Dear Class of 2017 Parents,
This is it- my final annual letter to you! How quickly the years have passed since your sons arrived on Eye Street in August of 2013. These have been full years: lots of tests and try-outs, parties and prayers; a mix of laughter and tears, achievements and disappointments; a healthy dose of confident independence and humble appeals for help. Your sons have come a long way in three years. They have grown in intellect, wisdom, maturity, faith, and most definitely height! Every ounce of frustration they have brought you has probably been followed by a pound of joy. You certainly have much to be proud of in your extraordinary sons.
For all their strides, though, there is still more to learn within and beyond the classroom. I am already looking ahead to your sons’ successful transition from high school into college or employment. Wherever your boys land this time next year they will be met by a higher expectation for independence and responsibility. As you know those adult traits are not attained overnight, but rather over the course of long-term trial and error. Therefore, it’s important that this senior year be a praxis year for your sons, a year that invites them into opportunities to hone those very necessary skills for success after graduation. Examples of such valuable life skills are listed below. Perhaps challenging your sons to consider one a month this year might take some pressure off those anxious days before their post-grad adventure begins next summer ~
How to cook something
How to get dirty things clean (e.g. dishes, bathrooms, clothes, etc.)
How to find and get to a church with really late Mass times
How to balance a checkbook, pay bills, avoid overdraft, and build good credit
How to adjust to looser schedules and to use free time in productive ways
How to safely navigate the college drinking scene
How to communicate directly to teachers, bosses, and other adults
How to articulate their heath and learning issues and advocate for their needs
Imagining your kids doing all of the above for themselves in the near future might feel either scary or exhilarating! Beginning or continuing these teachable traits now will give your sons the gift of a solid foundation from which to launch into young adulthood.
Speaking of opportunities for growth, if your son has not yet made his Kairos retreat please gently encourage him to take advantage of this “now or never” experience. He may register for either the October Senior Kairos (Oct 18-21) or one of the other four junior and senior dates this year. Those who have already attended Kairos will be invited by Campus Ministry to take advantage of Legacy Retreat days throughout this year. Kairos is not a one and done experience; it is meant to be lived. Legacy will help Kairos alums strengthen their Kairos roots and extend them into life after high school.
There are many other practical details to be aware of this fall, such as important deadlines for college application materials, SAT/ACT registration, scholarships, community service hours, etc. Please stay alert to the school calendar, Headmaster Newsletters, College Counseling emails, and other forms of critical communication.
Finally, it goes without saying that senior year will be a very emotional year for your sons. From extreme anxiety this fall over college applications and post-grad planning to (often masked) sadness this spring over their inevitable departure from familiarity and friends, a yet unseen roller coaster of feelings and moods may soon enter your household! You can help foster a relatively calm ride in a few ways:
1) Debunk his hysterical or absolute thinking when you hear comments like “If I don’t get into X University I’ll never get a job!”, or “I’m not good at school so college isn’t for me.” Caution him to explore facts before assuming conclusions.
2) Discourage comparisons between his interests and plans to those of his classmates/siblings/etc. There is no one right path, and those who properly discern their own unique journey will be the ones charting the wisest course.
3) Encourage time spent in rejuvenating activities to balance the intensity of senior year. Remind him to socialize, to exercise, to sleep, to pray, to avoid substances, and to serve others.
I’ll be passing along those same messages during my interactions with your sons this year. As a practical measure of support this fall I will offer multiple group sessions before school and during lunches to teach your sons techniques for managing the particular stressors and anxiety that senior year often elicits. During the second semester I will invite seniors into voluntary “exit interviews” to share feedback about their four years on Eye St. And throughout the year I will continue to invite them to join me for individual conversations regarding their social and emotional well-being while they simultaneously work with their College Counselors on applications and post-grad planning. Please remind them of my availability through graduation as they encounter large and small struggles, health or family hardships, or general distress. Of course, I like to hear about the good stuff too!
I remain grateful for the privilege of working with your sons and the opportunity to partner with you. Thank you for your collaboration over the years, for your generous contributions to Faculty Treats, Faculty Grants, and other GMC & GFC events, and most importantly, for entrusting your sons to our care.
God bless the Class of 2017!