Graduation. It would seem to be the culmination of everything we do at the Catholic Schools of Fairbanks. On Friday, twenty-four students will stand at Baccalaureate, sing praises, and be blessed before graduation. On Friday, twenty-four students will sit on stage and walk across it to receive in hand a piece of gilded paper that represents the hard work that they have done these past thirteen years – the end of one journey and the beginning of another.
Sitting on that stage, those students represent the profile of a Monroe Graduate at Graduation. At the end of this journey, they recognize the necessity of remaining open to growth, intellectually competent, religious, loving, and committed to doing justice, and that those traits are not a destination but a constantly sublated goal. Hopefully, as they sit in those pews, as they sit on that stage, listening to the speeches, they will look back and see that we have modeled those traits for them.
Watching the graduation speeches take shape, I know that, at the moment, the students are most profoundly touched by the love that the Catholic Schools of Fairbanks has shown them. That love we have for our students is why it would be a mistake to think of graduation as the culmination of what we do at Monroe. In the years to come, we will be there to answer questions on homework. We will be there to mentor them, or to give them a safe harbor to vent their frustrations. We will provide a location for marriages, and we will be there to help educate their children. Some of them may even take up the mantle of teaching themselves. Yes, in time, we may also host funerals. That is why I teach at Monroe – because our students never do leave our care, even as they become our colleagues.
With springtime and the end of the year, the students have a lot of energy, and cannot wait to be done, yet they are not done. Please help us encourage them to get late work turned in, and to study for finals. Remind them that school rules, including adhering to the dress code, are still in effect at the end of the year – I would hate for anyone to get into trouble at this late date. Students also need to start cleaning out their lockers.
Finally, I would like to give a shout out to all of the students who participated in the play, and to all of the people who donated time, effort, and money to make it happen. If you missed it, the performance was hilarious, with great moments from everyone involved.