Dear DePaul College Prep Families and Friends:
The hallways of DePaul College Prep are filled with the quietly nervous talk of our undergraduates as they prepare for and take final exams this week. In only a few days, we’ll say farewell to these students and to the 2017-2018 academic year.
This has been an extraordinary year in many ways. On May 19, the first, four year class of DePaul College Prep graduated on the campus of DePaul University. It was a lovely ceremony, preceded the night before by a solemn Baccalaureate Mass at St. Hyacinth Basilica. The members of the Class of 2018 were our 82 pioneers. We’re proud to report that 100% were accepted to colleges and universities, 14 graduated as part of the International Baccalaureate cohort (full diploma and certificates) and 8 graduated as Illinois State Scholars. They and their families enrolled at a new school in 2014 and helped us develop the strong foundations of academic excellence, faith formation and service which are the hallmarks of DePaul Prep today. As the inaugural members of our new DePaul College Prep Alumni Association, the Class of 2018 continue to be leaders for whom we remain deeply grateful.
On May 30, we conducted our first Convocation for undergraduates, faculty and friends. This will become an annual tradition at the conclusion of each academic year. Convocation is an opportunity for us to give thanks for the year, to bless our freshmen, sophomores and juniors as they anticipate the leadership roles they will take on in the new academic year, to thank those who are retiring or leaving, and to pray for a safe and healthy summer for the entire DePaul College Prep community. As Ms. Flo Merkl-Deutsch, our Director of Mission and Values said in her remarks, Convocation “is a celebration of gratitude and an exercise in knowing who we are, why we do what we do, and why this place matters.” Convocation and Graduation also gave us an opportunity to bid a special farewell and thanks to Mr. Richard Lang (43 years), Mr. Phillip Birch (39 years) and Dr. James Quaid our transformative Principal for the past 5 years, as they move to the next phases of their lives.
This July, we will welcome our new Principal, Dr. Megan Stanton-Anderson. She will continue to lead DePaul Prep forward academically and actively direct the faith formation of our students. Dr. Quaid, Dr. Stanton-Anderson and I have already begun to meet to ensure a smooth transition. You will be hearing more from Dr. Stanton-Anderson this summer, and I look forward to our families getting to know her. The Board of Directors and I are confident that you will be very pleased that she has accepted our invitation to become DePaul Prep’s next academic leader.
Last week the Wall Street Journal wrote an editorial entitled “The Catholic School Difference”. The editors cited research which confirms what you and we experience every day. That is, that self-discipline which is regularly reinforced in Catholic schools helps students in their studies today but also later in life. The study conducted at the University of California-Santa Barbara analyzed national data and found a strong correlation between the self-discipline which is valued and reinforced in Catholic schools and overall better student behavior. They offer three key judgments:
- Schools that value and focus on self-discipline will likely do a better job of fostering it in children.
- Other schools should consider both explicit and implicit methods to replicate a “Catholic Schools Effect.”
- Don’t underestimate the power of religion to positively influence a child’s behavior.
At DePaul Prep, we know that self-discipline, faith and respect foster better relationships and allow students to focus on achieving academic success rather than on correcting bad behaviors. Many students remark to us that what they like best about DePaul Prep is the welcoming attitude among students, faculty and administrators. That welcoming attitude doesn’t happen spontaneously. It is a result of a great deal of dedicated work by our faculty and administrators to reinforce our core values of Faith, Respect, Excellence and Service each and every day. It is our belief that every student can learn, that every student is valued, that every person is to be respected, that every person is a child of God. And it is a result of continuing to work with our students to answer St. Vincent de Paul’s central question: What Must Be Done? to make ours a more just, inclusive and equitable society.
I conclude this last President’s letter of the academic year with Ms. Merkl-Deutsch’s final words at Convocation:
“As we enter into the season of summer, embrace the opportunity to rest. Rest is sacred, and renewal is necessary. Enjoy quiet moments to listen and allow for the gifts of this year to become part of you.
I offer one last thought from Mary Oliver’s poem, “The Summer Day”:
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
With your one wild and precious life?”
May God continue to bless you and all you hold dear. I wish you and your families a summer of peace, faith, good health and great joy. We look forward to welcoming everyone back in August but for now, savor each day of this glorious season of summer.
With kindest regards,
President, DePaul College Prep