May Rapp up

As I write this, it’s the first full week of June and the building has officially settled into its summer rhythm. Though it is certainly quieter than it was a few weeks ago, it is never completely silent around here! Our teachers are finishing their departmental “summer camps,” working together on curriculum and instruction goals for next fall; coaches are busy running workouts, camps, and summer leagues; and our administrative team, facilities crew, and support staff have begun preparing for what we believe will be (yet again!) our best year yet.

But before we look ahead too far, it is important to pause and celebrate what we just finished. While the 2017-2018 school year was a success in many ways, with new state championship banners, the successful implementation of the Thunder Block flex hour, and deeper opportunities for prayer and community, our recent graduates deserve the focus now. Here are some highlights from this class:

  • One graduate joining the seminary.
  • Two graduates joining the Marines.
  • 16 graduates attending colleges or universities to which no SJA grad has gone before.
  • 1 National Merit Finalist and three other National Merit recognized students.
  • Almost 12 million dollars in scholarships were offered to these graduates.
  • Graduates will attend college in 19 different states.
  • Helped create and enhance our Counseling Student Team, in addition to the Campus Ministry and Advancement student teams already in place.

Though these statistics are certainly powerful, what this class will be remembered most for is their leadership. They were one of the most “bought in” groups we have ever had at St. James: open to the mission, committed to the community, receptive to the people around them. They were truly remarkable in the way that they helped enhance the culture of belonging here at St. James even as we experienced significant growth in enrollment during their time here. The sheer number of students who stepped up as leaders in this class was something you rarely see in a group of teenagers.

They were spiritual leaders as well. The faith of this group was a powerful force in this school, especially over their last two years. They helped create the Draw Near nights for community adoration and implemented our first Adore for 24 experience this past spring. They continued to develop student witnessing into a “normal” part of our culture at freshmen and senior retreats as well as at mass preparation with their communities before All School Masses. Last but CERTAINLY not least, we have yet another graduate joining the seminary next fall, just one way that fruit has been borne for the Kingdom through the relationships established here. God has done great things through these young men and women…and He’s not finished!

This group taught us to “Be not afraid,” and as I’ve said many times, it was a prophetic theme. We have faced many challenges in our community this year and have had to “fight” with each other through sickness and death. But the Lord was faithful, as He always is, and gave us these beautiful graduates to show us the way to fight our battles together and to do so for His glory. I am so grateful for their witness to us.

Next year’s rising seniors have chosen “Come as You Are” as their theme. I cannot wait to see in what ways they live this out in our building in the fall. I am hopeful that all of our students will be able to come as healthier, happier, and holier young men and women in August as they enjoy this summertime for rejuvenation.

I am grateful to be finishing my tenth year as a member of this community. It has been a gift to me and my family, as I hope it has been to yours. Keep us in your prayers this summer, and I promise we will do the same!

Your brother in Christ,

Shane