Thanksgiving Light

 

Every year, STA invites the freshmen students to apply for the Living Legacy Scholarship, an award created by the Class of 2012 and one that offers $500 in financial assistance toward that student’s second semester educational expenses. To apply, students need only submit a one-page essay that answers, “What does lux in tenebris mean to you?” 

As in the past, the 2020 applicants conveyed beautiful sentiments, many of which remind us of the perpetual joy found in Catholic schools and, in particular, in working with adolescents. But this year, as with everything else, this year the essays were a bit, well, different.

Our students have always associated “Tenebris” with familiar teenage feelings: anxiety, belonging, loss of a grandparent. But this year, their reflections had a depth to them, oceanic in their profundity… connoting darkness with masks, social-distancing, quarantine, isolation, protocols, loneliness, nursing homes. Every single essay circled around their gratitude at being in school.

We share a few of their thoughts on how lux in tenebris is demonstrated to them on a daily basis this year. In their words, we hear Christ's voice, "The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it." -John 1:5

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“Our school is a place where time is taken to make sure the students always know God is there for them.”

“I realize how hard it is for our teachers to encourage us to stay positive, while they, too, are also living in this harsh reality. I know they may not be as positive or happy as they show themselves to be.”

“I wasn’t expecting the STA community to be as welcoming and cheerful as they are. Each and every teacher I have met is very happy with their job and is there to help the students.”

“The faculty realize how hard it is for us to interact with our peers because of social distancing and our mask usage.”

“St. Thomas has become my second home, my light in this pandemic, where I can experience a form of normalcy.”

“At this school, I have constantly seen teachers, students, and staff strive to show that they have a smile on their face and we should, too. Even with the masks, I can tell when someone is smiling at me.”

“The STA community has far surpassed my expectations of providing a loving and supportive environment.”

“Who we choose to be in this pandemic reflects our true colors.”

“STA has shown me that a strong community can thrive even in the face of darkness.”

“Not many schools are open but St. Thomas is and this shows that the staff and faculty really care about us.”

“I am so thankful for all of the staff and teachers for coming to school every day and for working so hard to make sure we stay on top of everything to do well in school.”

“I have been amazed at how all of the teachers are always eager to help us.”

“Teachers are willing to give up their time after school to help students who are struggling when they should be able to go home. I’ve seen teachers give up ways to make their own life easier just to make the students’ lives easier. I don’t think they’re told nearly enough how grateful we all are for that.”

“The students here are not viewed as a number but rather as individuals all possessing great potential.”

“I have had teachers constantly show me patience when I don’t understand certain materials.”

“When schools shut down because of COVID, most people stocked up on food and household materials while St. Thomas staff and students looked to give to people in need.”

“STA is full of good people who do good in a time of great darkness and uncertainty.”

 “On my first day of school, I was very worried. All of those worries were swept away immediately when I walked into the building. Every single teacher I walked by said hello or welcomed me in some form when I walked by them. I felt I was part of the school within the first few minutes.”

“It has been 47 days since I arrived at STA as a freshman. As a shy, introverted person, starting high school for me was the largest leap of faith I have ever had to make on my own. On top of the pressure of a new school and new students, I have had to deal with the new rules of being a kid in high school during COVID. For me, this was terrifying. I was not outgoing and I couldn’t tell what people’s expressions were because they were wearing masks and therefore I couldn’t figure out how the other kids and teachers were viewing me. My visual cues were gone and I felt like I was in a muffled haze every day, carrying my 60 pound backpack by myself in the darkness. By day 21, I learned about the clubs that STA offered. I was picked by an upperclassman to join the robotics team! I have also never experienced teachers and a nurse who were so interested in me. My teachers don’t ignore me; they pay attention to me even though I am quiet. The light in darkness to me is STA. It is a light that helps make everyone feel like they are included and that they have a purpose.”

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 #saintspride #stalux