Eighteen years ago our son, Nicholas, started Kindergarten at St. Mary’s. Two years later, it was Jonathan’s turn, and seven years after that Timothy followed in his older brothers’ footsteps.
St. Mary’s School has been part of our lives for 18 consecutive years. In that time we have seen principals come and go, teachers shuffled around, a new cafeteria and gym built, and technology such as active boards and RenWeb introduced; we have attended countless first Friday Masses, pep rallies, sporting events, and field days; we have celebrated sacramental milestones of our faith – Reconciliation and First Holy Eucharist – with our immediate family as well as our church and school family; and we have followed the rhythm of a school year and a liturgical calendar – marking first and last days of school, feast days and holy days, Christmas vacations and Lenten traditions, and spring breaks and early dismissals.
These past eighteen years have been full, and not always perfect, but going forth each day within a faith setting fosters understanding, forgiveness, contrition, spiritual growth, and love of neighbor.
This month our son, Timothy, will graduate from St. Mary’s. He has been busy these past few weeks writing a country report, preparing a PowerPoint presentation, studying for exams, celebrating a soccer championship win, and looking forward to the traditional graduation trip to Carowinds. He’s experiencing everything his older brothers did, and the constancy of these traditions is a blessing.
We know the Graduation Mass on May 22 will be wonderful and moving, because it always is. But this time it will also be bittersweet. Timothy is our caboose, and his graduation marks the end of the line for our time here at St. Mary’s School. No more sitting in carpool line with the orange, laminated card (A20) displayed on the dashboard, or driving for field trips, or scrambling to find a shirt and tie for Mass uniform because we forgot it was First Friday. We will no longer look through the Lost and Found box for a lost sweatshirt, or figure out what to do between the half hour school ends and soccer practice begins, or listen to stories about epic football games lost and won on the playground.
We will miss it. All of it.
As parents, we wanted to give our sons the tools needed in life, to establish a foundation of faith and family they can always stand on, and it’s with both humbleness and gratitude we look back on these past eighteen years and realize that our parish school has helped us give this to them.
Well done, St. Mary’s, and from the bottom of our heart … thank you.
Joseph and Maria Novajosky