The start of this school year is unlike any other that we have ever experienced, and while most students are typically eager to get back to the classrooms after the summer hiatus, I sense this year there is a much greater sense of appreciation for the gift of learning.

Education, as we know, is not only vital for a civilized and democratic society, but it is also important for one’s own self-worth. Learning stretches the mind and the imagination, and there is a sense of accomplishment and pride when we master a task or are enlightened by new possibilities. Just as important as learning content are the benefits gleaned from student dialogue, collaboration, and hearing different viewpoints and opinions. Children learn empathy when they hear about the struggles others experience, and they learn tolerance when they are exposed to diverse cultures. Wisdom and understanding, therefore, is not just about learning to read, write, and compute. If we cannot use our newfound knowledge to care and show compassion for our fellow human beings, then it is for naught.

It is likely that most of us did not fully relax and refresh over the summer months. The concerns over the pandemic, unrest on the streets across the country, and the fury of Mother Nature have certainly played havoc with our emotions and our reserves, not to mention the relentless political squabbles that show no end in sight. It is also likely that we are slightly less patient with others because we have been overwhelmed. Today, however, is a new day, and it is a very good day, because our children are back in school and they are learning. Today, let us focus on all that is positive. Our children are our future and our hope. Their teachers are working hard to make sure they grow in wisdom and understanding so that they develop the skills they need, but also that they will learn to treat others with respect and kindness – qualities that seem to be sorely lacking in much of the population. We are blessed, at St. Michael’s School, by our magnificent team of teachers and staff who have answered God’s call to this ministry. Together, we will fulfill His mission, and together we have hope for a better tomorrow.

Kathleen Mock