Last week, I was fortunate to attend Nerinx Hall’s Senior Retreat, which took place February 1-3 on the campus of Our Lady of the Snows National Shrine in Belleville, Illinois. Please allow me a few moments of your time to give you some impressions of this important event.
The Senior Retreat is the beginning of a cycle of culmination that ends with graduation at Powell Hall in May. This year’s retreat was centered on the Loretto school values of faith, community, justice and respect. Our hope is that our seniors will continue to live these values in their lives long after they graduate from Nerinx Hall.
To that end, the retreat was structured as a series of short talks on each school value given by both faculty members and students. After the talks, students assembled in groups of eight with a faculty moderator to reflect and discuss their feelings on what they had heard.
Students also had the opportunity to experience the Sacrament of Reconciliation – and to reconcile with each other and faculty members, if they so desired. After reconciliation, students also enjoyed the opportunity to affirm the goodness in each other and in the larger community during Thursday afternoon and evening.
Many thanks are due to the faculty members who volunteered their time and energy for the two-night, two-day retreat: Ashley Bailey, Michael Bartz, Cece Campbell, Janet Csolak, Jean Fry, Eileen Fuchs, Natalie Gaviria, Sarah Hoeynck, Lori Hunt, Claire Laurentius, Ashley May, John Meyer, Hali Murphy, Sharon O’Brien, Jody Patterson, and Stephanie Perkins. I must also give a special thanks to Campus Minister Jane Brown, who led the retreat.
According to Ms. Brown, the overall student response to the retreat was “overwhelmingly positive.” Judging by the warmth, laughter, tears, and singing that occurred during the retreat, I think Ms. Brown’s assessment of the retreat was spot-on. I feel confident that the Class of 2017 will continue to live the Loretto school values of faith, community, justice, and respect for many years to come.
March for Life
I want to provide an update on the Principal Search and let you know where we stand in mid-January. Nerinx Hall has retained the services of Triangle Associates of St. Louis, an internationally-known educational consulting firm, to guide us through the search process.
Triangle co-owner Judy Schechtman will work with us until a principal is selected. Triangle Associates posted the opportunity statement on various national websites in early January. In the meantime, I have formed a Principal Search Committee comprised of six faculty members (Eileen Fuchs, Lori Hunt, Kevin Toben, Alison Rollins, John Meyer, and Sarah Hoeynck), two alums (Katie Lombardo Medeiros and current Board member Lisa Braun, mother of Laura Smith, '19) and a current parent (Sara Barnett, mother of Paige Barnett, '20) to help Judy and me do the initial screening of candidates.
The candidates who are approved by the Principal Search Committee to continue in the process will then participate in the finalist round. At that point, Nerinx Hall will arrange a series of interviews on campus by all constituency groups – faculty, administration, Board of Directors, students, and parents. Each group will have the opportunity to give feedback on the candidates and contribute to the final recommendation on who should be hired.
Our goal is to find the individual who best fits Nerinx Hall as the school's instructional and curricular leader. We are confident that the process outlined above will provide the structure we need to identify that candidate.
Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or concerns regarding the process outlines above.
I want to tell you about our plans for Inauguration Day (Friday, January 20) at Nerinx Hall. Our goal is to help our students recognize the importance of the peaceful transfer of power in American democracy as well as the importance of maintaining a respectful school climate where differences of opinion can be shared in constructive, meaningful ways.
At last week’s Department Head meeting, Ms. Kosash spoke with the academic department heads to emphasize that all faculty members help to maintain the aforementioned respectful school climate throughout the period leading up to Inauguration Day.
To set expectations for our school climate, faculty members from the Social Studies Department will appear on the Morning Show over the course of the upcoming week to give important information about our democracy and the significance of the inauguration, including the peaceful transfer of power. These faculty members will also share pictures and experiences of Nerinx Hall students who will be in Washington, D.C. on the Close Up Trip this week.
Morning Show programming for Inauguration Day will culminate on the morning of January 20 with a student-led prayer service.
On January 20, a link will be sent to the students and faculty to enable them to watch the Inauguration live. Students who wish to watch the Inauguration will be allowed to view the ceremony on their computers during their free period or at lunch.
We have also asked the Counseling Department to be available for students who might want to speak with someone about their concerns. Our goal is to ensure that, regardless of their respective political views, all Nerinx Hall students feel safe and respected while they are in school.
Please contact either Ms. Kosash or me if you have any additional questions or concerns on this topic. We welcome the opportunity to speak with you.