an easy one, but your effort and dedication is truly appreciated. This superintendent certainly appreciates your work.
Teachers continue to amaze me at what they are able to accomplish each year in their classrooms. The environment of education has changed immensely over the years—and not always for the better. However, our teachers continue to adapt and change to the times. Keeping up with technological changes is one thing, but keeping up with the changes in cultural norms and expectations is a whole different story in and of itself. Your skills, your flexibility, and your commitment to education are truly honorable. Thank you for the sacrifices you make to help our children learn and grow into mature Christian adults. Your work has eternal consequences, and for each of you striving to do it well, I simply say, THANK YOU.
The support staff keeps the wheels of the institution turning. Thank you to each of you as well. Paraprofessionals add a huge dimension to the success of our schools. The bookwork and record keeping is no small task. Keeping the facilities in tip-top shape, sometimes on a very limited budget, is not something we can take for granted. The meals provided to the students in our cafeterias gets to be more difficult all the time. Following the federal guidelines is a daunting task all by itself. In each of these supportive roles, I simply say, THANK YOU.
Parents and volunteers, financial benefactors, and community business owners who support the endeavors of the local Catholic schools, THANK YOU. Your generous support is essential for the future of our institutions. I realize the immense sacrifices that parents make to send their children to Catholic schools. The financial resources and the volunteer hours you provide for the upkeep of the school is truly appreciated.
As we prepare to enter into summer vacation, I extend my best wishes to all of the students for a joy-filled and safe summer. Likewise, I pray that all of the administrators, teachers, and support staff find time for rest and relaxation as well. May God bless each of you abundantly!