From Turnips to Tournaments

To call this time of year “crazy” is a bit of an understatement.There are so many things that a part of the life of a school that go beyond the classroom and desks. In a larger school, students might find one or two things that they are involved with. I find that at a smaller school, the activities don’t decrease, but the involvement increases. Our students are involved in so many different activities, groups, and events that sometimes I can’t even keep track of it all.

I got a little taste of what it is like to be in our students’ shoes last week in preparation for the Turkey Bazaar. Little did I know that in the fine print for the job description of Chief Administrative Officer at Sacred Heart is the title of Turnip Picker. Tasked with the work, I got milk crates from the kitchen, spades from convent, muck boots from the garage and trucked ten of the Seniors out to Ebel’s farm for the adventure. After googling the difference between turnips and radishes, and a brave taste test, we dug into the fun.

In reflecting on the day, and everything that had to get done, I had a bit of a realization: not one of those kids complained or even balked at going out into a field and picking turnips. Some of those seniors were girls on the volleyball team. Earlier that morning they had practice. In classes they took notes, tests, pulled turnips, hauled roasters, set up tables and went back to class as a matter of fact. Later at the pep rally they played in the band, performed with the dance team, jumped through hoops, and laughed and smiled through it all. And this was all the day before going to play in the District Championship volleyball game.That speaks to a deep level of dedication and a high expectation of participation that I have not encountered in another school. And so I had to ask myself: where did these kids learn all of this? The simple answer is: their parents, grandparents, teachers, and community.

Those are the intangible values that you cannot find on a budget, or a pay scale, or in test scores. They don’t come by way of a trophy, but are revealed in the hard work that it takes to get to that game. As we are creating lesson plans, putting dinner on the table, working in committees and implementing our strategic plan, this is a good thing to keep in mind. That our dollar for dollar investment, and with everything we sacrifice, we are providing an exceptional opportunity for our children to encounter and engage in lifelong virtues that don’t just help them be successful in this life, but to win the victory of life eternal in Christ.This is what we celebrate every Sunday in the Mass, and animates every aspect of our lives in a Catholic School. The Eucharist, is literally our “Thanksgiving”, and when we bring our joys and victories, struggles and sufferings before the Lord in prayer, we give Him the ability to bless and multiply the graces bestowed on our families, parishes, and community.

As you spend time with loved ones over your Thanksgiving dinner, join me in giving thanks to God for the gifts that we have received and share in this wonderful endeavor. Know that I will be praying for you all, and that I am grateful that Providence has placed you in my life. The Turkey Bazaar was a little foretaste of Thanksgiving; Thanksgiving is a foretaste of the banquet of Heaven – and for me that will now be with a little touch of turnip.