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!
on Thursday September 3