The title of Dave Charpentier’s article about Hunter Old Elk, “What She Left Behind”, which you will find on Page 6 of this issue, got me to thinking about what each of our students leave behind when they graduate from St. Labre. The memories, the friends, the fun times, the challenging times, the teachers who made a difference in their lives, the teachers in whose lives they made a difference – all of the things that were a part of their experiences here at St. Labre. And, yet, they don’t truly leave them behind. All of those things become part of the fabric of their lives, just as their legacy becomes a part of the life and history of St. Labre. As I told them at their commencement ceremony, “You have been and you will always remain a part of the St. Labre family.”
You, too, are a part of the St. Labre Family and without your love and support, we would not be celebrating another class of graduates. In this issue we celebrate the graduations of not only our high school seniors, but also promotions of our 8th graders, kindergarteners and preschoolers. It is a time of happiness and sometimes relief, truth be told, that we share with you because you have been there with them all along the way.
Speaking of fabric, if you look at the collage of different graduating students from each of our three campuses, you will see an image of the special banner that we had made from the fabric swatches on which supporters like you wrote notes of love and encouragement to our students. So many of you responded this year that this was the largest banner ever, spanning the width of the basketball court and reaching from the floor of the gymnasium to the top rail of the walking track on the floor above.
Tommy and Patrick, St. Labre Valedictorian and Salutatorian, respectively, are different in many ways and, yet, each embodies what we strive to instill in our students – hardworking, diligent, responsible, respectful. I love one of the things that Patrick said, “I wasn’t the smartest one in the class, but I knew that if I worked really hard and did what I had to do, I could get good grades.” (I should have included humility in my list above.) This can-do attitude will continue to serve him well in his next endeavors. Tommy will be a pathmaker, the first in his family to go to college.
Faith is a large part of the educational experience at St. Labre. You can read about Brett and see his poem on page 8. Many of our students are not Catholic and, yet, their parents choose to send their children to St. Labre because of the faith and values that are an integral part of all that we do. It is this faith that has guided and sustained us these many years and I truly believe that Our Creator acts through you to make possible what we call the Miracle of St. Labre.
I began this column by reflecting on what our graduates leave behind. There is one last thing that they left behind which I want to share with you because it makes me very proud of them. This year’s graduating seniors spent many hours raising money to pay for their senior class trip. After paying for all the expenses of their trip, they had over $1,600 remaining. They chose to donate it to a student at a rival school who is battling cancer to help him with expenses. You have played a huge part in teaching them to be generous. Thank you.