I now share our seventh ‘Open Letter to Friends and Supporters’ seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. COVID-positive cases amongst school members have slowed considerably (As of this writing, there have been twenty-eight cases (total) of COVID-positive infection amongst school community members (Grades 5-12) and no known in-school transmission). School staff members wishing the COVID vaccine (Moderna) have received their first shot. COVID limitations are easing such that we can plan Commencement Exercises and some form of Prom. Outdoor athletics are back with increased opportunities for fans to take in the games. At the same time, the towns of Barnstable and Yarmouth now have highest in the state COVID-positivity rates, so our wary eye stays fixed on school impact. Still, there is hope.
We realize that life will not revert to its pre-COVID form and that some of our new realities will remain. Patience continues to be the watchword of the day, and I expect that the Holy Spirit’s gift of wisdom will be found in prayer and reflection upon the past year. Our mission is to help students find this wisdom in their prayer and reflection as well.
Laying low during the COVID-year had presented the opportunity to work on projects. For example, we have set ourselves to the renaming and rebranding of St. John Paul II High School & St. Francis Xavier Preparatory School as the one, grades 5-12 school that we have been since 2013. You will learn the final results of this process soon. Additionally, we have developed project plans to renovate three important interior spaces. First, the Digital Media Studio requires new computer hardware to replace its aging models (2007 vintage!). The school’s Fitness Center is set to receive an overhaul, including new equipment systems, improved ventilation, lighting, and new flooring. Finally, the JPII Library will be transformed into a re-envisioned Academic Resource Center, where student research, student tutoring, small group work, and other academic pursuits find a comfortable, supervised space. These projects have received generous support and are partially funded already. I look forward to sharing more with you in the months ahead. Please contact me if you would like to help.
Like many institutions, the school faces challenging financial realities this year, especially due to COVID-related expenses and families’ need for emergency financial aid. I am pleased to report that donations to the Blue & Gold Annual Fund are up thanks to friends’ generosity and in appreciation for our in-person schooling efforts. Our major Spring fundraiser, the Blue & Gold Days Un-Gala, will take place virtually from May 1-8. Please consider sponsoring the event and bidding on items.
Today, our entire middle school gathered together in one space for the first time all year. We celebrated Holy Mass on the Solemnity of the Annunciation when the angel tells a troubled Mary — and us — “Do not be afraid” for “nothing is impossible for God.” This promise can be our COVID-earned wisdom.