How we RISE!
Make a Groundbreaking Commitment
It’s hard to believe, but it completely slipped my mind. Preparing and planning has kept us all running. I remembered as the car took the turn around the gymnasium heading towards the back of the school and my boys pointed out the completely altered car line bypassing construction at the front of the school. Just like that, 11 years of dreams, plans, labor, perseverance, tears, stress, hope, prayers, and steady faith realized. Not quietly for those on our campus, as trenches get carved into our parking lots, trees come down, and large machines operate, but quietly in terms of the recognition of what this moment means in the hearts of so many Saint Olaf supporters spanning over 60 years. On the drive home this beautiful March morning, so many emotions whispered in my head.
There are people we wish were here today who have passed but believed unwaveringly in Saint Olaf as a church, school, and community, including in their final wishes. This past year the school has been the recipient of three in memoriam funds from such faithful supporters. These are people who worked at and for our school, had children and grandchildren graduate, and even attended themselves. That is a rare gift, 3 generations of committed families. That is the power of Catholic School Community. As Principal Mcfall recently wrote in our school’s weekly letter, we stand on many shoulders, multi-generational, dedicated people who believed to the end because of the amazing things this community can and does do together. I pray we all look back on this day, this moment in our lives, and say this was a time of miracles and wonder as we did something big for our kids, grandkids, and all those to come. I pray this for all our Catholic Schools.
Many of the schools in the Diocese are on similar journeys. We each in our own ways continue to fight for and uphold Catholic Education. While flashy buildings are hardly who we are, it is difficult to attract families to the what and why when they enter run down, “well-loved” facilities. We promise strong academics, faith-filled character development, and community, but often after those building tours. It often doesn’t matter if we can assure parents that students will experience the most up to date, researched backed, dynamic ELA program, if they can’t see beyond tattered carpet, peeling paint, and noisy AC window units. The sad reality is that we are not our parents or grandparents generation. That handy guy “Uncle Jimmy” that we all know who can jury rigg cords for computers doesn’t cut it anymore because communities and schools don’t operate the same ways. We don’t know “Uncle Jimmy” and certainly don’t want duct tape cords running down walls when we write tuition checks for our child’s best education.
While we may lament the memory of those relationships from our childhood parishes and schools, change is inevitable. The relationships are still there but manifest in different ways. What we offer today is the same ideology Catholic Schools were founded on, but the approaches must fit a far more affluent, higher consumer, and purchase savvy generation. So we don’t quit, but learn to speak a new language. If local Catholic Schools appear well-worn,
instead of pulling students and heading to the nearest Charter School, stay, contribute, invest, and re-build. That other school may have the newest building, but without a ideological foundation rooted in faith, it will never have the most critical component to education. Catholic Schools continue developing intensely rich, faith-filled people. There are still strong academics, thoughtful teachers deeply invested in your children, and nearby parishes offering constant support and prayers. That other school may help your student prepare academically to be a doctor, but your local Catholic School will help your student understand why being a physician is his/her God given talent and how to work in service and love to others. What we do with and how we use our education is what truly matters.
As Catholic Schools, we are endlessly and actively working on improvement in all areas. As we labor to catch up to schools with full government funding, we ask every Catholic reading this publication to support us. Talk about the good Catholic Schools do in your communities, share about the students and families you have known, learn and share about all the many Capital Campaign and building projects going on in our Diocese for schools. Prayerfully consider financially supporting one or more. Visit us! The groundbreaking for Saint Olaf began March 2, 2020, but we are one of many and as a system of Catholic Schools we stand on your shoulders as well as all those who came before. Please, celebrate with us and with all our schools. I recently wrote to our Saint Olaf families, believe in this school, believe in our families, our faith, and our community. This place is a light, one of many that must continue. If you’ve wondered whether this project can get done, or if it will ever even start. It STARTED today. Hear the whisper in the wind of what’s coming, feel the sunshine of God’s love warm your face as the fresh snow slowly melts into spring. Get ready, pray, and find a way to join in, if you haven't already. Catholic education is something worth being part of.