Sunday, September 27, 2009

Resume Building

This is Mr. Weber's assembly talk of September 28, 2009.

I’ve been speaking to faculty who’ve been here since the beginning of school and many agree that last week’s homecoming was the best ever. Congratulations to the football team for their 48-9 victory over East Hamilton on Friday night. Please join me in thanking Mrs. Pierpoli, who organized the Friday night homecoming festivities, and Mrs. Weaver, who organized the dance. I also want to thank the student body for joining into the festivities so completely; I thought your nerd day outfits were hilarious and if you haven’t been to the pictures link on our web site there are some really funny shots.

Now that we’re through with homecoming, I want to recommend to you that you begin to take your Christian Service commitment seriously if you haven’t started.

I know, on one level, CSI feels like a burden, another one of the long list of things you must check off to get to the next year. Let me suggest two alternative perspectives.

First, though this was not our motivation for establishing it, it turns out that having 160 hours of service work at a variety of charitable agencies over the course of your four years of high school makes your resume very attractive to colleges. Consider the perspective of the college admissions counselor:

Application #789: 3.8 GPA, 28 on ACT, played basketball and baseball, worked a part-time job. Sounds like a good, solid applicant—except that applicants #1-788 are mind-numbingly similar if you’re the counselor who must read 1,000 applications.

JPII applicant #790: 3.8 GPA, 28 on ACT, basketball and baseball, part time job. In freshman year, tutored under-privileged children after school in program called “Children are People”. In sophomore year, he visited with the elderly at Mary Queen of Angels Nursing home. As a junior, on Saturday mornings, he served food to the homeless in a program called “Loaves and Fishes”. In senior year, he volunteered at Vanderbilt Children’s hospital.

If you’re a college counselor deciding between applicant #789 and JPII applicant #790, applicants with very similar academic records, it’s not even close. Now clearly if we’re only doing Christian Service to pad resumes, we’re not doing it with the right spirit. But as often is the case, doing good thing for others ends up helping us, and it’s OK to acknowledge that.

Of course, the real reason we do Christian service is because Christ asks us to. He tells us “Whatever you do for the least of these, you do unto me.” Despite promises that our happiness is tied to having what we want or doing what we want, the truth is God has programmed us so that we’re really only truly happy when we’re serving others, and he tells us when we do so, we’re serving him.

Along the way, many of you may find yourselves in less than fantastic situations in your commitments to CSI. Perhaps you’re being asked to wash dishes, or sweep floors, or clean up after people. Rather than moan about it, consider it a blessing. Consider it an opportunity to pad the most important resume you’re working on: your application for eternal life.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Homecoming Week, 2009

On Friday I attended the exhibition hockey match vs. Fr. Ryan which we won 10-4 and then went straight to the football game against Brentwood HS which we lost. One of the really good things about both games, despite the fact they were a good drive from here, is that there were a lot of you at each venue, cheering on the Knights, supporting your classmates. The blue man group was there, though a bit smaller in number, and as I said hi to them on their way in, they all showed me their ticket stubs for the night with big smiles on their faces.

When I arrived at JPII last year and spoke to many of you about what’s right and wrong here, many of you said that school spirit was lacking. I don’t sense that now. What I’ve seen in the stands, at our opening football game, at Gallatin High School, what I’ve seen at pep rallies, what I saw from the teachers and the laughter at the assembly last week, what I saw again on Friday night tells me that school spirit is alive and well. And as much as we all want to win—and if you sit next to me at a sporting event you’ll quickly see and hear I am as competitive as you are—school spirit isn’t about attaching our loyalties and support to a team only if they’re competing for championships; rather, it's supporting our classmates, regardless of record, because they represent us, because we are proud of them and proud of our school.

This is homecoming week. In addition to the dance on Saturday and our homecoming game on Friday, we’ll be having a huge bonfire/pep rally on Thursday night. This is a new tradition at JPII and I hope to see all of you there. We also have volleyball games this week, freshman football games, girls’ soccer, a golf match, and a cross country competition. I hope you will use this week to celebrate our school spirit by attending many of these contests and cheering for your school and your classmates.

I am proud of this school. I am proud my two younger children attend here, proud that I am your headmaster, proud of you and all the amazing things you do, whether that’s as a student, as athlete,, as a musician, actor, artist or whatever your talent. Even while we work, even while we study, let’s have fun this week.