This letter from Fr. Bur is directed to the parents of those students accepted into the Class of 2018.
Dear Parents and Guardians,
Happy New Year!
It is probably coming more quickly than you anticipated: the decision about high school for your son! I encourage you to take some time to consider the high school that will be best for him. We look forward to welcoming the current eighth graders into the Prep class of 2018 in the fall. We are confident that each of these students can thrive here as an experienced staff reviewed each application. Here are some elements of high school life from my perspective that you can consider when making a decision about any high school:
• Bracketing the Day to Day: Two of the most exciting days of your son’s education here at St. Joseph’s Prep will be his first day, an orientation day when upperclassmen will greet him at the building entrance, and his last day when he graduates in June 2018. In between those two occasions, the days will fill your boys with challenges in classrooms and in activities of all kinds, with both the shared joys of victory and the shared sorrows of defeat. During this time, we at the Prep want our students to come to know the world as it is, a world longing for the contributions that together they will make with their talents and their love.
• The Challenge of the New: the new freshman environment can be unsettling not only for our students but also for their parents and guardians. We know that the vast majority of Prep freshmen, some immediately and others after a few months, experience the Prep as a home away from home. To assist in this, the Prep offers many opportunities to form friendships and to experience the success of common efforts in clubs appealing to a broad variety of interests and talents. I marvel at some boys, of course, who will form friendships with creative ways of hanging out or will challenge themselves in service to the less fortunate.
• Adjusting Time and Effort: freshman year typically demands more intense study habits than those of elementary school. Without a realistic attitude about time and effort, our boys, especially those engaged in activities, often feel anxious about these new demands. We make every effort to ease these anxieties with outreach from our counselors, with the offer of tutors and mentors and with frequent opportunities for physical activity in sports and intramurals.
You parents and guardians, of course, have done and will continue to do the most important work of encouraging and enabling your boys to take advantage of all that a high school has to offer. The commitment of parents and guardians always astounds me and encourages me to try to keep up with you! I know you join me in considering each boy as infinitely important in this world. We believe that each one bears in himself the possibility of becoming a more perfect example of the human nature that God creates and manifests to us in Jesus Christ, men for and with others in the tradition of the Jesuits.
We stand ready to welcome your sons and his classmates and may we together come to know them in all of their promise. May their future continue to encourage us to make our own contributions to our world. I join you in daily prayer for these young men. May the Spirit of God continue active in their hearts now and forever.
Rev. George W. Bur, S.J. ’59
President, St. Joseph’s Prep
To read more from Fr. Bur, go to his blog here.