Welcome to the 2023-2024 school year at St. Christopher’s School. What a glorious morning it is for us to gather as one community to officially commence a new school year together. I want to welcome all of you—students, faculty, staff, and parents—to this beautiful campus, to this joyful worship service, and to this celebration of a united Saints community, one that shares a mission to know, love, and celebrate boys—all types of boys, and especially each of the 1,000 unique ones under our care this school year.
Let’s take a moment and recognize our Senior and Kindergarten classes, the Class of 2024 and the Class of 2036, respectively, who just processed in together, following tradition and also demonstrating the remarkable growth that takes place on our campus over 13 or even 14 years. Will you join me in recognizing our Senior and Kindergarten boys and their families?
Seniors, the eyes of this community are upon you. Your high school experience began with the dark cloud of COVID, and that was unfair to you and to every other young person across the world at that time. But you have emerged from that time stronger and better, and you are ready to seize the opportunity for positive leadership that is before you. We believe in you and are ready to support you in your leadership of this community.
I want to thank our three chaplains and Mr. Vick for their service this morning, as well as our student leaders Captain, Tal, and Bridger, and I want to welcome the president of Church Schools in the Diocese of Virginia, Mr. Henry Broaddus, who is here with us this morning. Will you please join me in thanking all of these individuals for their service and leadership?
As some of you may know, my wife, Mrs. Lecky, served as a long-term substitute teacher in the Lower School last year. At this same service one year ago, she was here among us, serving as a First Grade Teacher.
About five minutes into my remarks last year—which I considered to be quite inspirational—a First Grader, new to St. Christopher’s, turned to Mrs. Lecky earnestly and asked, “When is this guy going to stop talking?”
Inspired by that poignant and provocative question, as only a child can ask, I have resolved to tighten up my remarks this year. You’ll be glad to know that I have shaved off nearly 50% of them compared to last year.
As we gather today in this special manner, one of only three All-School gatherings each year, I have three simple wishes for all of you, for all of us.
First, let us do exactly what we say we do on our website and in our promotional materials—let us value honor and integrity above all other things. Yes, we will chase accolades, we will focus on academic growth, artistic feats, and athletic competition, but let us place primacy on holistic student development—that includes character building and the modeling of honorable behavior and integrity, including kindness, empathy, determination, and wellness.
Second, in everything that we do, including the pursuits I just named, let us pursue excellence. Let us pursue it not for the sake of excellence alone, but rather for the pursuit itself, for the joys and the frustrations of human growth and development, expressed so beautifully and so imperfectly in the childhood phases of boys becoming men. Let us commit to our best work in whatever we do, and let us celebrate the journey, both setbacks and triumphs, more than any outcome.
And, finally, let us celebrate the richness of our differences—more than 700 families represented on our campus, nearly 60 zip codes, boys and adults from all walks of life across our Richmond region.
That difference is a beautiful and a good thing. But, above all, help us remember that we are one community, one Saints Nation—students, faculty and staff, parents, grandparents, alumni and friends, all part of the greater St. Christopher’s community. And, boys, know that you are part of a unique brotherhood, one that will sustain you through both the highs and the lows that life will bring.
I present these three wishes to you—Honor & Integrity, Pursuit of Excellence, and Community & Brotherhood—as our three Community Pillars, the very foundation of the St. Christopher’s experience. If we keep these three concepts in our minds and in our hearts from now through early June, I promise you it will be a joyful and grace-filled year together.
And to that-now-second grader out there, the guy is about to stop talking.
God bless you all, and God bless St. Christopher’s School.