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Principal's Blog

In this blog, Principal Paul Hogan will regularly shares with us his insights and observations. We hope you enjoy Paul's posts!

Empty. (aka, Letting Go, Redux)

September 16, 2015 will go down in Hogan family history as the day Jennifer and I became empty nesters (or, my new favorite euphemistic re-naming: FreeBirders!). That morning, we helped Molly ’15 move in to her dorm at Seattle University, then watched with the mixedest of emotions as she wandered into Orientation with her new acquaintance, Emma of Norwalk, CT. Molly gave us a hug and we exchanged “I love you’s,” but her heart and mind and feet were already well down the road into the exhilarating, intoxicating, fascinating new world that is college.

We were left standing there, with those mixed emotions. Pride. Joy and excitement (and a little bit of jealousy) for Molly. Some concern blended with confidence that she is ready. Regrets? (Did we miss imparting certain Big, Vital Lessons?). Questions of our own: How will our own lives change, now that we are living in an empty nest?

This morning, the house felt different. Empty is the right word. Molly’s room (and her brother’s): Empty. The cupboards, once teeming with teenager food: Empty. Even the sound of the rain and the light this morning felt: Empty.

I remember my dad dropping me off at college with a wave and a “let’s talk in a week or so, once you get your legs under you.” These days, many brand-new college students have already texted by the time the parents arrive home. Fortunately, Seattle U whisked Molly away to an adventure in the Olympic Peninsula, so we won’t hear from her for a couple of days at least. That is as it should be, I think.

Jesuit mom Tracy Hooper, who has spoken at September parent evenings for the past four years, just sent me a link to a book that all JHS parents should read—preferably years before the day of the Big Drop-Off. Julie Lythcott-Haims was the Dean of Freshmen at Stanford for ten years. The main thesis of her new book, How to Raise an Adult, is that too many modern American parents coddle our kids, which prevents them from being ready for the challenges of college, much less the adversity of the so-called “real world.” Lythcott-Haims offers real, nitty-gritty “how-to’s” about raising a fully-functioning adult human being in today’s world.

Julie Lythcott-Haims’s book tour is bringing her to Central Catholic on October 26, 2015 (thanks to our friends from CC for offering her wisdom to the community, free of charge!). Below is a link to Lythcott-Haims’s website, including a two-minute video description of her book: http://www.howtoraiseanadult.com/ I must confess that I have not yet read the whole thing, but so far, Lythcott-Haims offers excellent suggestions for preparing our children to become adults.

Another great opportunity for parents, offered by the University of Portland: Dr. Meg Jay is speaking at UP on Sunday, Sept 27 at 7 pm at the Chiles Center. Dr. Jay wrote the NY Times bestseller The Defining Decade (the go-to guide for any parent who has a 20-something). Her TED Talk has been viewed 7.5 million times. Check it out here.

Dr. May’s speech is FREE and open to the public. Tickets can be picked up at the Chiles Center box office Monday-Friday, 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. For more information about tickets, contact Dave Taylor at taylord@up.edu or 503-943-7525.

While we have them, we must fill our kids up with all the skills and character traits they need to navigate early adulthood. Let us pray that by the time our nests are empty, our children’s arsenal of survival skills will not be.

Paul Hogan
Posted by Erika Tuenge on Thursday September 17
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Back in the Saddle

In 2014-15, the Jesuit High community, including students, alums, faculty, staff, board members, parents and grandparents, had our share of illness and tragedy and trial. But few matched the near-death and resurrection experience of Jax Garett during her sophomore year. Jax, an experienced rider and horsewoman, was thrown from a horse she barely knew, suffered a major brain injury, and then experienced a truly miraculous recovery (see my blog of January 2015 if you want the full picture).

I was thrilled to receive the following email from Jax in mid-August:

Dear Mr. Hogan,

I wanted to tell you that I rode for the first time yesterday. Now that I've hit this major milestone in my recovery I feel that I have even more drive to get better. I am so grateful for how accommodating Jesuit has been throughout this experience. Thank you! I rode Oskar for the second time today and I'm already trotting.

I haven't had any negative symptoms from riding so far. I'll hopefully be loping by next week. I felt that the least I could do was tell you of my improvement.

One of the best elements of working in education is that each school year presents a fresh start, filled with new energy and unimagined possibilities. Jax embodies this spirit in such a profound and moving manner. I choked up as I looked at these grainy images of her atop Oskar, ready for the next steps on her Jesuit adventure. Last spring, we didn’t know if she would ever walk on her own. Now Jax is loping along, back in the saddle and preparing to gallop off into her junior year.

On September 1, the first day of school, I received a note from another amazing young woman who is just beginning the next chapter of her own story. Chrisleine Temple was born in war-torn Sierra Leone, from which her mom extracted her when she was three (they finally landed in the US when Chrisleine was five). Those of you present at the 2013 Financial Aid Luncheon will remember Chrisleine. She graduated from St. Andrew Nativity School in 2011 and from Jesuit in 2015, having gotten up early every morning in Gresham for seven years in pursuit of a Jesuit education.

Now Chrisleine is a freshman at Williams College in Massachusetts. Williams, my alma mater, is an educational Shangri-la about as far from Sierra Leone as one can imagine.

This was Chrisleine’s Sept 1 message:

Can I call you Paul now, or is that not really a thing? (Editor’s note: It really is a thing.)

I hope you had a great summer! I know like many parents with graduates from the Class of 2015, you're probably preparing to drop Molly off at college and praying we all survive our first year unscathed.

I am one of the lucky ones who have already moved in and are slowly adjusting to life as a college student. My mom left on Sunday, so I've had a day or two of independence—and it’s amazing!

Attached are a few images of life at Williams. My roommate and I still have quite a bit of decorating to do, but you can see what I have so far. Thanks again for the banner; it totally helped bring the room together. Thanks again for putting Williams on my radar; it's the BEST!

Have a great school year, and hopefully see you in December!


And so we begin anew, with a school full of energetic young people who are back in the saddle, and a big old cosmos full of alums who are imagining new worlds of possibility. What gifts the new school year brings!

Paul Hogan
Posted by etuenge on Thursday September 3
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