Message from the Principal
Roncalli High School continues to be a positive, energizing, life impacting and faith-filled place for students, faculty, staff, and families! It truly is a great place to be! However, in the spirit of, “Good, better, best; never let it rest, until your good is better and your better is best,” I put forth for all in the Roncalli Family some specific requests I think would make our school and school community even better in the 2015-16 school year. These are not in any prioritized order!
Less texting; more talking - Technology is a wonderful thing and it certainly has improved many facets of our lives. While texting is not inherently bad (except when driving), it has proven to be a real kill-joy for the gift of communicating orally with one another. The thought of picking up the phone and calling one of their friends seldom crosses the minds of our young people today. They just bury their face in their phones and the thumbs and finger start flying. I have no doubt that the development of strong, personal communication skills in our young people is suffering due to texting.
Consistent mass attendance by our parents - In surveys that our students complete seeking their insights on a wide range of topics, the percentage of parents that attend mass on a regular basis according to their children continues to hover just below 50%!!!! When we as parents had our children baptized we answered “yes” to the priest’s charge of being the first and foremost teachers of the faith for them. This critical responsibility cannot be met adequately when we are not consistent with our mass attendance.
More multi-sport athletes - One of the most aggravating developments of the past 20 years at the high school level has been that of sports specialization. God has blessed each young person in many different ways. Some have been given an abundance of athletic ability along with drive and determination. It pains me when I see these very athletically talented young people limit themselves to one sport. I know all about scholarships, travel leagues, etc. I have heard about it. I have witnessed it. I am 100% certain that for every one person for whom sports specialization might be truly applicable in terms of a college scholarship, there are 50 others who have specialized down to one sport for whom it is irrelevant. They have missed out some on awesome experiences competing with their friends and classmates and learning more valuable life skills and lessons as they represent Roncalli.
Dinner together - I realize the havoc that kickball games, Cub Scout meetings, play rehearsal, practices, etc. play with families’ schedules. However, if a family wishes, they could make it work so that at least a couple of times a week they shared a meal together as a family (cell phones turned off). It is one of those “little things” that if accomplished one never regrets!
Balance in kids’ lives – “Less is more!” or “More is not better” are two mantras that we are beginning to communicate to our students, faculty and staff at Roncalli on a consistent basis. Over the years it seems as if the college admissions and/or college scholarship process pushed students (and their parents) into a mindset that they had to be involved in a multitude of activities in order to put themselves in the best possible position to earn admissions and/or scholarships. Unfortunately, I believe Roncalli was complicit in this area as well. Colleges now are very clear – “More is not better!” They are seeking students who have identified one, two or three activities and who have then remained focused and committed to these activities. Beyond what a college wants to see in an applicant, it is simply better for the human body (physically, mentally, spiritually) to have balance in life. This allows us to be the best version of ourselves that we can be.
Let kids stand on their own two feet – I refuse to believe that many of our current parents had a mom or dad who went running to a teacher, coach, theater director or administrator when something did not go well for them. We took what was coming to us, learned from it, moved on and were better for it. And yes, it probably was not always fair but as they say, “Life isn’t fair.” Today it seems as if parents wish to shield their children from even the slightest tinge of hurt, disappointment, rejection, etc. That is not life and it is not best for young people. Without these experiences their ability to develop the skills to deal with hurt, rejection, disappointment, etc. is hampered.
Read more – I cannot think of an activity that has more inherent life prep skills built into it than reading! Whether it be a good novel, a magazine, a biography, or an article on the web, nothing is better at engaging our mind than reading. Another fallout of the video game/instantaneous technology world seems to be fewer kids (and adults) who read for leisure. Pick up a magazine or a look up a book on a person or event you want to learn more about, or I guess even pick up one of those crazy romance novels my wife loves to read - just read more!
Exercise – Walk daily! I am not calling for a 30 minute aerobic workout or jogging three times a week but kudos to those who accomplish this. For the rest of us – how about taking 10-15 minutes a day and walking (in the neighborhood, at lunch in/around your place of business, on a treadmill, etc.).
Will you do more than just read this article, set it down and possibly offer up a comment on it?
My hope is that you and your family choose to pick one or more of the items in the article and make them a priority for your family during the 2015-16 school year. With few certainties left in life, I offer you one. You will not regret if you do!
It remains a privilege and a joy to serve as the principal of Roncalli High School. I will be praying daily for each and every RHS family throughout the upcoming school year!
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