Today is a very special day at St. Thomas Aquinas High School. Not only is it the first day of classes for all students, it also marks the last "inagural address" by our beloved principal, Mr. Kevin Collins.
As he gifted our community with his eloquent opening remarks, he reminded us all that this shall not be a year of goodbyes but rather one of gratitude. For nearly 30 years, Mr. Collins has served his students, his faculty and his God. His legacy will live on long after the final school bell rings.
In his words below, he shares his feelings of thankfulness. In the nine months ahead, we shall remind him of ours.
2019 Opening School Address
Every now and then, a student group -- SAB, Campus Ministry, the Pep Club “Peppers” -- will cover the lockers and doors around school with post-it notes sharing kind thoughts for all of us. They’re notes of encouragement...of praise...and of cheer. But perhaps the most meaningful one is the one that simply says, “You are loved.”
I think that sums up the STA world you are all part of. And it is a profound truth because it is a shared truth.
You might be familiar with the cell phone app “Waze.” It’s a service that provides traffic alerts to drivers on the road: accidents, traffic jams, construction slowdowns. And when you’re using the app, you’re also part of it. Waze takes the data from your car -- your speed and location, plus any information you decide to share -- to create a complete picture of the roads around you. And so, collectively, the drivers on the road aren’t just using Waze, they ARE Waze.
It’s a fitting analogy for the phrase “You are loved.” By accepting that love, you are sharing it. And unlike sharing food which, though beautiful, means that each act of sharing results in smaller portions, each act of sharing love means that it grows ever larger.
Perhaps that’s the key to St. Thomas Aquinas’ perseverance and vitality. We have experienced many changes and challenges over the years, and still we thrive. We continue to expand our curriculum, our athletes bring home championships, our music and drama performances thrill their audiences.
Why? I like to think it’s because we love and are loved in return.
As you know, this is the beginning of my last year as Principal of St. Thomas Aquinas...and I’ve made a promise not to dwell on that fact throughout this year. I don’t want to turn this year into “the long goodbye” but rather “the long thank you.”
You see, I owe each and every one of you a debt of gratitude...because I love this school and as I said at the start, you are the love that permeates STA. You are the family that I and every other faculty and staff member come home to every September.
So I will take every opportunity from now until June to thank you and to find ways of saying I love you for what you have made this place and for what you have made me.
Thank you. God bless you. And welcome home.