Recently, I received the following letter from an alumnus of Saint John’s High School:
I spent some time over the weekend with my nephew who was planning on attending his local school next year. We talked about Saint John’s and why he was not considering attending. By the end of the conversation he couldn’t picture going anywhere other than Saint John’s.
We talked about what Saint John’s means. How it isn’t just about sports, and academics. How it’s about respect and about growing from a boy to a man. I told him how my college provided me with the education I needed to get a job, but it was Saint John’s that formed the man that I am today. Saint John’s is about doing the right thing, even if you don’t want to. It’s about working hard even when you are tired and don’t want to. It’s about asking for help even if you feel it will embarrass you. It’s about teaching you not only the academics you will need for college, but skills you will need for life. It’s about following Christ. (letter from Erik Johnson ’82)
I find the growth of Saint John's throughout the years quite remarkable. Our growth has not been relegated solely to growing the student body. We have purposefully targeted a student body of approximately 1,000. This size student body allows us to offer all programs that a school of our caliber should offer. Yet, as important a student body of this size allows us to know our students personally (by name), which is essential in the education of adolescents today. A great deal of our growth these past ten years has focused on developing the breadth and depth of an already challenging academic program. The growth of our World Language and Social Studies Departments as seen by the addition of Mandarin Chinese, and the addition of A.P. World History reflects the ever growing global dimension of Saint John's . Our future plans include the growth of our Science Department through offering courses in engineering. Yet within our challenging environment, today's students find the one on one attention and support they may require by spending time with their teachers outside of class. While our curriculum is rigorous and diverse, the appropriate support structures have been set in place, so that we may continue to educate a diverse student body, which we have always done.
I am of course overjoyed as Headmaster to receive such letters. This alumnus like so many others captured the essence of his own experience at Saint John’s, while at the same time recognizes the growth of our programs and offerings over the years. Erik believes so much in a Xaverian education that he found a way to send his own son to Saint John’s and is a wonderful ambassador for us in the community.
The untold story of Saint John's in recent years involves the growth of our fine arts as well as campus ministry programs. Upon the completion of the Ryken Center in 1999 our fine arts program has developed beyond our expectations. Our Blackbox Theater plays host to eight drama productions a year, six improve shows, five acoustic concerts, as well as drama classes. Our jazz bands boast a total student enrollment of 115. Thus, 15% of Saint John's students are playing jazz!!! Our campus ministry programs continue to expand, offering retreats to students each of their four years at Saint John's . Our service programs bring students to New York City, New Orleans, West Virginia, South Dakota, Ecuador, and of course to those in our immediate area most in need of our assistance. As a Xaverian Brothers Sponsored School , we take seriously our responsibility to educate young men to be of service to others.
Saint John's offers more than a great education! In addition to challenging academics that inform the student, Saint John's High School provides a teaching community that helps form a student's character. Finally the experience of a close knit community transforms a student into a young man. Our vision is to sustain and enrich the values and faith based education which has been a hallmark of a Saint John's education, strengthening our position as one of the premier college preparatory schools in New England, all the while focused on making Saint John's affordable for those of modest and below modest means.
If you are an alumnus who has not visited our campus in recent years, I invite you back to see all “that has changed,” and to experience all “that has not changed.” If you are a prospective student of family, I welcome you to visit and to explore the life transformative nature of a Saint John's education.
In the Peace of Christ,
Michael Welch '78, P'08,'09, ‘11