A transcript from the above video is located below:
Hello, Providence Academy. I usually wear this outfit only one day a year. But I thought I’d try it on and brush it off today in preparation for May 29. You see, that’s our scheduled commencement date. I plan to be here, on the premises of Providence that evening, along with the senior class, the faculty, and families. I’ve appointed a task force to develop scenarios for an event that takes social distancing into account. Naturally, we will further abide by all safety recommendations of the CDC and the Minnesota Department of Health. We, like everybody, view the safety and security of our community to be a top priority. But there are other top priorities as well. And whenever multiple top priorities can be met together, it’s a win-win. Let’s call a May 29 graduation, with a back-up date of June 5, “Plan A.” We will implement Plan A unless unexpected governmental strictures are forthcoming.
As you know, yesterday the governor declared that all public and charter schools will continue distance learning through the end of the current school year. Our bishop who oversees Catholic education has asked that Catholic schools do likewise. Providence Academy will comply. I am proud of our teachers and students, and so very proud of our parents. It is beautiful to see how this transition to bring PA into your homes is working. I received a note last Friday evening from a family that really moved my heart. They wrote, “We LOVE our school so much. Now more than ever.” I shared this with faculty members in our meeting Wednesday. It moved them too.
Know that we are aware of the strains so many are experiencing these days. And the news from governing authorities yesterday frustrated the hopes of many–including me. Our commitment at PA will be to continue to bring the best of this place into your homes however we can. And we will continue to be creative in doing so. I harbor new hopes that we may find ways, however modest, to have some gatherings on campus at some points during the next month–again, following all health regulations and expectations. And toward that end, I will begin the new hope with the following announcement. Next Friday, the First of May, is the traditional “May Crowning” of our Blessed Mother Mary. This is a storied Providence event that has touched the hearts of a generation. Our intention is to hold this event live in the front of the school, with attendance made possible from cars in the front parking lots. Our Blessed Mother will not go uncrowned! And the children must be able to come to her! We’re busily working on details, and will report further early in the week. Our intention will be to live stream the event also.
A final item today: I shared some weeks ago that we would be refunding key unused fees at the end of the year. Now that we know we will not be holding classes in the building, we can proceed with refunds in the coming week. Our business office will be crediting unused fees for Kidventures and PA busing to student accounts. Spring athletics fees will be refunded to the credit card originally used. Please do feel free to contact our business office with any questions.
In closing, I want to share with you a thought I shared with faculty members earlier this week. We are hearing a great deal in our society today about “staying safe.” It is sound advice to encourage people to take reasonable precautions in the presence of risk. But as an institution charged with the formation and education of children, Providence must say more. I am concerned that an exclusive emphasis on safety may instill unhelpful fear in the hearts of the young. It may contribute to development of mindsets that see safety not as a top priority, which it is, but rather as the exclusive priority, which it cannot be. So let us conclude by affirming to all our children: be safe, absolutely. Also, be strong. Be brave. Be not afraid.
God bless you all. We’ll see you next week.