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Principal's Blog

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

Leaning In

On Thursday afternoon, I sent this email to all members of the Classes of 2016 and 2017. Parents may find this message of interest. I strongly recommend reading the articles at the end of this blog post.

Dear seniors (juniors, I suggest you lean in and listen too. This will be you soon enough):

As you know too well, May 2 is “decision day.” Some of you chose long ago where you will be next September, and some of you are doing your final discernment this weekend. Either way, be at peace. For far too long, you have been bombarded by messages telling you that where you go to college is who you are.

That is bunk. Period. Who you are is who you are.

I know enough of you to know that you are an amazing group of young people—talented and bright and most of all deeply caring of one another. You are smart and filled with faith and courage and intellect and ready to change the world.

So be at peace. Wherever you go next year, you will be superbly prepared. You know how to write, and to think critically, and to problem-solve, and to create and imagine, and most important of all, you know that you are loved, and you know how to love. You will be fine.

Whether you got into your “first choice” college or not, you will find yourself in a wonderful place next year. You get to pursue your passions in new and exciting ways, experience challenges (cranky roommates, tough profs), and thrilling levels of liberty. You may meet your future spouse, and will certainly make deep, lifelong friends.

Wherever you end up next fall, take the advice of Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, and Lean In. Do not wonder if you should be somewhere else, or if you really belong where you are, or otherwise second-guess your college choice (even if that choice is not to go to college!). Lean in and dig deep into the experience.

A wise Jesuit High senior (ok, so it was my son) once said to me, as we were strolling a gorgeous campus on yet another college visit, “You know, Dad, I could be happy at any of these places. Colleges are little worlds created exclusively for 18- to 24-year-olds, with just the right mix of social stuff, academics, and activities. I am just gonna pick one that feels right, and that we can afford, jump in and see how it goes.”

Someday, you will look back and see a coherent story, as if your life were being planned on a grand, celestial level (that is because it is!). I hope you will see Jesuit as a formative time when you learned that God loves you and that you are on the right path.

So relish every minute of your last weeks with your high school friends, then get ready to lean in to the next steps on your journey.

Juniors, please see through the nonsense notion that it is worth sacrificing your health, sleep, friends, family, faith, or integrity in pursuit of getting just the “right” college bumpersticker on the back of your folks’ car.

The articles below help put into perspective the college scramble.

Start with this classic New York Times piece by David Brooks.

Then read about Harvard’s Caring Commons Project (start on page 7 of the Executive Summary).

Finally, read this article from the Washington Post.

Paul Hogan
Posted by etuenge on Thursday April 28
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Happy Earth Day (and Green Week at JHS)!

Happy Earth Day, which brings to a close Green Week at Jesuit. In Portland, as the roses and rhodies are starting to burst and the air is alive with spring birdsong, it is easy to appreciate the glory of creation. We live in one of the most beautiful places on earth, from the snow-capped volcanoes to our east to the spectacular crashing waves of the Pacific to the west. Many of us moved here to be closer to nature, and thus to its Creator.

Still, even as we have been enjoying the gorgeous weather of the past few weeks, we have a restive sense that all is not well with Mother Earth. Normally staid scientists expressed astonishment at world-wide temperatures in February, which according to NASA and NOAA were the most “abnormally warm” of any month since records began in 1880. On Wednesday, Portland hit 90 degrees earlier than ever before. So even as we relish our relationship to the Earth and celebrate Earth Day, we know that we have to do all we can to combat climate change.

Pope Francis has tried his best to inspire us to reduce our footprint on the planet. His first encyclical, Laudato Si, “On Care for our Common Home,” is addressed to all seven billion humans on this planet. It enjoins us to take action before cataclysmic change is irreversible—for the sake of the planet, yes, but also for the survival of humanity.

At Jesuit High, we are trying to educate this generation of students to honor their kinship with creation by thinking globally, but acting locally. We have taken many small steps and several big ones in order to reduce our carbon use. The biggest step has been simply to pay attention, by tracking our use of energy in the form of electricity, paper, water, and waste.

As you will see in these two videos, Pope Francis’s call for all of us to live in kinship with Creation has resonated across the Jesuit universe. I am proud that in this first video from Educate Magis, which contains stories of Jesuit schools on five continents, Jesuit-Portland is the “green” representative of North America.

The brief bit in the Educate Magis film featuring Ms. Kuenz and me comes from a longer video created by Mario Sarich ’16, our fantastic senior videographer (this video is also above at the top of my blog post).

This third video is the one that opened our Friday Mass today, from Pope Francis’s February Intentions.

May all of these messages spur us to greater awareness and activism on behalf of our common home.

Paul Hogan
Posted by Erika Tuenge on Friday April 22
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