Conferences and Kairos and Shakespeare, oh my!

THOUGHTS FROM OUR HEAD OF SCHOOL, DR. JOSEPH VORBACH:

The first quarter of the school year is over and it went by very quickly. A lot has happened since I last wrote on October 27th, a day when all the teachers in the entire Diocese were at O'Connell for what turned out to be an excellent day of professional development featuring education thought leader, Todd Whitaker.

We went from Homecoming into a week that featured our first Kairos retreat of the year. We are able to offer these retreats several times a year thanks to the talents of our retreat coordinator, Ed Fitzpatrick, and the willingness of faculty who make the commitment to being retreat leaders. Speaking as the parent of a DJO grad who really loved her Kairos experience, I can attest to the power of that experience and I thank everyone who makes these four-day experiences possible.

Just earlier this week, we had parent-teacher conferences and I hope many of you were able to take advantage of these opportunities. Our team at the school is, of course, always available for conversation about matters of concern to you, but these conferences provide a good, formally scheduled chance to meet and discuss progress.

The freshmen held their elections for class officers this week. I am always especially proud of those who present themselves before their classmates and compete in the arena for an opportunity to be involved in student government. It takes courage to do this, as well as some thoughtful preparation.

Something else that requires courage and a lot of thoughtful preparation (rehearsal) is performing in a school play. It was my privilege last night to see the opening performance of Romeo and Juliet. Our student actors have clearly poured themselves into their preparation for this performance and I hope you get a chance to see their efforts this weekend. A number of the roles required the actors to commit to memory hundreds of lines. Romeo and Juliet, by one estimate, share over 1,100 lines between them during the play. It's impressive work and as you watch them perform, it's hard not to think about the way this experience will transform their adult lives -- as critical thinkers, persuasive public speakers, conflict mediators and so on.

Looking ahead, we have the second round of senior retreats next week, the Turkey Blitz is underway to support the Missionaries of Charity in Washington, DC, and it's Discover Catholic Schools Week next week -- if you have the chance to encourage someone to discover Bishop O'Connell, please do. We'd love to give them a tour and or have their child shadow one of our students to get to know the O'Connell experience.

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