We had to come to school

“I am the light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life…
Even if I do bear witness to myself, my testimony is true,
for I know where I have come from and where I am going…” - John 8:12-13

We made it to May! Sometimes I honestly find it challenging to consider how much do I disclose and how much do I not disclose.

Ever since the questions were shoved in front of us last spring, questions that seemed so bizarre because our humanity was jeopardized, I struggled mightily inside myself. I thought, “How are we going to pull this off, with so many strong opinions starting from different places and ending in different directions?” It is awfully distressing to hear how our experiences can be seemingly so divergent and convergent at the same time. But there was always something ticking inside me suggesting that we had to do it and that we had to do it as normal as possible. That is, we had to come to school. The mission incited unity. 

This is how I think we got here:

  • We have mission-minded educators. You never argued otherwise. You all desired to be here. You all sacrificed without complaint to make this happen. 

  • We have mission-minded parents. You all believe in this mission. You all want heaven for your children. You all know what is on the line here; we either stick together and do this or we lose the opportunity to inculcate our children in the ways of truth, goodness, and beauty. 

  • We have mission-minded students. You all showed up everyday, ready to learn. You did your work and accepted God’s work by frequenting the sacraments with a reverence that inspires. You embraced your vocation now as a child of God and student of the Gospel. 

We welcomed Mr. Andrew Mihaly back to campus last week to celebrate the induction of eight new members into our St. Thomas Aquinas Chapter for the National Honor Society. I encourage all of you to listen to the speeches given by existing members. 

It is fitting to close with words Mr. Mihaly spoke to our high school students. These words were a timely reminder of why the mission of Mount Royal Academy remains distinctive and essential:

It truly cannot be overstated that our country is in great need of principled leaders with a sacrificial disposition to serve. The pillars of the society -  scholarship, service, leadership, and character - are the fundamental focus areas of any young adult seeking to live out their vocation as a student. Scholarship, an intrinsic desire to pursue the truth and engage the beautiful God given-gift of our intellect; Service, a selfless desire to sacrifice our time, talents, and treasures to improve the lives of others; Leadership, the quality of guiding others by word, action, and example to bring improvement to an experience or situation; and Character, the sum and expression of the qualities of our interior, our souls.

The experience of being a student, especially a young adult, can be an experience full of expectations, demands, joys and difficulties to varying degrees at various times. To put it another way, being a teenager can be rough, full of highs and lows, roses and thorns. I hate to say it, but this is the experience of life; life after high school will continue to be a challenging journey. In fact, I am sure your parents and elders will confirm that their experiences and choices only became more impactful and meaningful with each year of age. Life is full of experiences that will uplift us one moment and then completely humble us the next.

So where am I going with this? Well here is the core message I want to share today: the formation that you are currently undergoing as students, the choices that you make, the ways in which you use your time and talents all influence the trajectory of your life in a pivotal way. Life is a precious gift, and we are given the present within which we are tasked with “doing the next thing right”, to quote Mr. Tremblay, because the choices we make ultimately define us, and define the trajectory of our lives. Today’s purpose is to acknowledge you inductees for rising to the call to direct your choices towards, and to utilize your gifts for, the good and the true. I encourage you to continue to strive to choose the truth and to continue to embrace the challenging path when our culture and society preaches otherwise.

Our society is so devastatingly effective at feeding us the lie that our true happiness lies in pursuit of self: in pursuit of fame, fortune, comfort, etc. Though none of those things are inherently wrong, they do need to be properly ordered and prioritized. Which is why it is imperative that we are constantly reminded that true happiness is discovered through the path of living our vocation to the fullest, wherever we are in life, and whatever vocation we are called to. The rest falls in line behind that.

Recognizing these students who are striving to fully embrace their vocation as students is an occasion for pause and celebration. All in attendance here today should pause and reflect on this gathering’s purpose, to recognize the inductees. But in our next breath, we should all take an introspective gaze and ask, how am I currently living my vocation? Is it in service of self? Or is it in service of a higher purpose than ourselves? Am I making choices that lead me towards my true potential, my true vocation?

The beauty of this event is that it provides us an opportunity to reflect on the example these young men and women set in embracing their vocations as students to the fullest. And also it allows us an opportunity to reflect on how well we are each currently embracing and pursuing our vocations, for there really is no higher calling or pursuit in life than that. To quote the French author Andre Gide, “man cannot discover oceans without having the courage to first lose sight of the shore.” Thank you NHS inductees and members, for exemplifying what it means to have the courage to take up one’s cross and lose sight of the shore. It is no secret that this world is in desperate need of courage. Thank you very much for having me today. I wish you all a wonderful remainder of the school year. God bless!

- Mr. Derek Tremblay, Headmaster