Palie Cantu, Middle and High School Faculty

By Palie Cantu, Middle and High School Faculty

The past two weeks have provided me with two traditions that I carry with me as we begin a new school year.

On Monday, August 24, faculty and staff started the school year as we normally do, with a retreat. This tradition of taking time to reflect together about some aspect of our life together as faculty and staff of the Forest Ridge School community is, for me, an important way to start a new school year. The retreat itself contains several traditions: The Head of School shares our theme for the year, we have time for reflection and prayer, and we take part in a Society of the Sacred Heart tradition of tirage.

Mary Rose Guerin shared that our theme for this school year is ‘Relationships Come First’. This is at the heart of a Sacred Heart education. Goal IV of the Goals and Criteria is all about building community. To support our reflection on this year’s theme, we were asked to choose one of the criteria from Goal IV to think about and pray with. I chose the first criterion: “The school, affirming that all are created in the image and likeness of God, promotes the inherent dignity of the human person and strives for a community characterized by mutual respect, diversity, inclusivity, and care for one another.” Relationships matter and I look forward the relationships I will create with my students (and their families) this year. The third tradition, tirage, is my favorite. Mrs. Konek describes it as a spiritual fortune cookie! This year I received the following message: “For the sake of peace, I try to put myself in the place of others and only judge them by looking through their spectacles." This quote from Saint Madeleine Sophie Barat, RSCJ, is a great reminder to me that to build a community where people known and cared for requires of me patience and putting on another’s “spectacles”.

Then, on Monday, August 31, we began the school year with the tradition of Convocation of Classes. I wondered how it would be to experience this Sacred Heart tradition digitally! Would students show up? We wouldn’t really be able to see each student and adult member of the community. I was surprised to see 420 participants in our Zoom meeting! Also surprising was to see all the chat happening with the students. The digital building of community. The acknowledgement that relationships matter! Our theme for the year coming to life from the very first event of the year and just another reminder that our traditions give us much needed structure and comfort. I know that it will be a great school year.