Christmas Carolers Extraordinaire!

Holiday Cheer, St. Bruno-style!

Just wanted to say how much all of us here at Craig Williams Creative enjoyed the very special Christmas Carolers who appeared on the Purple Prairie yesterday with elf-hats and sheet music in-hand!

Several of us were deeply embroiled in one of those dull, gray, no-fun types of meetings, when a ‘tap-tap-tap’ came upon the conference room door. As the smiling elf from behind the door entered the room, we all promptly unfurrowed our brows and followed him out of the room and into this impromptu choral hall Mrs. Klingenberg and Ms. Kania had graciously created by ‘ringing’ our second floor atrium area with these elf-like performers.

What sounded like more than a hundred well-prepared kids united in song, (but which must have been only twenty five or so — since it was the fourth and fifth graders), belted out 6 or 7 wonderful Christmas classics, as well as a few non-traditional twists on wonderful holiday themes. The entire CWC team stood in rapt attention and cheered on the happy visitors. After our mini-concert, the students stopped for a group portrait before our office Christmas tree, about which there seemed to be great curiosity as to its height! But in the classic performer’s style, they left us wanting more. And merriment upon merriment, when all was sung and done, we were left with a good-size basket of confections and baked goodies.

Many thanks to Ms. Kania, Mrs. Klingenberg and the entire Fourth and Fifth Grade Classes. You all are AWESOME! Enjoy their wonderful performance of Silent Night here:  St. Bruno Carolers Silent Night

St. Bruno School: A Community of Strength & Purpose

I am very excited about the new St. Bruno School Blog. As I considered how to contribute, I reflected on a few of the thoughts I’ve had and observations I’ve made about our school over the last several years. Learning — both formally and informally — has always mattered a great deal to me, and so how successful schools do what they do is — for me — an endless fascination. As I’ve pondered our success here at St. Bruno School, a few things kind of leap to the top of the list.

The first thing that comes immediately to mind is that our school seems to be united in purpose. There is a tremendous and constant outpouring of active love and commitment from parents, grandparents, friends of the school, faculty, staff and pastoral leadership at St. Bruno. Students who have never known a different educational path may not fully appreciate this feature of our school, but it is a huge qualitative distinction in which we can all take ownership. After all, any organization is only as good as the people engaged in moving it forward, and in that regard, we’re very fortunate.

Next, in our school, we seem to draw strength from one another through our individual experiences as well as our shared story. Whether from DuBois, DuQuoin, Tamoroa, or Pinckneyville, we are bound by faith, challenge, and a genuine interest in one another. I’ve been so impressed these last few years as I’ve watched our students from diverse origins and backgrounds work so successfully together on the fields and courts of athletic competition and in the seats of learning and academic achievement. What we manage to accomplish with such limited financial resources is truly amazing.

Though I am a non-Catholic, the choice for my son, Evan, to attend St. Bruno was a very easy one. As a board member of PCHS at the time, I first took note of the quality of preparation exhibited by St. Bruno students several years before Evan was born. On top of that, I can recall numerous conversations I have had over the years with various guidance counselors, administrators and teachers at PCHS who were quick to point out just how well behaved and disciplined the kids from St. Bruno seemed to be. By the time Evan was ready, the choice was easy to join the St. Bruno School community. This tells me that we have teachers who really care about these kids and the education they receive. Our teaching faculty is made up of talented, creative classroom leaders who are among the most resourceful professional educators I’ve ever seen at work. Again, we are truly fortunate to count among our many blessings, such a great group of teachers to work with our kids.

In my business, I have the opportunity to work with communities of all shapes and sizes from all around the Country. Some are dirt poor while others are rich beyond rational measure, and yet it never fails, the most successful among them are those in which folks are well and truly engaged in the matter at hand; where leadership understands its purpose, and where there lives a genuine strength of commitment. It matters not how much property tax revenue is generated or how high the median family income level is. It doesn’t matter if they’re closer to the city lights or smack-dab in the middle of a cornfield. What matters is their collective heart, how much they care, and how much they commit. In a nutshell, that’s our school.

As the son of a full-bore, New England Yankee mother, I’ve always liked ship and sea metaphors, and so I’ll end with a pair of them here as I think about our way forward as a school community.

First, from William Shedd: “A ship in a harbour is safe, but that is not for what ships are built.” Shedd reminds us that in order to get to a better place, sometimes we must take risks. After all, we are built for overcoming obstacles and achieving more than the ‘harbour’ affords us. From what I’ve seen, St. Bruno is more than equal to that task.

Finally, from Thomas Carlyle: “The man without a purpose is like a ship without a rudder — waif, a nothing, a no man. Have a purpose in life, and, having it, throw such strength of mind and muscle into your work as God has given you.” I first became acquainted with the Carlyle quote shortly after I lost my father at age 16. It was important to me then, and it is important to me now, but I think it speaks equally well to our school community as it does to individual commitment.

So there it is, my inaugural entry to our new St. Bruno School Blog. If eight-hundred and twenty-seven word posts aren’t your thing, then please accept my apologies, but if you choose to follow me on here, you may need a comfy seat!

Merry Christmas everyone!