Message from our Principal


Remarks from Back to School Open House - Fall 2016

Good Evening, Parents and Guardians, Faculty and Staff,

On behalf of the faculty and staff I want to welcome you to our Open House this evening!  It is an honor to join with you in the education of your children.  I know you appreciate how blessed we are to have such a knowledgeable, faith-filled, committed faculty and staff.   Together we embark on a sacred journey to educate your children to become spirit-filled leaders in their communities, in their country and in their Church.

In a special way, we want to welcome those of you who are joining our community for the first time, and those who have young adults who will be graduating this June, and are here for the last time.  Wherever you are on this journey, please know that this community will always be your home.  All of us - administration, parents, faculty, staff and students walk this road together.  And more importantly, we never walk alone!  We are guided by the love of God, His Son Jesus Christ, and the wisdom and knowledge of the Holy Spirit.  Under the patronage of St. Joseph and the Daughters of Charity, we are indeed blessed!

This summer I had the good fortune to view the Della Robbia Exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts.  These are sculptures from the Rennaissance period, created by members of the Della Robbia family.  For people in the Rennaissance, faith was the virtue necessary to live a good and happy life.  Artists often prayed before they placed their work in the kiln.  One of the most impressive sculptures in the exhibit, is a life size image of Mary and Elizabeth at the time of the Visitation.  Elizabeth bows with joy to Mary knowing that she carries a very special child.  But Mary wraps her arms around Elizabeth acknowledging the presence of the child, who would be John the Baptist, in her womb.

You send your children to St. Joseph School to be loved and cared for as they continue their education.  You send them because like the Mary in the DellaRobbia statue, we bring Christ to your children and the joy of knowing His love.

A few weeks ago, Mother Theresa of Calcutta became St. Theresa of Calcutta.   Prior to going into the slums of Calcutta, she was a teacher, and so education was very important to her.  Yet, she once wrote, “ We are not just created to be a number in the world.  Not just to go for diplomas and degrees.  This work and that work.  We have been created to love and be loved.”  Your choice to send your child to St. Joseph School is to not only give them an outstanding academic education.  But it is to give them an education of the soul, the heart and the spirit.   An education at St. Joseph School teaches them to love and care for others in the name of Jesus Christ.  It is an education where THEY are loved in His Name and where our students learn to be leaders who love others.

Why else do you send your children to St. Joseph School?  Certainly the excellence in education is one reason.  By utilizing Universal Design for Learning, teachers look at individual needs and stumbling blocks to learning for every child in the class. By planning for the needs of all students, each individual grows.  In the last five years, our 8th grade students have accumulated over a million dollars in scholarships and financial aide.  Last year, we graduated 8 Presidential Scholars!  Unprecedented!  Our graduates go on to high schools where they excel.  Many are placed in advanced and honors classes, and some even place out of freshman classes directly into sophomore classes.

You have also sacrificed to send your child to St. Joseph School because here you know they will receive an education of character and morality.  By studying a virtue a month and putting those virtues into practice by school wide service projects, we are working with you to raise children of integrity.  Young men and women who will have the courage of their convictions, and will lead others to do the right thing.

You have chosen to send your children to St. Joseph School so that your family will be part of a community.  The friendships they make and the friendships you make with other parents support what your child is learning at home.  St. Joseph School is a community of faith and learning.   The Catholic school system was created by parents like yourselves, who wanted to invest in the future of their children: spiritually, morally and academically.  Faced with a culture that was hostile to their beliefs, they imagined an alternative education to the public school system.  Your children now benefit from the alternative they imagined.

Over fifty years ago, St. Joseph School began to educate the children of families from Holbrook and surrounding areas.  We stand on the shoulders of the many Daughters of Charity who left their families and sacrificed to insure that children in this area would receive an excellent Catholic education.  It was parents, who requested that a school be built on this site and it was parents who built the school. Tradesman, plumbers and electricians, who were parents volunteered their time and talents to create this building, which has educated so many children in faith and in knowledge.

It is important to note, that we still rely on the talents and treasure of parents.  We need to work collaboratively to keep this as a viable school option for many years to come.  We have been entrusted with a jewel, and we have an obligation to pass on what has been given to us.

The average cost to educate a child at St. Joseph School K-8 in reality is app. $7,000.  Your tuition this year averaged $5,600.  The differential between what you pay and what the actual cost is made up by BINGO predominately.  BINGO contributes app. $750 dollars to EACH CHILD’S EDUCATION.  The remainder is made up from Advancement events like the Gala, candy sales, etc.  Private donors also contribute as does, the Catholic Schools Foundation.  It is essential that all parents fulfill their BINGO requirements.  If the requirement is not fulfilled by June, we must add the $750 to your outstanding balance.  As noted in the Handbook, your participation in the Candy Sale and Calendar Sale are also required.

We also need your support for the Golf Tournament.  It will be held on Friday, September 30th at Olde Scotland Links in Bridgewater.  Proceeds are directed toward technology and Student life activities: Welcome Back Picnic, Harvest Dance, Movie Nights, Fun Run, and Field Day. Please consider supporting the tournament by golfing that day, asking others to golf, making a donation, purchasing a raffle ticket.  More information may be received at the table or on the web-site.

We need your time, talent and treasure for Student Life as well.  On October 17th, there will be an upcoming wine and cheese reception for all parents to attend to discuss, learn and plan for upcoming events.  It is a great way to build community and give what you have for your child and the other children of St. Joseph School. 

I would like to conclude by reminding you of the very important role you play in the education of your child.  You have chosen us to partner with you in your child’s education.  I urge you to volunteer, attend community events and come to know and appreciate the support of other parents in this community.  Set high expectations for your children, and you will help them succeed.  Teach them to become responsible by being on time for school, and on time with homework and projects.  Please help them to understand the importance of doing what they are told.  Frequently it is for safety and protection, either theirs or someone else’s.  These are life long skills that are necessary for having and keeping a job, and for supporting and caring for a family.

Please supervise both homework and friends, limit TV and video games, cell phone usage, texting etc… (snapchat instagram) Have a basket of books in all rooms of your homes, so that they are easily accessible.  Let your children see you read.  Read with them!  Talk about virtue and the meaning of life.  Discuss with them their dreams and hopes for the future.  Don’t shy away from life’s essential questions.   Most importantly share your faith with them, discuss God in your homes and always pray for His blessing, grace and guidance as you work with us to educate your child in mind, body and spirit.  If you are Catholic bring them to Mass to meet Jesus in the Eucharist.  If you are Protestant bring them to services.  Whatever your faith, practice and share it with your children.

Again I draw strength and Knowledge from St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, the Founder of the Daughters of Charity.  She faced many difficulties in her life.  She converted to Catholicism with her five children after the untimely death of her husband.  She was a young working widow, who frequently did not have the money to pay the bills. One of her prayers was, “Look up and be thankful for the good that yet remains.”  As I look out and know of your love and commitment to your children, I then find myself looking up to God and giving thanks for you…..and all the good that remains here at St. Joseph School.

Please teach your children to look up and be thankful for the God that yet remains!

Gretchen Hawley, Ed.D.


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