Head of School Blog
Susan Tyree Dempf, Ph.D.

Welcome Back!

Dear Academy families and friends,

What a great first week back! It has been so nice to hear the sounds of active, happy children throughout the buildings.

It seems hard to believe that it was more than a week ago that we greeted faculty and staff for the 2021-2022 academic year. We began our opening day with mass celebrated in the Shrine of Saint Rose Philippine Duchesne. At the conclusion of our liturgy, I offered the following words of reflection with the Summer Olympics as conduit:

I will admit, I am a bit sleep deprived these days. You see, I love the Olympics!
Since the Opening Ceremonies, I have been drawn to watch the events of the day or night in Tokyo . . . Beyond the political intrigue and drama, the Olympics allow me to appreciate the commitment of the athletes and their families . . . So when one of the commentators noted that an athlete’s “life” came down to what happened in a 90-second performance, it got me thinking . . . is that really so different from each us?

When we look back at our greatest opportunities, are they not really a series of moments in which we made wise choices?

• To greet a stranger and welcome them? Or to let them find the way on their own?
• To stop and help? Or to drive by?
• To go or to stay?
• To respond with generosity. Or to look past the need of another?
• To pose a question or not? Will you join me? Will you be my friend? Will you marry me?
• To reply in the affirmative or to say “no?”
• To take the road less traveled or to stay on the more comfortable known path?

These are but a few moments in a lifetime — we have all had them . . . and they shape our story and ultimately the path of our journey home to God.

Perhaps my love of the Games comes down to something other than the speed, the grace and the athletic abilities displayed — perhaps I find them compelling because they offer a time when we appreciate that others too live their lives with an understanding that hard work is its own reward and that how we carry ourselves in triumph and in disappointment are equally important. Perhaps I love these days because they offer a brief period of time during which we collectively understand that doing your best and sharing your gifts is the reward.

As we begin this new school year, it is like the Opening Ceremony: We are all gathered with hope in our heart, with a bit of apprehension about the path ahead and a strong desire to do that which God has given of us as our unique purpose. My hope is that:

• Together we will engage in the struggle, together we will help the other ‘up’ following a stumble.
• Together we will work on behalf of our students and families, placing their best interests above our own.

And when, at the conclusion of the year, we enter into the Closing Ceremonies we shall do so knowing that we ran a good race, knowing that we grew not only in knowledge and strength, but also in grace.

Yes, I am quite certain, like the Olympians ultimately our lives come down to what we do in those 90-second instances. Instances when, acting as God’s beloved, we consciously choose to make known the love of God present in the heart of Jesus, to bring forth joy and hope to our battered and broken world. To see the face of God in others and to choose love.

My wish for each of us this school year is that we will take advantage of those 90- second instances and say “yes” to the opportunities God will place on our path, no matter the hurdles or degree of difficulty of the task. May each of us find that 20% extra reserve that will push us across the finish line accomplishing in the process our own personal best.
If we can do that we will all win the race . . . in God’s time.

I share this reflection as we all begin this academic year anew . . . with the hope that each of us connected with this beautiful school of Christ’s Heart rejoices in the newness of the school year, accepts the fresh opportunities presented and makes the most of those moments that will be offered by God to each individual.

United in mission,
Dr. Susan Dempf