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This reflection was originally presented during the Thanksgiving Prayer Service.

November 25, 2020

Greetings from Grand & Warren!

Here we are, the beginning of the Thanksgiving holiday. We have completed the first quarter of a school year like no other in Prep’s history, and now, in this season of gratitude, I want to offer my thanks for the outstanding work that has brought us here. Throughout this calendar year, we have been challenged again and again, and asked to adapt again and again. And we have met those challenges again and again. This has been a different kind of year at Saint Peter’s Prep—and throughout the broader world. Sometimes it can feel like everything has changed. In the midst of so much change, it should be no surprise that our Ignatian values, the rock upon which Prep is built, remain the same. The epicenter of the Gospel—love—continues to be the epicenter of our mission.

That Prep Love is everywhere. It’s students and teachers adapting vigorously and creatively to our new schedule and hybrid learning model. It’s our facilities team working harder than ever to make sure our campus stays safe. It’s our fall athletes and coaches continuing to make us proud even though we can’t pack those stands. It’s Model UN and Forensics competing in virtual competitions. It’s the Ebony Club hosting two panels of Prep alumni. It’s Campus Ministry and Vox continuing the tradition of our prayer services. It’s also present in the quiet moments, when we simply listen to each other. All these and more are signs of the love we have for Prep and for our Prep family, and I am so grateful for all of it.

And I’m especially grateful that we’ve made it through the first quarter with no evidence of COVID-19 spreading within our school community. Although we have had some cases, our home at 144 Grand has remained safe.That’s a tremendous job There’s a quote that’s attributed to Henry Ford: “Coming together is a beginning, keeping together is progress, working together is success.” We have been successful so far by working together and making good choices. As we look ahead to January when we return to campus, I hope you will continue to make those good choices, especially over the next few weeks. Remember, hard work, good work, our work? This is our work. Please don’t forget that

I also recognize that it might seem difficult to focus on giving thanks right now. Most of us will not be celebrating Thanksgiving or Christmas the way we would like. The halls of Prep are quiet again as we adjust to this period of all-virtual learning. Although there is cause for hope with a vaccine on the horizon, we know the pandemic continues to affect us all in varied ways, and with so much uncertainty it is easy to feel anxious. But no one said gratitude is always easy. Maybe this is an opportunity for courageous gratitude—for finding the good in this moment, for giving thanks for what is, instead of thinking about what isn’t. Remember, it’s finding God in all things, not just when it’s easy. I still think Prep shines brightest in these moments of darkness.

With that in mind, I would be remiss if I didn’t say thank you for all the support and prayers since my mom has passed away. My mom was extremely proud to be a Prep mom, and not a day goes by that I’m not grateful to her and my dad for sending my two brothers and me to Saint Peter’s Prep. Prep for life, Prep forever.

Let me close by looking ahead. As you know, Rich Hansen will be coaching his final game this Saturday, after 33 years of Pride & Glory. We can’t all be there at Bergen, but we can all check it out on nj.com. I hope you’ll join me in thanking him for always putting building character ahead of building championships. But of course, as you know, he’s great at doing both.

We’re also looking ahead to the middle of January and if things go as planned we will all be back. I can’t wait to see you.

And finally, as I said, this is a school year like no other, and I know that for our seniors, this is not the senior year you were hoping for. So thank you for your patience, thank you for your leadership, and please know that we are striving to bring about our senior traditions in a safe and meaningful way.

So gentlemen, happy Thanksgiving. Please reach out to our teachers and our staff and thank them from the bottom of your hearts for their incredible work this quarter. They have been absolutely terrific.

And thank your mom and dad for sending you to Saint Peter’s Prep.

As always, I love you. Let’s go Prep.

Sub Umbra Petri,

Michael A. Gomez, Ed.D., ’91

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