On March 6 and 7, a team of eight educators are visiting Jesuit High for an accreditation evaluation. The visiting team has read our School Improvement Goals and looked at our student data.They will observe at least 40 classes, interview teachers, students, and parents, and provide a professional assessment of how we are doing in pursuit of the "college-prep" part of the JHS mission.
Being here on Ash Wednesday will allow our visitors to see our mission to create faith-filled leaders in action. No doubt they will feel electricity in the air, as our hoops team prepare for state quarterfinal games Wednesday and Thursday at the Chiles Center. But with so much going on and just two days, it will be hard for the team to really get a pulse on the beating heart of Jesuit High.
Despite this blog's provocative title, there is nothing that we will hide from the visiting team. Still, in any given week, there are dozens of hidden and not-so-hidden moments that make Jesuit the special place that it is. We will try not to toot our own horns too hard, but there is a lot to proud of at JHS. I offer a montage of last week—shortened by two snowdays!
Tues, February 26:
- The cast and crew of Matilda offered an energetic performance for middle schoolers, kicking off another stupendous run of performances;
- Our double-state-champ swim team laughed and cheered their way through their end-of-season banquet;
- Our men's b-ball squad clawed their way to a hard-won playoff victory against Benson;
- Spring sports tryouts kicked off, with 550+ student-athletes. Baseball, softball, track & field caught a flash of sunshine, while the lax bros and sisters had a frosty start to their season.
Wed, February 27: Another snowday! Thanks for a much-needed respite, God!
Thurs, February 28: In her Physics class, Ms. Kuenz rendered friction frictionless, pulling a table cloth completely off the table without disturbing a place setting of china. Simultaneously, dozens of Ignatian educators performed feats of their own teaching magic, as they do every period, every day, every week of the year.
Thursday night: Our women's hoops team knocked off Tualatin in another dramatic finish, as cheerleaders flipped and the band rocked the Knight Center.
Friday: A small moment that we will never be able to share with the Accreditation team: Toward the end of the Sign of Peace at Mass, just after Fr. Calderón's moving, Matilda-themed homily, I was trying to get the attention of a particularly, um, enthusiastic student. We were well into the "Lamb of God," and her friends tried to communicate that I was trying to shush her and bring her back into a quieter mode. She turned, caught my gaze, flashed an iridescent smile, and made a little heart with her fingers from thirty feet away. I don't know the student's name, but I caught her message as she caught mine, as the Holy Spirit flowed once again in the ancient bones of the Smith Gym. That night, the men's bball team defeated the Black Tornado of North Medford in powerful fashion.
Saturday: The JHS Mock Trial Gold Team emerged as a state qualifier after three grueling rounds in the Hillsboro County Courthouse. On the same Saturday, our Battle of the Books team also qualified for State.
That night, another evening of Matilda led to ovations and the women hoopsters earned a trip to the Chiles Center with a fierce win over Liberty. My favorite on-campus moment on Saturday: The women basketballers' warm-up routine included a full-on dance party, with Disney tunes sung at top volume through the announcer's mic, as the players alternate free throws, three-pointers, and swing-dancing.
Sunday: Our recently-crowned state champion Ethics Bowl team won a Skype match impressively v. the champs of California. Lauren Haines, Shawna Muckle, Jack Jensen, Jenny Duan & Ria Debnath are heading to nationals at UNC-Chapel Hill in April!
Such over-the-top excitement occurs almost every day, every week in the halls of JHS. I just hope that our visitors get enough of a feel for our school to know that there is something different going on here. It is all done for the pursuit of knowledge and excellence, for fun and friendship, and ultimately, for the greater glory of God.
We bid our visitors welcome as they discover how Jesuit education is done in this little corner of the world. May they find us hospitable and humble hosts, and may they see what we see each day.
Paul J. Hogan