Dear St. Francis Families and Friends,
John Keats (1795-1821)
SEASON of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells…
Prior to my life as a principal, I made a small living peddling my ideas as an English and Art History teacher. In graduate school I became a hopeless Romantic, and that increased exponentially with my attendance and participation in my first KAIROS. ‘Tis the season, right? It is that time of year where the leaves and weather change—something still new to my family, as we migrated north to the central coast. I always joke with the staff and the students that here 82 degrees is sweltering hot but in southern California…that is Christmas weather.
I love Keats’ simple ode because it talks about the quieter activities of daily observation and appreciation. It is at the end of the first quarter, at the transition between the summer and fall seasons of sport, at a time when seniors are frantically applying to college and taking/re-taking their college tests (ACT/SAT), that I can stop to both observe and talk with students. They are fascinating. They can sleep with their eyes open, laugh out loud for unexpected reasons, argue passionately about a topic or whether their Giants will pull off another miracle against the Dodgers, and they do it all with a love for their school and each other that is not matched.
Despite the coming chill of fall, the late warmth of summer at St. Francis has given me ample beauty to celebrate: we have amazing students who are absolutely happy and very successful; we have the most qualified and caring staff out of any high school in California; and, the parent and community support we have is unmatched – just look at how many of us were at the Burgundy & Gray and how much money for all of our students it generated.
Right now, as I complete the vetting of our capital campaign-consulting firm and prepare for our WCEA self-study and CEPC, I am also preparing to attend the funeral of a good friend and colleague’s dad down south. He was a super fan of all things Salesian and never missed sports games or fundraising events. All of the priests and brothers knew him and loved him. He will be sorely missed.
Maybe it is because it is fall or maybe because I had the bout with “unstable angina” last month that I can stop to observe and appreciate. You heard me speak about observation and appreciation this last Saturday night at our Burgundy & Gray event as I reflected on where we are, a sort of state of the union, and where we are going. Thank you to all of you for attending and contributing – your laughter and joy, your welcoming spirit, and of course your money to sustain and grow St. Francis. Our two most deserving honorees, Mrs. Colosi and Most Reverend Bishop Ryan, were gracious and authentic in their love for our students and for the mission/vision of our school.
I want to remind you that we have a Suggestion Box in the front office and we are always looking at ways to improve everything we do. Suggestions have led to enhanced communications, events, and even calendaring. Please use it. I address your suggestions in the following month after I get the suggestion. All of our administrators subscribe to an open door policy. We are here to listen and we are here to help. Don’t be afraid to share your opinions and observations. In all of my experience with any of our Salesian high schools in California I have never witnessed, or even heard of, any backlash or retaliation against a student or family for sharing their observations and opinions. Like our theme states, “We are a Family!”
Please keep all of our students and staff in your prayers. Please keep alumni parent Mrs. Dee Dee Vargas in your prayers, too. I was informed at Burgundy & Gray she has recently experienced some traumatic health issues.
1st Quarter Grade Reporting & College Application/Information/Scholarship Resources
Thursday, October 13 - This marks the end of quarter one. Any work collected by this day must be included in the quarter one grade.
Friday, October 21, 3:00 PM – At this time, the report cards will go “live” on RenWeb and parents will have the opportunity to view and electronically sign off on their child’s Q1 report card.
All 9th-11th grade students and their parents should sign up for two excellent (and free) resources: info on colleges, majors, locations, and scholarships. Reach out to take interest surveys and then get personal messages and personal contacts from the top local and national universities. If you have questions contact Mr. Lee or Ms. Green for assistance.
Homecoming Football Game and Homecoming Dance tickets will be sold online. Look for the email and text message for their availability!
It takes a Village…How Can Families Help Grow St. Francis?
The first weeks of October, each family prepares for the change of season, the end of the first quarter, Burgundy & Gray is over, and the holidays are coming fast. We are asking each family to invite families and friends to visit us at our annual Open House. We are asking you to invite potential incoming 9th grade and/or transfer students to experience our St. Francis Salesian Family on November 13th.
For the 2017-2018 school Year, St. Francis High School will be offering a Student Referral Discount of $150 for referring an incoming (non-sibling) 9th grade/transfer student. This is a one-time credit off your tuition account balance and is subject to administrative review/approval. This one-time credit will be applied on the October 2018 tuition statement and it will be evenly distributed across the remaining tuition payments, with one credit per family.
Halloween Fun, October 31, 2016:
St. John Bosco knew well the need to have some healthy fun within the school setting. Towards that end, we will be encouraging students to dress in Halloween costumes for classes on Monday, October 31, 2016. Those costumes must conform to the following stipulations:
- Costumes must be modest and must not be sexually revealing or sexually suggestive;
- Costumes may not be reflective of violent activities (e.g., no weapons of any kind; no dismembered bodies; no blood; no protruding organs, etc.)
- Costumes may not be degrading or mocking of any character, fictional or otherwise.
We will have a Halloween Contest for $ prizes
Annual Fund and the Class Competition!
Saint Francis High School provides a strong foundation for all of our students to pursue their dreams. Our students get admitted to, and study at, some of the best universities in the country. I ask today that you consider a donation to the Annual Fund. Our goal is 100% participation by all families this year. The class with the most parent participation %, not dollars given, will win a free dress day and free lunch this spring!
Saint Francis High School will mail the annual fund letters home in November. As part of the annual fund this year we will be participating in #Giving Tuesday on November 29th, 2016.
#GivingTuesday is a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration.
Celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving (in the U.S.) and the widely recognized shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday kicks off the charitable season, when many focus on their holiday and end-of-year giving.
Yours in Christ,
President and Principal