Clinton

Thank you so much for being here tonight.  Thank you for your support to Holy Cross. We’re all here for a number of reasons, not least of which the excellent academics that our students receive at Holy Cross.  It is clear that we offer a rigorous academic education to our students.   I have worked in public schools for a number of years; I know Holy Cross may not have the same level of resources as our local public schools. But we educate as well as or better than any public school because we have gifted and dedicated teachers and staff in our classrooms and school who love their students, who know how to excite curiosity in the minds of their students, and who lead by example to form hearts of compassion.  They are committed to the mission of Holy Cross:  to educate not just the minds but also the hearts of our students.

In addition to our outstanding academics and superior staff, what makes our school stand out? It is the sense of family. At Holy Cross, the boys and girls who sit at their desks are not merely our students; they are our children, too. We speak of our community as a family.  Teaching at Holy Cross is a calling that we have heeded.  It is our own personal mission.  I would like to illustrate this with a story about a kindergarten student who joined our school family this year.

Clinton’s family expressed an interest in having him attend Holy Cross last August.  I remember them because they were one of the first families that I was to register as a principal. Clinton’s mother was struggling with personal issues and his grandmother, Sheila, and Aunt Ashley, had basically been raising him since birth.  The mother still had a role in his life, though, and visited with him.  In fact, I remember she was with her family when I gave a tour of the school that her son would be attending.

Shelia, Clinton’s grandmother, is on disability and the family’s finances are pretty tight as you might imagine.  Shelia and I met to discuss tuition.    She had been setting aside a bit of money from her small disability payment and saving for the last seven months,  but she was very concerned whether it would be sufficient.  Sheila and I were able to reach agreement regarding tuition for Clinton.  What stands out for me is not the dollar amount, which is a fraction of the total tuition cost, but it was the fact that Sheila gave all she had.  The education of her grandson was (and is) a priority for her.  She made sacrifices in order for Clinton to attend Holy Cross and we embraced them as a part of our family.

In September, only a few weeks after school started, Sheila needed to see me urgently.  I met with her in my office and she was in tears.  Sadly, and tragically, Clinton’s mother had died in a car accident.  The family was clearly heartbroken and they had not yet told Clinton.  They turned to us for support in breaking the news to him.  Five days later, Clinton was told the news of his mother’s death surrounded by both his families: his biological family and his school family.

Just recently our two families came together again.  The school was a recipient of a service project from the University of Portland’s Pamplin School of Business.  (The exterior of the school was painted by over 100 UP business students, and I have to tell you, it looks amazing!) We needed a few school families to help support the students and serve lunch.  Sheila and two of her children were there most of the day painting, setting up and serving lunch.

I want you to keep Clinton in mind as you consider your gift to Holy Cross Catholic School tonight.  Imagine what kind of young man Clinton will be after nine years at Holy Cross.  We simply cannot do it without you. We invite you to be partners with us in our mission of educating the minds and hearts of not only Clinton, but all our students.

 

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