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Principal's Blog

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

Visiting a Miracle

On January 10 sophomore Jax Garrett was thrown from a horse and suffered a traumatic brain injury. For a very scary ten days, Jax lay in a coma, having suffered a "shearing injury" to the white matter that lies between the hemispheres of her brain. It was unclear whether Jax would recover, or if she did, whether she would ever be the same.

Jax and her mom, Chris

Hundreds of folks in Milwaukie, at Jesuit, Santa Clara, and Seattle University prayed for a miracle—for full recovery for Jax. Despite the seriousness of her injury, within a few days, Jax was showing signs of responsiveness.

On January 20, Jax's twin sister Halle wrote with what she called "amazing news! Jax has started to speak a little, can write some, and somewhat read. But the best part is that it's still Jax. It's still the same stubborn, funny, caring girl we knew before the accident. I had a great conversation with her today by using a whiteboard for her to communicate because it is very difficult for her to speak.

"Jax understands what happened to her and where she is, and she has all of her memories intact. She has not forgotten any people, memories, events. It's an absolute miracle how fast she is recovering. The chance of her waking up and being the same person with the same personality was very low, but as she recovers we've concluded that she's still our Jax. She makes witty remarks and responses and even took a couple steps yesterday!

"The doctors say she will be back to 100% within six months. We are truly blessed that Jax is doing so well and it's absolutely incredible that she remembers everything."

Chris Garrett, mother of the twins as well as Sheridan '14, reports that it was really Halle who helped bring her sister back to consciousness. "It was that twin thing, you know," said Chris. "Halle just sat there with Jax, asking her to respond. When she did, Halle got a white board and used their special connection as her twin to slowly bring Jax back to us. The doctors say they have never seen anyone with such a traumatic injury come back so fast. It's really a miracle."

On January 25, Jax and Halle's dad Terrell shared another poignant, joyful note: "In addition to the blessing of getting to keep our daughter, we get to keep the same person. The wry personality is completely intact and wonderful to experience. While many may not be happy in a situation such as this, we are appreciative. All you have to do is look around a little and we are doing pretty well in comparison. For that we are thankful. We are also thankful for the support of the Jesuit community throughout this process."

On Wednesday, January 28, I had the privilege of visiting Jax at Randall Children's Hospital. While she has a very long road ahead, I was astonished at how alert, bright, funny, and confident Jax was. She was preparing for 5 ½ hours of really tough physical therapy later that day, and perhaps five months of intense work followed by necessary rest for her brain. But she is indeed the old Jax—the same girl who rode for three days on horseback into Hell's Canyon with her dad last spring, the same Jax who lights up our classrooms and hallways, the same Jax who is determined to visit her horse Oscar even before she is officially released from the hospital on February 12.

Yes, Jax has a long road ahead. But at this point, that road looks like it will turn back to Jesuit High much earlier than any of us had hoped or dared to dream, just 20 short days ago. For that, we can thank the remarkable health professionals caring for Jax, her amazing family (especially Halle her twin), and the power of prayer.

Paul Hogan

Principal

phogan@jesuitportland.org

Posted by etuenge on Friday January 30
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One more trip down to Funky Town

I had the bittersweet experience of attending my final Father-Daughter dance as a dad (of Molly '15) at the Oregon Zoo on Saturday, January 17. As Mr. Billy Biegler, SJ, explained in the opening prayer, this is "the best dance of the year" for several reasons: 1. It's a dance without drama. 2. The music is AWESOME! 3. You know that you really love your date, and vice versa.

This is the third year in a row that I have written about the Father-Daughter Dance, a sign of my affection for this evening of pure joy and love. The girls just wanna have fun; the dads know it's only rock n' roll (but they like it!). The most amusing moment at the FDD came as the theme song to Frozen, "Let it go," blasted through the speakers: The girls all sang the refrain at the top of their lungs, while the dads just stood there, perplexed: This is one song few dads had EVER heard, clearly!

The highlight of the evening is the dance competition, dominated in recent years by the Baudey family. For the third year in a row, Mia and her dad Pierre-Laurent took top honors, this time in the "Latin" category. In a crowd-pleasing turn in the hip-hop competition, junior Rachel Phan and dad Thi shimmied and shook their way to victory. Perhaps the most impressive win of the evening was the trio of Tom, Kirsten '15 and Cameron '18 Calverley, who triumphed in the swing competition. Jitterbugging with one partner is tough enough, but Dr. Calverley managed to keep both his daughters twirling and spinning through three frenetic rounds—bravo!

Of course, this evening would not be possible without the efforts of Jesuit moms, led by K'Lyn Doherty and Liz Coleman, along with Dean of Students Elaine Forde. We owe deep gratitude to the legion of ladies who decorated the Zoo, ran the registration booth, and organized the photos and food and dance competitions. Thanks too to Mr. Falkner and his crew of Photography students, who expertly captured the couples as they entered the dance.

Saturday evening also provided me at long last with the appropriate response to the occasional critical comments hurled our way. When JHS is ironically referred to as "University of Jesuit," or when we are accused of recruiting athletes (really?!), I am going to quote my new favorite philosopher Taylor Swift, who reminded me on Saturday night that: "…the haters gonna hate, hate, hate. Baby, I'm just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake—shake it off, shake it off!"

So thanks to the moms, thanks to my fellow dads, and a special thanks to the JHS girls for bringing such energy to the FDD. On behalf of all the dads who spent Saturday shaking it up, shaking it down, and shaking it off, we just want to say: "We never miss a beat, we're lightning on our feet..."

Paul Hogan

Principal

phogan@jesuitportland.org

Posted by etuenge on Tuesday January 20
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