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Upper School Director's Notes

A Message from Upper School Director Anna Bachman Barter:

Visitation Statue

Dear Upper School Families,

First and foremost, I want to make sure that I am available as each of you navigates your own experience and circumstances surrounding all that is taking place in the Twin Cities. Please do not hesitate to reach out if I can be of help or if you need anything. Our priority needs to be on safety and taking care of one another.

To that end, the Upper School team will be checking in with students on Monday. Advisors plan to gather their homerooms for a face-to-face Google Meet before school or during one of the breaks. I will also host a second gathering for students and faculty during B-Block if they wish to participate. Students have the option of reaching out to school counselors, and Dr. Jules Nolan is providing resources for families in this edition of E-News.

When I met with students last Friday to grieve and process the death of Mr. George Floyd and the ensuing riots, one student reminded us that in the midst of overwhelming circumstances, our Salesian charism instructs us to do little things with great love, whether it be reaching out to a friend, seeking to understand an experience different than one's own, or engaging in prayer.

Today is the Feast of the Pentecost and in a typical year, I would join the seniors and their families for the Senior-Parent Mass, inviting them to join in a prayer written by St. Augustine of Hippo (AD 354-430):

Breathe in me, O Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be holy;
Act in me, O Holy Spirit, that my works, too, may be holy;
Draw my heart, O Holy Spirit, that I love but what is holy;
Strengthen me, O Holy Spirit, to defend that is holy;
Guard me then, O Holy Spirit, that I always may be holy.

Each year, I share this Pentecostal prayer with the seniors as I appreciate the connection Father Kevin Nadolski, OSFS makes between this moment in the liturgical year and the season of graduation. In a reflection, Father Nadoski writes,

When our young people graduate, they may not be perfectly ready for the demands
of life beyond their school building or campus, but they are empowered to confront
life's challenges because they possess the power of God that is grace, deep within
them, to make life-giving choices. All believers have this power, not because of a
diploma or degree, but because of the presence of t
he Holy Spirit.

As we continue to make plans for graduation, it is my hope that the seniors -- and all of our students -- not only have the knowledge and skills to succeed in the life that awaits them beyond Visitation but that they also have the unshakeable certainty that they are loved by God, thereby radiating a joyful presence throughout their communities as they work towards compassion, justice and peace.

Sincerely,

Anna Bachman Barter, PhD
Director of Upper School