Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Dedication of Statue of Pope John Paul II

These are Mr. Weber's welcoming remarks regarding the dedication of the statue of Pope John Paul II on October 22, 2008

Good afternoon.

On behalf of our students and teachers, I'd like to welcome all of you to Pope John Paul II High School.

Where words fail, art often speaks, lifting our spirits and encouraging us to see beyond the limitations of our present lives. We hope that this sculpture of Pope John Paul II in his later years, kneeling in prayer, will remind our students, our families, our staff and all our visitors of our dependence on God and the need for his guidance in our lives.

As we dedicate this statue today, we thought it an appropriate time to step back and reflect for a moment on our founding. In 2002, as the result of extensive planning, fund-raising and just plain hard work, the diocese opened Pope John Paul II High School with 240 students. We have grown in meteoric fashion these last 7 years; we are now a school of 630 and are regarded as one of the finest schools in the Nashville area, proven by AP test results, ACT scores, college placements and the number of scholarships received. Last year’s graduating class received 12.6 million dollars in scholarship offers, an average of over 77,000 per graduate of the school.

We dedicate this statue today "In gratitude for all those who made this school possible.” As the new headmaster, I want to thank many people for our success:

First, thank you to our bishop and superintendent, Bishop Choby and Dr. Williams, for having the vision, energy and courage to build this school,

To our Board, past and present, who have established wise policies within which the school has thrived;

To our faculty, past and present, including my predecessor, Hans Broekmann, whose dedication and professionalism have given this school such a sterling reputation in such a short period of time.

To our many donors, without whose generosity this school would never have gone beyond a dream and whose continued support make this dream available for families with lesser means;

And to our students and young alumni, for whom this school was built. Through your efforts and example, you have embraced the vision of our founders. May you continue to earn their sacrifices by working to become the people God has destined you to be-- people of “fides et sapientia” , the words engraved into the pillars of this school, people of "faith and wisdom".

In my first address to students this year, I shared with them the words of the man whose sculpture we dedicate today. At World Youth Day, Pope John Paul urged the hundreds of thousands of youth in attendance:

"Do not be afraid. Do not be satisfied with mediocrity. Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch."

I can think of no words that better express our aspirations for our students. Be it the rigor of the classroom, the careful attentiveness required by the arts, or the challenge of athletic competition, we want our students to strive to be excellent in all their endeavors, so that with the confidence that comes through achievement, they may indeed be willing to risk lives of great depth and commitment of service to their Church and community.

As we dedicate this statue today, may it be an occasion of joy and pride for all that we have become. May it also be an occasion to challenge ourselves to be faithful to our original mission: to be an extraordinary school doing an extraordinary thing: preparing students to be "strong in mind, body, character and spirit for lives of learning and service to the gospel”.

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