On January 6, 2012, the Feast of the Epiphany, the Archdiocese announced the closing of St. John the Baptist school. A school that had survived since 1784.
It was no coincidence that this event took place on the Epiphany.
The story of the Epiphany and the Three Wise Men is the story of an unlikely journey – much like the story of the academy.
An epiphany involves – a search – a journey – a discovery and a change.
What fueled these men of science to follow the brilliant star in the eastern sky?
What drove them to spend their time, money and security to visit a manger far from the comforts of their daily routine? They were men of reason, science and logic. Yet, they were motivated by a divine discontentment to search for a greater meaning. (Just like all of us.) Science and their comfortable status quos could not fill the void in their souls. So, they set out on an impractical, illogical, expensive and dangerous journey of faith.
Their faith led them to a manger and the revelation that Christ the savior was born and their lives and perspectives were forever changed.
The search----the journey----the discovery---the change
On Epiphany day 2012 this school community began an unlikely journey. We saw a brightly shining star. But our star was not found in the far off eastern sky.
Our brightly shining star was found in the eyes of our school children. We decided to follow it.
There was little evidence to believe we would be successful as we set out on our impractical, illogical, expensive and dangerous journey. We were fueled, not by our limited intelligence and reason, but by a divine discontentment that we could not stand by and fail in our sacred responsibility to educate this generation and future generations in our Catholic faith.
The challenge, however, was daunting. Our reason and intellect told us we could not succeed. If we were to succeed, we would have to rely on faith in our all-knowing Father in heaven. We would take the small pebbles of our modest time, talent and treasure; toss them into the pond of this holy challenge and ask God to multiply our small ripples into a tidal wave of positive change.
We would learn to depend on God to light the next step when we reached the limits of our own intellect and reason. We also learned that He is all knowing, we are not. With the help of our spiritual leader, Father Simi, we began to understand that God had a vision for His children and His little humble school in Ottsville.
God’s vision was to help educate his children in the very meaning of their existence so that they could become the persons that he created them to be.
This journey begins with the understanding that the purpose of our existence is to know, love and serve God in this world and to be happy with him forever in
heaven. When knowing, loving and serving God becomes integrated with the pursuit of knowledge a student is launched on a life long journey for truth and
The Regina Academy at Saint John the Baptist is not just about education. It is about transformation. Education becomes not only the accumulation of facts, but also the ability to use the information to discern what is true, right and lasting. Faith and reason, cultivated through our classical curriculum, combine to propel our students to see the “why” of existence and knowledge not just the “what’.
Pursuing academic excellence at our Academy means the students are mentored, encouraged and loved to become the persons’ that God created them to be and, in so doing, reach their full potential. This means of nurturing spiritual growth prepares our students with a sense of purpose and direction that is founded on the eternal truths of our faith. These truths provide the rudder when our students ultimately begin to navigate the turbulent waters of life. These are also the truths that will guide their life’s choices and lead them to develop into virtuous young men and women blessed with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self- control------the Fruits of the Holy Spirit. Clothed with these fruits of the Holy Spirit, our graduates are prepared intellectually, morally and spiritually to go into their communities as virtuous leaders who will stand up to cultural pressures and transform society in the image of God.
This is the story of our school’s epiphany. This is God’s vision for the Regina Academy at Saint John the Baptist.
As we all gather here today we enter a new phase in our journey as we transition from survival mode to long term sustainability mode. For those of you who have been with us, we are eternally grateful for your support. For those of you who are new to the journey---I welcome you and I am excited about your participation in this miracle of “the Little School that Could.”
When we became the Regina Academy at Saint John the Baptist on July 1, 2014, tuition was covering less than 30% of the operating expenses. In a little under two years our enrollment has increased by 44%, and it appears that by September tuition revenue will cover approximately 60% of the operating expenses.
We have come a long way in a very short time due to God’s blessings and the ripples of our stakeholder’s time, treasure and talent. but there is still a gap and much to be done. God’s vision for his school is still developing.
We are looking forward in the next few years to continuing our tradition of academic excellence by developing our existing staff and recruiting the best available talent trained in the classical curriculum model.
It is our hope to more than double our existing available scholarship funds to over $100,000. This would ensure that we can provide more students of all economic backgrounds the opportunity to experience the transformational education offered by the Classical Catholic Liberal Arts Curriculum.
And finally, in a world so desperate for virtuous leaders, it is our hope to continue to create more opportunities for more students to go out into the world to serve God through projects designed to give generous service to the economically disadvantaged and to the poor in spirit.
But for now, the bright stars in the eyes of these children have led many of us to the reality that Christ our Savior was, indeed, born in that manger 2000 years ago; and that by committing our lives to knowing, loving God by knowing, loving and serving His children at the academy – our lives and perspectives have been and will continue to be forever changed.
The search---the journey---the discovery---the change
In closing, the world has certainly become a challenging place. It seems that good has become bad and bad has become good. right has become wrong and wrong has become right. confusion, anger and despair seems to be everywhere. many of us have anxiety about the future for our children and grandchildren, but the Regina Academy at Saint John the Baptist stands as a beacon of hope. The hope that occurs when a community of people stand together in the name of God and offer Him the pebbles of our time, treasure, and talent. None of us could have accomplished this alone. But our collective ripples have been multiplied by God to create this tidal wave of change.
Please consider dropping your pebbles into the pond of our Academy.
God bless you and thank you so much for being here on this special day