July 20, 2018
Dear parents and students,
As I prepared to write this letter today, two interesting details made me smile and reflect on the great blessings God has bestowed on me. In my office I have a small sign titled “Journey” with the following quote from the book of Jeremiah: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord. “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you; plans to give you hope and a future.” For the last number of years this passage has helped me to believe that God knows the direction I am going and through my faith I have been richly rewarded in both my personal and professional life. This morning, however, as I glanced at this sign, I did not think about my path. Instead, these words echoed in my mind as they related to St. Bernard High School. I am confident that our great school is headed in the right direction, and that our faith in God and God’s plan, combined with the determination, vision, and effort of our staff, students and parents will allow us to experience the hope and bright future Jeremiah outlines.
The second detail I reflected on today serves as a mini-inspiration and motivation to me personally. I realized that our first day of school, my “first” official day with the students, will take place on August 20th, the feast day of our patron, St. Bernard. It made me take a moment and think back to my own time at St. Bernard High School, specifically my sophomore year when two amazing teachers inspired me to follow in their footsteps and I made the decision at the age of 16 to be an educator. Those two teachers’ passion, dedication, and desire to inspire their students has been ingrained in me and I am so grateful to them, and my other mentors in my career, as I embark on this new journey with the St. Bernard community. I hope to model those same characteristics and inspire our students, staff, and larger community to come together to share all of our talents to push this school forward and make it the beacon of high school education on the westside of Los Angeles.
Mr. Paysinger, our Executive Director of Institutional Advancement, and I have been meeting together throughout the summer and look forward to the next four weeks as we will begin to work closely with our staff to prepare St. Bernard for a year of growth, hard work, focus, and rigor in order to reach the high expectations we have for ourselves and the school. We look forward to working with you and your student(s) in this endeavor. Just as the Vikings of old had to deal with the trials and tribulations of traveling the sea en route to new lands and new conquests, this journey may not always be smooth, but know our focus will always remain on the growth and success of our students as we prepare them for heaven, college, and career.
Mr. Richard Billups