This is Mr. Weber's assembly address to students of JPII on the first day of school for the 2013-2014 school year.
Welcome back to our returning students, and welcome to our 190 new students—165 freshmen and 25 upperclassmen transfers, one of the biggest classes of new students in our school’s history.
I want to particularly welcome the ten of you who are here as part of our International Scholars Program. We have three students from Germany, four students from China, two students from South Korea, and one student from Thailand. We are glad you are with us and believe you’re going to add a lot to our school.
And, of course, we welcome our friends from “across the pond,” eleven exchange students and their two teachers from St. Edmund’s in England. In early June this summer, 11 students from JPII spent two weeks with these students as part of our Loughlin exchange program, and now, they are spending two weeks with us. Could I ask all 13 of you to stand? Please join me in welcoming them.
And finally, a warm welcome our ten new teachers to JPII this year, including, for the first time in six years, a full time priest, Fr. McGowan, who will be teaching about half of you in the freshman class. Welcome, Fr. McGowan, to JPII! In case you haven’t noticed, we have a really nice mix of seasoned veterans and young, dynamic teachers on our faculty, an interesting blend of personalities, but what they share in common is they’re smart, committed and excited to be your teachers.
It’s going to be a great year! Are you ready?
One of the big news events over the summer was the announcement that Pope John Paul will soon be canonized—he’ll be Saint John Paul, we think, as early as December 8, but the Vatican hasn’t announced a date. No matter—we’re going to spend a year to celebrate it with a series of events, including two weeks of studying and traveling this June to Krakow, Poland, where John Paul spent most of his adult life, a Youth Day in honor of JPII in January, where we’re inviting some really first rate musicians to celebrate with us and perhaps a ski-trip, among other things.
So what are your goals for yourself this year? In the year 2000, Pope John Paul II, speaking to students your age, said:
(Young people), it is Jesus who stirs in you the desire to do something great with your lives, the will to follow an ideal, the refusal to allow yourselves to be ground down by mediocrity, the courage to commit yourselves humbly and patiently to improving yourselves and society, making the world more human and more fraternal. (Pope John Paul II, at World Youth Day, Rome, 2000
That’s our goal for you here at JPII: to challenge you to do something great with your lives! Don’t aim for the middle, for mediocrity, for comfort. “The world promises you comfort,” Pope Benedict said recently, “but you were not made for comfort, you were made for greatness!”
BE BOLD! Aim to be the best student you can be. Push yourself beyond your comfort zone in your studies and see how far you can go.
BE BOLD! Meet new friends and establish new relationships here—we’re a great melting pot—in our student directory this year, there are over 50 different zip codes!
BE BOLD! Join some clubs that you might not have joined when you were younger, or try out for a new team. Not a super athlete? Doesn’t matter—the right attitude can take you far.
BE BOLD! Develop a closer relationship with the Lord. Attend a Search this year. Pray more for those things that worry you—a relationship, a test, a family situation. Attend chapel in the morning, perhaps. Pour your self into Christian service this year to make a difference in someone’s life.
BE BOLD! Don’t be that whimpering, complaining, critic on the sidelines of life. Don’t be the student that disappears at 3:10 and reappears at 7:50 the next day. Get in the game, take some risks, "clear eyes, full heart." Risk making some mistakes this year.