In Thanksgiving

A long-time employee at St. Thomas Aquinas, Sue Halldorson shares why she calls STA her "family."


Today, Principal Collins announced the winner of the 2018 Living Legacy Scholarship Award. Born from generous donations of the Class of 2012, the Living Legacy Scholarship Fund was created to provide financial aid to a St. Thomas Aquinas freshman who demonstrates diligence and effort in his/her studies.  The scholarship is designed to recognize an individual who is poised to make a difference at STA and beyond. To date, this is our school’s only merit-based scholarship.

The 2018 Living Legacy Award winner is Genevieve Brousseau.

In her Living Legacy essay, Evie described what “light in darkness” means to her and she did so beautifully.  Many other freshmen took the time to answer this question and they, too, gave wonderful descriptions of what this phrase means to them. On Thanksgiving Eve, STA would like to share some of our students’ reflections with our greater community because they remind us all of the power of light and the need to cast it forward.  

·         “St. Thomas, from the beginning, has made me want to be a better person.”

·         “Being a light in darkness means that you do what God asks you to do and to not ignore Him.”

·         “St. Thomas is such a caring and wonderful community. Every day, when I walk the halls, I see people smiling and talking. As Aristotle said, ‘It is during our darkest moments that we must focus on seeing the light.’ Being a light in darkness to other students around us is our duty because we are all part of the same family.”

·         “I believe that when we are born we are given gifts, not the kind wrapped in paper and tied with a bow, but emotional gifts such as kindness, care, love. We have to make sure we share these gifts with others.”

·         “Gabbie MacNeil is a great example of a light in darkness. I do not know Gabbie well but from her presence at school and her social media posts, she does not let her current challenge stop her. Every time I see Gabbie, she is smiling and waving to other kids. She is a light in darkness to me.”

·         “The Center for Academic Achievement has been a central bright light that has illuminated my inner confidence to guide, teach and empowers me to successfully adapt to our rigorous academic study standards.”

·         “Being a light in darkness means following God’s call to be yourself and to look at the world through an optimistic point of view. In the darkest times of life, looking at things with a positive world view can make things a bit easier to bear and when you feel better, you can help others to feel the same way.”

·         “When walking into STA every day, I’m reminded of a quote from Margaret Meade, a cultural anthropologist: ‘Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed it is the only thing that ever has.’ In our STA community, I see my peers, especially the upperclassmen living by Margaret Meade’s words. They never look for anything in return for their thoughtful actions.”

·         “So far my experience at St. Thomas Aquinas High School has been spectacular. The most impressive thing I have experienced is how saying “Welcome Home” is very real. When I first started here, I had no idea why people kept saying that but as I really began to make friends with people of different grades, personalities and nationalities, I started to understand what it meant. “Welcome Home” isn’t saying that St. Thomas will just be your new home, it is explaining how the people at St. Thomas are a family. The friends I have made at St. Thomas are like a second family to me and that is why the phrase “welcome home” is so important to me.”

·         “In the world around us, there are many different people with different personalities, traits, and gifts. We all are special and it is vitally important that we use our gifts to help others. My gift is to bring people together. As moths swarm to a flame, people are drawn to light. Light is someone or something that we can trust, see, believe, feel and love. We cannot be a light in darkness alone. We need to share our light together like a fire- so that we can become the biggest light, the biggest resource of aid, the biggest savior, the largest flame known to people, a light that burns and feeds off of the need and desire to help others.”

·         “Light in darkness is everywhere at St. Thomas. There is a presence here that drives everyone to treat each other with kindness. I truly believe this is God. I see God every day at school. He is in the teachers who want you to succeed. He is in the student who buys you lunch when you’ve forgotten your money. He is in the boy or girl who helps you understand the tricky math problem. He is in the coaches who take time out of their day to bring out the best athlete in you. He is in the parents who support you every step of the way. He is in you- pushing you to try your best in everything you do. God is always present at St. Thomas whether we always recognize Him or not.”

An additional very special part of our Thanksgiving Prayer Service this morning included brief presentations by three special members of our STA community, hand selected by the Student Advisory Board: Chartwells employee Sue Halldorson, C&W Services Landscaper, Mark Ernst and beloved STA bus driver (and the ultimate STA Superfan) Jim Hathorne. Each of these individuals shared their witness as to what gratitude means to them. They inspired our hearts and reminded everyone present that our family is colorful, rich and invisibly intertwined by affection, pride... and love.

And so with these sentiments warming our hearts and reminding us to fully adopt an attitude of gratitude, we share with you all our Thanksgiving Prayer:

Dear Lord,

Tomorrow, we will center ourselves around tradition, family, food, and gratitude. Today, we have a moment to share our thanksgiving for our other family- our St. Thomas Aquinas Family.

Like our personal families, St. Thomas Aquinas has been selected for us by You for a reason. We are bound together for a limited time and within this space to bless each other in unique ways.  

Every day, You surround us with those who challenge and support us to be a light in darkness. And every day, You work your marvelous transformative power upon our conscience and upon our soul.

May we never cover, hide or dim our light. Rather, may we move forward as lamps of Christ, forever and always lighting the way to Your well-paved pathway of Grace.

In Jesus’ Name We Pray.


Happy Thanksgiving, STA Family. May the Lord bless your home as He has blessed ours- with grace, love, and abundant light.