Here's to Your Future...
"For I know the plans I have for you, " declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." -Jeremiah 29:11-13.
It seems that no other graduating class needs those words more than yours, Class of 2020. The year where schedules were tossed to the wind, plans were rearranged, and milestone moments were postponed or cancelled. This was supposed to be YOUR year. The one you have been waiting for what probably seems like a lifetime. Despite the curveball thrown your way mid-spring, you finished with a strength that you did not know you possessed. Maintaining a rigorous academic schedule is not a foreign concept to you as Aquinas students, but learning and committing to your studies at home is. Nothing about the end of your senior year was normal, and each and every one of you found ways to not only exceed as scholars, but also to nurture the friendships that you all hold so dear.
While I do not know many of you on a personal level, I had the honor of sitting among your families as you transitioned from one chapter to the next. I watched the faces of the people who love you the most light up when the teachers spoke so highly of you. I listened to the accomplishments you all earned over your time at Aquinas, and observed how you walked with such humility to receive those awards. Even with masks on, the smiles from your family were full of hope and joy and as evident as the tears in their eyes as you took those final steps in the chapel.
To label Aquinas Academy as special is an understatement. Having been part of the extraordinary family atmosphere for only two years now (my oldest is entering second grade), I couldn't help but let my mind wander to my own boys' graduation days. A day that seems like a lifetime away, yet I know will be here in the blink of an eye. They will stand on the same altar where this year's graduates and those before them shared their most special memories, stories and dreams before going forth on the path set before them.
May God Be With You...
There are so many things that stand out about Aquinas students. But one thing that REALLY stood out to me is gratitude. Upon talking with one of the graduate's dad's, he said his son came up to him and said "Thank you for this education." That statement alone speaks volumes and reinforces our family's decision to invest in an education experience that reaches beyond the walls of the classroom.
Seniors, I commend you for your hard work. I commend you for your gracious spirits during these hard times. The new road ahead will be a windy one, but you have been taught to prevail and trust in the Lord. These last few months have prepared us for things we never thought we could do. When you look back on your high school days, you will remember the good times, you will remember the challenging times, but please remember that they are only a piece of the puzzle. A puzzle designed just for you.
If I could leave you with ONE piece of advice for the future, it's a simple one: BE YOUR BEST SELF. Be empathetic towards others. Be kind. You will learn from every experience, good and bad that is put in your path. Let these past four years resonate with you so you can use the wisdom and graciousness to send yourself out into the world. And how lucky are those waiting to receive you in this next chapter of your lives. Congratulations and may God bless you always!