Tuesday, August 03, 2010

I Dare You!

This is Mr. Weber's address to JPII students on the first day of the school year.

Good morning JPII!

I hope that all of you have had an excellent, amazing summer and that you’re well rested and ready to have an excellent, amazing school year.

A special welcome to our new students-- 193 of you!—165 freshmen and 28 sophomores, juniors or seniors who are here as transfers from other schools. We’re also happy to have 10 students from Great Britain who are visiting us as part of the Loughlin scholars program—welcome to our visitors from across the pond. Also in our midst are five German students who are enrolled as seniors here—welcome! May you have a wonderful year here in America (the best part of America, I might add—the south!) We hope to get to know you better. It's going to be a great school year.

As I look out at you this morning, I see an extraordinary group of young men and women. You are scholars of the highest caliber. You are dedicated athletes. Some of you are excellent musicians, artists, or actors. Whatever your gifts, whatever your talents, whatever your passions, I hope you will pursue them with great gusto this year. We don’t want you to be average!

We all have a tendency to play it safe, to shoot for the middle, to avoid standing out. It’s like wind-sprints after practice—to keep from being yelled at by coaches, you don’t want to be the last one to finish, but you don’t want to be first too often either, because if you end up first a lot, the coaches might expect you to always be first and start yelling if you end up in the middle later on. So you run just hard enough to avoid getting noticed.

This is not, however, the attitude of the greats. Jerry Rice, legendary receiver for the San Francisco 49’ers, who is to be inducted into the Hall of Fame next weekend, not only pushed himself to finish first in every wind-sprint, but when practices were over, he was often seen running steps in the stadium on his own, pushing himself so that in the 4th quarter, he was the best conditioned athlete on the field, able to run past winded defensive backs.

John Mayer, perhaps the most talented guitarist of his generation, practiced 6, 7, 8 hours/day as a youth, perfecting his craft.

Michelangelo, the great Renaissance artist, once said this:

The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting out aim too high and falling short, but in setting our aim too low it too low and achieving our mark.

God has given you great gifts. When you use these gifts to “Be all that you can be” you honor your creator by giving back to him what he has given you. Seek his help to become the kind of person he has destined you to be, make what you know are the right choices, and if you do so, God will bless you and help you achieve your goals.

So on this, the first day of school for the 2010-2011 school year, I dare you. I dare you to be great. I dare you to aim high. I dare you to shoot for great grades. I dare you to try and be the best athlete on the field, the best actor or musician on stage. I dare you to have audacious goals for yourself. Don’t aim for the middle!

May all of you have an excellent, amazing school year.

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