I attended a conference last summer with the Institute for Catholic Liberal Education at Catholic University of America. This summer, I will be returning to provide a breakout session entitled Classical Schools and the New Evangelization. The President and Founder of ICLE, Michael Van Hecke, made a comment at the conference that continues to resonate with me.
In the quest to measure the quality and success of an educational program, there are so many data points available to schools. Do standardized test scores verify mission success? Is student behavior the best prism to gauge whether or not parents and teachers are successful? Should the years of teaching experience be factored into mission effectiveness? And perhaps most poignant at this time is this: does college placement coupled with scholarships awarded equal the best data point to measure mission success?
These are hard questions that I grapple with on a regular basis. Mr. Hecke said that if we want to look at what makes a Catholic classical school effective, we need look no further than what happens at commencement. The authenticity of the student speeches combined with faculty comments ought to be our indicator of effectiveness. This makes sense to me because the human experience is most influenced by narratives infused with truth-telling. Dr. Esolen reminded us of that at our 25th anniversary celebration. And the best stories are told in the most celebratory and transformational events of life (birth, marriage, and death).
The experiences of the Class of 2019 are quite remarkable: Jacinta Hogan was recently named "High School Woman Who Makes a Difference" by the Lake Sunapee VNA & Hospice Care (she surpassed all nominations from schools all over the Upper Valley); Erin Diebold turned her internship at Sugar River Animal Hospital into a paid position; Alexis Matte is attending Norwich University to play basketball next year, this the obvious passion of her life as evidenced by her own internship at Valley News as a sports writer in her senior year; Teresa Bellino is heading to Georgia to pursue her dream to teach art, but I have a suspicion she will eventually turn into a music teacher - her soul-ful voice is now on YouTube; and perhaps the best story-teller of all - William He - has morphed himself into a gifted orator, this after coming to Mount Royal just to learn the English language. Ask him what this experience did to him, and you will come away being more impressed by him.
The Class of 2019 features 10 seniors and 16 eighth graders, bringing the total number of alumni to 97 since our first senior class back in 2003.
Together, Student Government President Jacinta Hogan and National Honor Society President Erin Diebold will represent the senior class at the podium. President of the Junior High Student Government, John Paul Treece; will address parents, school mates, faculty, and family members from the stage as well.
Former Mount Royal Vice Principal Katie Meehan is returning to provide the keynote address. Ms. Meehan was a vital faculty member for over a decade, starting as an elementary classroom teacher in the early years, then transitioning into a leadership position for two years, prior to her current role as principal of St. Catherine of Siena school in Manchester, New Hampshire.
All are invited to attend the Baccalaureate Mass on May 31st at St. Patrick's Church in Newport, NH. Mass begins at 6:30 p.m. Fr. Robert Biron of Our Lady of Fatima parish (New London) will be the main celebrant and homilist.
The graduation ceremony takes place on June 1st at 10:00 a.m. in the St. Joseph Center on the campus of MRA.
- Derek Tremblay, Headmaster