President’s Blog: Back-to-school reflection

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Dear Scecina Community,

The 2022 – 23 school is off to a great start! Student engagement has been wonderful to see and experience. Teacher energy and morale have been fantastic. Fall sports are fully underway producing several wins at our interscholastic athletic events.

Construction of our beautiful new chapel is nearly complete, and final furnishings should arrive in the next six weeks. We held our first all-school
Mass of the year to celebrate the Feast of the Assumption (Jesus’ mother Mary’s rising to heaven at the end of her life).
Total and freshman enrollments are at record levels in the last 20 years!  This week, we welcomed 465 students, including 137 freshmen, on the heels of an opening freshman enrollment of 127 students last year. As I remarked on the morning announcements on the first Friday after the morning prayer, pledge of allegiance, announcements, and bad joke of the day, “Thank you to everyone for choosing Scecina!”

During our New Student Orientation, the agenda included five small-group presentations. The topic I reflected on with our new students was, “How Do I (the student) Succeed at Scecina?”

To lead into the reflection, I asked the groups five questions and invited a show of hands from students who knew or thought they knew the answers.  Then, I tied their answers into an image of how they can succeed at Scecina – and in life.  The students’ responses were terrific, and I want to share some of them with you:

Question: What is our Scecina mascot?
Answer: “Crusaders!”

Question: What is a crusade?

Answer: “A holy mission.
Reflection: Great answer – our lives are a holy mission to live as well and with as much faith and service as we possibly can.

Question: Who has a relative who attended Scecina previously or who currently attends Scecina?

Reflection:  It looks like about 30 – 40 percent of you have a brother, sister, parent, aunt, uncle, cousin, or grandparent who has attended Scecina.  We are a Catholic school community!  I have a request of everyone: If you are the first member of your family to attend Scecina, we are thrilled that you are here, and we want you to have a great experience. If, on the other hand, you are already familiar with Scecina through your family members, please look out for and lend a special helping hand when a new member of our community needs it.

Question: Why are we called Scecina?
Answers: “We’re named after a Catholic priest. He died serving his country and his Church. He lived a life of service and prayer.”

Reflection: Exactly!  Every time we say the name Scecina, wear the name Scecina, think about Scecina, and represent Scecina, we are following in the footsteps of a faithful, prayerful, humble, and courageous individual.  Admiring and living by these values will make all of us successful in God’s eyes.

Answer: “M” (and a few expected answers of “S”)

Reflection: The “M” stands for the word “Memorial” in the school name Father Thomas Scecina 
Memorial High School.  Our name calls us to live in honor and memory of the values that Father Tom represented.

Living our lives as holy missions, knowing that all students and families are welcome here, helping newcomers navigate their new pathways at Scecina, admiring and imitating Father Tom’s values, and living our lives in honor and memory of his service and sacrifice as a commitment to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ – That’s how everyone can succeed at Scecina!

Joe Therber headshot with signature
Joe Therber

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