It is New Year’s Eve! The school year is about to unfold, and it overflows with hope and promise!
We welcome all the “New” in the form of 70 students, 2 international students (one from China and one from Turkey), 45 families and 4 staff members. We will approach physical education from a holistic sense, to include nutrition, wellness, and exercise. We will implement of a modular schedule for Art, Music, and Technology in the Middle School, enabling more in-depth study. We welcome new instructional approaches, creative ideas, and learning strategies brought to us by the 16 faculty members who engaged in professional development workshops this summer, and who will collaborate and share their experience and knowledge with the rest of the faculty during upcoming faculty meetings. Finally, we open the doors to a Preschool program that will bring us a joy-filled classroom of 3-year old children, so ready to hear the message Jesus wants to whisper in their ear.
At the same time we treasure the past; bidding goodbye and God’s blessings on those that will not continue to journey with us; Dawne Buckley, Erin Connors, and Phyllis Musella, as well as Mary Ann Aijala and Ed Royce-Tolland, both of whom reluctantly left us during the 2015-16 school year. We thank all of them for their dedication to Saint Bridget School and wish them well. They have individually and collectively contributed much to Saint Bridget School and we are forever grateful for them.
We celebrate our achievements of the past year, the highlights of which include the day of Community Service during Catholic Schools Week in which our students, Pre-K through Grade 8, fanned out across the Framingham community, lending a helping hand to our neighbors in a variety of meaningful ways. In addition we entered into a partnership with Foodie Café owners, David and Alicia Blaise, a relationship that not only provides our students with several different healthy lunch options each day, but additionally continues the effort to support our Framingham neighbors in need through contributions to Daniel’s Table. Win, Win! We transitioned over to an online standardized testing environment, NWEA MAP, enabling the teachers to further individualize instruction and deepen student learning with results that can be utilized almost immediately. Finally, our crowning achievement was our successful re-accreditation through the New England Association of Schools and Colleges; a distinction for which we are justifiably proud.
It would be unforgivable not to acknowledge the donation of hundreds of hours of work beyond the school day, year, and job responsibility that has made all this, and so much more, happen behind the scenes. Faculty and staff members, current parents, former parents, parishioners, community members, alumni, and our current students give generously of their time and talents because they believe passionately in the Mission of Saint Bridget School and the difference Catholic education makes in the lives of our children. One such blessing came in the form of a recent graduate, Aidan Scamby ’14. Aidan designed and built an interactive bookcase/activity center for the new preschool classroom as his Eagle Scout Badge project. This effort included a fundraising drive that completely outfitted the classroom with books, toys, and supplies. The generosity of volunteers, like Aidan, makes it possible to upgrade our technology systems and school facility, and expand our academic resources beyond budget constraints. Not only does this contribute to the excellent educational experience our students enjoy, but also our ability to keep tuition affordable. A favorite bible quote of mine comes to mind: “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.”(Hebrews 13:2) Saint Bridget School has angels, to be sure.
As we reach the cusp of a new year, we look forward with happy expectation to all that will be. Our classrooms are staffed with exceptionally qualified and creative teachers and support staff. They are ready to welcome your children tomorrow, and form a strong partnership with you this academic year. We encourage you to take advantage of opportunities to volunteer in the school through PTO events, in the lunchroom, the classrooms, or the Library. There are multiple ways to be actively involved in your child’s education at Saint Bridget School, and we welcome your participation. Sign-ups for many of these opportunities will take place tomorrow morning, Monday, August 29, in the School Hall, so be sure to stop by; I will be at the CORI table. Join us at the first PTO meeting on Tuesday, September 13, where the PTO will outline the fun and exciting events they have planned for the year and ways you can get involved.
Enrolling your child at Saint Bridget School is a gift he or she will come to know. Personally though, I know the sacrifices you are making and, if I may be so bold, on behalf of your child(ren), I thank you for it. My three children attended Catholic schools all the way up to or through college. I have seen the difference it has made in their confidence and preparedness for increasingly challenging academic and social arenas. Equally so, they have a strong work ethic, an ongoing quest for excellence, and an even stronger passion for social justice that finds its outlet in hands-on work, not just philosophy. This experience is not mine alone. I recently had opportunity to give a tour to a father of two alumni of Saint Bridget School who graduated 30 years ago. He remembered Mrs. Bruce. He remembered the science fair projects. With pride he shared the great successes each of his daughters have achieved since leaving Saint Bridget School. One in particular earned her Ph.D. in Social Work, is currently a professor at BU, and has developed a program at two local women’s prisons to enable the inmates to earn their bachelor degree during their incarceration; an effort to improve the lives of these women and their children. When I, truly humbled, expressed that he must be so proud, he replied, “It all started here. It was the education they received here that started it all.”
I will not soon forget that simple statement. It represents an awesome responsibility, a responsibility mirrored in our mission statement that guides us to prepare children “for a changing and challenging world”. It is a responsibility that transcends time, and clearly one that Saint Bridget School has been and still is committed to; yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Dwight D. Eisenhower noted, “Accomplishment will prove to be a journey, not a destination.” Well then, let the journey begin. Thank you for taking this journey with us. Happy New Year!