September 22, 2016
Weekly letter to the Bishop Chatard HS parent community:
Two years ago, in the midst of multiple teen suicides in central Indiana, we called everyone at Bishop Chatard together for a family meeting. We shared a message with our young people that included repeating the words, “You are loved. You have value. You are not alone” several times.
If you would like to read what I shared with the students that day, you can go to: https://fromthedeaconsdesk.wordpress.com/2014/08/29/you-are-loved-you-have-value-you-are-not-alone/
Two years later, those same words can be found posted throughout our school building and students are doing their best to live out the meaning of those words.
The following is an article that was included in last year’s first edition of Trojan Matters, our student-produced magazine. An individual staff member of the magazine wrote it, but it did not have a byline. Why? I was told: “It was a Trojan Matters staff opinion. We are the voice of the community (in our community, we are the voice of the students) and it reflects the thoughts of all of us.”
Here is what the voice of the community had to say:
“You are loved. You have value. You are not alone.”
To some people, these words are just another catchphrase that’s often repeated, but lacks any depth of meaning. But to other people, these words embody the kind of place that BCHS should strive to be everyday – a loving, open and accepting community.
Every single administrator, faculty and staff member at BCHS cares about us. Each of us may have had a less-than-great experience with one or two of them, but that doesn’t change the amount of love each has for each one of us. Just like each of us has a unique personality, so does each adult in the building, so while it may look differently from different people in different situations, each and every teacher, administrator, counselor, and staff member here wants what’s best for us.
Freshmen or senior, student or administrator, we’re all in this together. We’re all a part of the BCHS family. One of the reasons behind the new mentoring program at school is to increase connections between students, especially freshmen who might not know very many people going into their first few months of high school.
There are nearly 700 students, each with his or her own story. It may be said frequently, but sit with someone new at lunch. If that feels too awkward, try talking to someone new in your class, ask them how their day went and maybe even make a new friend. It might just be the highlight of their day. You may be surprised how much you have in common with someone else.
BCHS is more than a school; it’s a family. The people you see in the hallways are more than classmates; they’re brothers and sisters. We hear this all the time with teams, but BCHS is our entire team. Your teachers and administrators are more than just “adults in the building”; they’re our protectors. They have our backs. They love us. Obvious or not, BCHS loves us. We can love BCHS back by being there for each other.
May the spirit of these words continue to guide our actions and ring true to all who enter our building: You are loved. You have value. You are not alone.