Nov. 8: As I head to Chicago for a conference, I am thinking of conversations held and conversations yet to come--and thrilling recent examples of the excellence to which we aspire as a Jesuit school.
Conversations, 1: Thanks to the over 1000 parents who came to school for parent-teacher conferences on Nov. 5 and 6. Thanks to PowerSchool, it would be reasonable enough for a parent to say, "I know how my student is doing academically; do I really need to drive to Jesuit to have that information confirmed?" These days, conferences have become less about grade reports, however, and much more about real conversation: How does my child seem to you? Is he happy? Does she engage meaningfully? Did you know this important nugget about how our lives at home are going?
As a Jesuit school, parents are our most important partners in mission--which is to raise children to be good, faithful adults who help make the world a better place. We can't do that relying entirely on technology; conversations are at the heart of any Ignatian work, especially a Jesuit school.
Conversations, 2: On Monday, November 9, author Gene Yang spoke to the student body about race, identity, and growing up "different" in America. For the past few years, JHS English teachers Megan Mathes, Tracy Villareal, and Maureen Milton, with help of Librarian Gregory Lum, have connected sophomores to Mr. Yang for a Skype "author-talk" session about his graphic novel American-born Chinese.
On Monday, the entire student body had the opportunity to "dig deeper" with Mr. Yang as we continued our school-wide conversations about race and culture in America. Ask your child what they thought of Mr. Yang's comments and their classmates' responses.
Conversations, 3: I am in Chicago for a conference of principals of Jesuit middle and high schools. When I came to Jesuit in 1994, there were about 50 Jesuit schools in the US and Canada. Now, just over 20 years later, there are over 80. In an era in which Catholic schools in the US have been closing at an alarming rate, almost all of the 30+ new Jesuit schools were created to serve the poor, including Nativity middle schools and Cristo Rey high schools.
The principals’ conference will focus on what we have learned from these new schools and the students they serve, so that places like Jesuit can better support the students who come to us from poverty, most of whom will be the first in their families to go to college. Of all the reasons I am so proud to be part of the worldwide Jesuit mission, the challenging work of being in solidarity with the poor is perhaps paramount.
Quality, 1: At a recent conference sponsored by the University of Oregon, Jesuit's journalism class took home several awards, including the state-wide prize for best website. Click here to view the site.
The online Jesuit Crusader was recognized for the combined excellence of its writing and editing, its timely and frequently updated stories, and the quality of its photography and video. We are so proud of our brilliant young journalists and photographers, as well as the contributions of that amazing multi-media cauldron of coverage known as JCTV/Broadcast Journalism.
Quality, 2: If you saw Hands on a Hardbody, the musical that ran on the Moyer stage from Nov. 5-8, you know it IS possible to carry off a funny, poignant, inspiring full-length musical using only a 1995 Nissan pickup truck as a set. Audiences were left shaking their heads in wonder that the JHS Drama Department had once again exceeded its own high standards of excellence. Bravo!
Quality, 3: The JHS Volleyball Varsity Team has entered rare air indeed. After winning 64 straight matches over the past two seasons (!!), including the prestigious Nike Tournament of Champions in Phoenix earlier this season, the volleyballers completed another perfect season in emphatic fashion on November 7.
Facing a very talented Central Catholic in the state final for the second year in a row, the VBers overcame the fiercely determined Rams' onslaught in the first two games (22-25 CC, then 25-23 JHS). As the student sections rocked the Liberty HS gym, this crucible revealed the heart of a champion. After the first hour seesawed back and forth between incredible spikes and digs and saves, the Jesuit players locked in and grabbed hold of the title that they had worked so hard to gain. The state of Oregon will not soon see a team of such remarkable achievement. Thanks for the memories, girls!
on Monday November 9