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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!

Searing

Searing. That was the subject line of an email I recently sent to Brian Doyle, the editor of Portland, the remarkable magazine that Brian edits for the University of Portland. I had just finished reading an article in Portland magazine. Written by Dr. Paul Myers, Director of UP's Health and Counseling Center, the article offers an unblinking and angry and eloquent critique of "rape culture" in American colleges. Dr. Myers reminds us that we all have a stake in this discussion. In fact, the stakes could hardly be higher, as the bodies and minds and spirits of our sons and daughters, are at risk—and the statistics are startling and stark and demand a response.

Yet, until recently, we have been reluctant to talk about sexual assault and rape, especially when it involves young people. As parents and educators, we would prefer to avoid the subject. Too ugly. Too painful. Perhaps too close to home. So we JUST DON'T TALK ABOUT IT!

The entirety of my email exchange with Brian went like this:

Brian,

I just finished reading the article on sexual assault in your most recent edition of Portland. It enraged me and made me weep—as an educator and principal of a school of 1280 sacred young people, but also as a husband, brother to five sisters, and father of a high school senior girl.

I am hoping for permission to share the article with the JHS community. It is such a powerful piece; I really believe it will have an impact. On Thursday, March 4, Officers Dan Cotton and Kelly Godinet of the Beaverton PD addressed our students in gender-specific assemblies on the laws governing sexual assault and unwanted sexual contact.

The sessions were framed with powerful prayers by members of our Campus Ministry team. Students reflected on and discussed the sessions in classes later last Thursday. This article would make a sobering follow-up and give parents a way into difficult but crucial conversations with their kids.

Thanks for considering. If there is appropriate compensation, let me know.

-Paul

Brian's response:

O heavens yes. I'll send the pdf. Share it widely and with anyone in any venue anywhere. It's the best most furious passionate thing I think has ever been published in a university magazine and I would like 300 million people to read it. Share it on listservs and conferences and whatever you want.

No compensation. This one's sin and crime. This one is us fighting evil together. B

Why should a high school be fighting "rape culture"? Isn't this really a problem for our nation's colleges? The first page of Dr. Myers' article contains these frightening, atrocious facts: "Most rapes are inflicted on children under the age of 18. The second-most rapes are inflicted upon girls and young women from ages 18 to 26."

So, as you head off on spring break, I ask you to read this article. Most high schoolers spend spring break enjoying innocent fun with their families, but even then, pop culture can seep in to insinuate that spring break is really a time for intoxication and promiscuous sexual activity. Yes, Jesuit is a safe place with caring adults on the alert—but our students are still susceptible to the lessons of "Superbad" (in our day, it was "Risky Business"). When they are off campus, some students will follow the slippery road from curiosity to intoxication to unwanted and destructive sexual encounters. As parents and educators, we must work together to combat this evil.

I am sending Dr. Myers' article to all of our students. After Officers Godinet and Cotton's presentations, our students asked for tools to prevent sexual assault. We are in early discussions with Dr. Myers and Kristina Houck at UP about beginning a "Green Dot" sexual-assault prevention program at Jesuit. You will understand a bit more about Green Dot from the article, attached here as a pdf ("No More").

Thanks for reading. If you find the article compelling, send it to your friends, especially fellow parents, and anyone else who may join this cause.

Thanks for having the courage to enter into these tough but absolutely vital conversations with your child(ren). Special thanks to UP, to Brian Doyle and Laurie Kelley and especially Dr. Paul Myers, for pulling the scales from our eyes when it comes to this most difficult of subjects, sexual assault and rape among young people. O heavens, no. NO. NO MORE.

Paul Hogan

Principal

phogan@jesuitportland.org

Posted by etuenge on Thursday March 19 at 10:46AM
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A Run of Retreats


Freshmen attended the annual Freshman Retreat, where they experienced fun bonding activities, non-stop laughter, and maybe even a "Let It Go" sing-along.


It seems like only yesterday that we were at Camp Solomon Schechter with 300 of our favorite freshman friends and 100 older student leaders (at least during the bus drop-off/switchover). Now, close to the same number of students are headed to Trout Creek Bible Camp in Corbett for this weekend's Sophomore Overnight, under the leadership of Athletic Director and youth minister extraordinaire Mike Hughes.

Don Clarke and students on the FME


The boys of the FME (February Men's Encounter) are still catching up on their sleep, and feeling the love that they discovered just last weekend. As I am writing this (February 12, night time), the leadership team of the FMCE (Feb-March Coed Encounter) is meeting at school to plan the next Encounter.

Did I mention that the entire JHS staff is going on retreat on Tuesday, February 17? We will fan out throughout Portland to do service projects, then gather back at school for Mass and fellowship.

Tis a season I like to call the "Run of Retreats—aka, Does Don Clarke's guitar ever sleep?, aka, Did God create several Fr. JK Adams impersonators?" By my tally, over 60% of the students and 100% of the staff will experience a retreat between the end of January and the start of March, and Mr. Clarke and Fr. Adams will have presided over all of them.

Billy Bigler, S.J., Fr. JK Adams, S.J., and Rob Van Alstyne, S.J. on the Freshman Retreat


Retreats make us who we are. There are plenty of great academic schools out there, and a number of athletic powerhouses, and a few really fine fine arts programs (though I would argue few schools combine excellence across the board as we do!). But those programs are not why Ignatius and his companions decided to create the Society of Jesus. Their mission, plain and simple, was to save souls.

And so is ours. Parents often wonder about the seemingly mysterious "secret sauce" of Jesuit retreats, which spills into our hallways and classrooms and is revivified every Friday at Mass, like some divine sourdough yeast that keeps on growing and giving, year after year.

While there are indeed sacred secrets on some of our retreats, I am now going to share the main ingredients for a Jesuit retreat:

  • Older students who wish to pass on what they have learned about self-respect, honesty, and most importantly the love of God to their younger brethren and sistren.
  • A most exquisite balance of clear Catholic, Christian spirituality, including the centrality of the Eucharist, with an Ignatian respect for God in all things, people, and especially faith traditions.
  • A less sacred but still artful balance of pop music by Maroon 5, Bill Withers, Taylor Swift, Garth Brooks, and favorites from the liturgical hymnal, all interpreted via Mr. Clarke's 12-string.
  • Some serious fun and games, often involving skits, ice-breakers, visual art, and physical play.
  • Some of the Northwest's most powerful natural settings.
  • An experience of creating community that does not happen by accident, but through very intentional steps that include young people putting aside their technology and actually talking to one another in an authentic way.
  • Finally, and most importantly, an invitation to recognize Jesus Christ and His love for each one of us. Sooner or later, students recognize Him. He may come as a whisper or a gale that knocks them over, but the gift of the Holy Spirit arrives. That is a guarantee on a Jesuit retreat.
  • A bus ride home, full of changed people, students who have discovered joy and the love of Christ on the road to salvation.

Hallelujah, people, we are on a run of retreats!!!


Paul Hogan

Principal

phogan@jesuitportland.org

Posted by etuenge on Saturday February 14
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