To My Mary Star of the Sea Elementary Family,
When I first arrived at MSSE 20 years ago, I was excited and eager to join this community that I had known, having grown up in San Pedro. Through the years, I have felt and seen the love, support and dedication of our families, faculty, staff and students, some of whom have now returned with their own children. My experience in education has shown me that together, a Catholic elementary community doesn’t have to be wealthy in order to be rich. The past two years, and especially the last two months, have shown me that when challenged, this community doesn’t give in, it stands up.
Today, families have a variety of choices for school. However, it can seem the more schools try to be different, chasing after the latest academic fad, the more similar they become. Maintaining who we are has been our biggest key to success. Together, continuing to build relationships within our MSSE family and the larger community, while respecting traditions, and striving for academic success reminds us that, “STARS Are Who We Are!”
I am grateful for such a committed faculty, who teach beyond state standards and address the spiritual, emotional, social and physical needs of all students. Having our Rector, Father Benedict, and our Chaplain, Father Patrick, on campus is such a blessing. Not only do they help us celebrate Mass, but they also teach religion classes, lead daily prayer, and provide spiritual guidance to our students. Continuing to teach and learn through the principles of Faith, Family and Country is what pushes our students to strive for personal success. In my heart, and as exhibited through the dedication of our teachers and staff, these truths have never shown as bright as they do today.
Since receiving the iPad grant through the Archdiocese last year, our teachers have integrated technology into their daily lessons in order for students to improve their technology, communication and critical thinking skills. This year’s introduction of GSuite has further helped connect students and teachers. While we were working hard to challenge students and make learning accessible to all, we had no idea how vital this work would become. Every one of us was shocked and dismayed at the beginning of this current pandemic, forced to leave our MSSE home. I am most proud of the immediate response by our teachers and students to embrace our Class2Cloud Online Learning Program within mere days of the March 13 shutdown. As you know, our students are not receiving simple enrichment work or packets. They are receiving a virtual education. While the environment has changed, the high expectations we have for our students have not, and learning continues. This has only been possible with everyone working together, in order for students to continue to grow academically and provide a sense of normalcy during this time.
Through it all, I have found myself learning more about your courage and resilience. I am motivated by your commitment and I feel my own strength rise to the surface as I see your children’s bright eyes each morning, ready to learn. As long as we are distance learning, you have my word that your children will be receiving the best education we can provide. The more this situation has physically separated us, the closer we have become. Thinking of the day when we will be together again, on campus, and we get to say, “Welcome Back STARS!” fills my heart with joy. Until then, I am taking this moment to say THANK YOU to the entire Mary Star of the Sea community and our business sponsors in San Pedro for their continued support.