In a higher world it is otherwise, but here below to live is to change, and to be perfect is to have changed often." (John Henry Newman, “Development of Doctrine”)
As we honor one of our founding members tonight, Dr. Carolyn Baker, who chaired the search committee for our first headmaster, Mr. Hans Broekman, as I prepare to leave JPII, and as we prepare to welcome our school’s new headmaster, Mr. Mike Deely, I am reminded of this tract from Newman. He asks: Is an idea, a doctrine or an institution “purer” or more “real” in its infancy or as it develops over time? His answer--like the history of a river which slowly develops its “character” as it moves downstream, making essays which sometime fail, interacting with the soil on its banks, deepening and broadening its base as its current chisels out new paths--is that institutions become more fully themselves, more “real,” as they gradually change to address new realities and those whom they serve.
I am proud of the fact that the trajectory established by our founders remains arched toward excellence here, even as we address the ever-changing needs of our students and families in this, our thirteenth year. Though perhaps different in "form", with faculty, staff and headmasters coming and going, in "essence" we remain rooted to our founding ideals: to cooperate with God’s grace in the life of our students, helping them “reach beyond” themselves to become the magnificent persons God has destined them to be, re-created in mind, body and soul. This place changes kids’ lives!
I, too, have been greatly changed by this place. Its high aspirations, the ownership our faculty feels for it, our challenges and our successes, have elevated my sense of what is possible for a school. I’ve been blessed to work with wonderful students, whose honesty, wit and curiosity have kept my life interesting and ever new.
“To be perfect is to have changed often.” May it always be said of us that we have the courage to follow God’s will, wherever He may lead us!