Baby chicks hatched in Kindergarten! Yes, after a thorough scientific study of incubation and the hatching process, these nine new baby chicks joined our Bear Cubs for their remaining days of Kindergarten at Princeton Academy. I cannot help but be moved by the powerful symbolism of chicks hatching as we focus our hearts and minds on the sacred rituals that come with the end of a school year. We set our sights on new beginnings. This year's Kindergarteners become big first graders and we welcome an amazing class of new Kindergarteners into our family (the Princeton Academy Class of 2026!), along with many new families in all other grades. Our community is new because of them. While graduation is a culminating celebration of what has been achieved, commencement implies the start of something new. The Class of 2017 may be finishing this leg of their Princeton Academy journey, but they are only just beginning a new phase of life both as PASH alumni and as students in wonderful new secondary schools. As the leaders of Princeton Academy, our graduates are actually at the front end of a long and wonderful journey through life - a new beginning.
Recently, our eighth graders were asked to reflect upon the role that the Sacred Heart Goals and Criteria have played in their lives as students and will play in their futures as Princeton Academy alumni. No voices could express this perspective better than their own: "The Sacred Heart Goals are the core values that help to develop boys into gentlemen and great young men"; "each one of these goals represents the true meaning of the value of attending PASH"; "Princeton Academy has changed my life in a way that has made me the best me that I can be"; "PASH is a part of my family and I have a special connection to this school"; "Princeton Academy has prepared me for everything I need for the path ahead - I can achieve anything if I work hard and hope, and for this I am eternally grateful"; "the Sacred Heart Goals...offer an intention and daily purpose and hold us accountable for almost everything we do"; "I am leaving here believing in myself, building on the confidence and personal growth that these values have inspired in me"; "I will live these goals every day of my life and continue to grow - that is the purpose in life, to never stop growing".
Rightfully, we often begin with the end in mind. As we celebrate our young men, who themselves are hatching in their very own ways, I suggest that we take a moment to end with the beginning in mind. Mindful of the transitions that June brings to school, this may help us reflect upon where we began, cherish the present of where we are and look forward with hopeful optimism to the new beginnings that lie ahead for our young men. May God bless our boys on their journeys through life.
Alfred (Rik) F. Dugan III