by Bishop Kelly High School Chaplain Father Greg Vance, S.J.
and Bishop Kelly High School President Bill Avey
It is not a stretch to believe a sense of belonging is critical to human life. Here at BK, we have been struck by the “truth bombs” revealed by the long-term study conducted by the Springtide Research Institute, available in book form as “Belonging: Reconnecting America’s Loneliest Generation.” The study yielded a catchphrase that has stuck with us: “Noticed, Named, and Known.” Shocking percentages of young people feel they are unnoticed by anyone in their school or primary community, let alone named or known.
These experiences inevitably lead to higher rates of depression and other mental health challenges. The research also showed that connecting a young person to just one adult mentor can make a great difference in these challenges. However, the “tipping point” for a truly healthy sense of belonging depends on connecting young people with at least five adult mentors they can trust and confide in.
At BK, the challenge of helping young people realize they are noticed, named, and known is nothing short of God’s mission to us. For our school, this process is about building the community of the Church, which is the Body of Christ.
The celebration and sacrifice of the Holy Mass is about touching the reality that God, our Creator, has noticed, named, and deeply known us. He has known us in all our joys and sorrows. He has entered our human existence, redeemed us, and saved us from the Devil and our natural sinfulness. There is no greater belonging than this, and it is wonderful to represent it each day in everything we do here at BK.
We know we don’t do this perfectly, and God forever calls us to a better and more faithful enactment of the mission to create true belonging here at our school. In addition to our efforts in classes, athletics and school activities, this year we have inaugurated the “House System” as a structure to facilitate greater and swifter belonging among our student body.
Careful readers might discern elements of Hogwarts in the idea, but rest assured, our House System is consistent with our Catholic identity and mission. In short, the faculty and student bodies are now organized into eight “Houses,” each identified by a virtue expressed in Latin that represents “The BK Way.” Pop Quiz! Can you translate Nobilitas, Serviam, Gaudium and Fortis?
Each “House” is further divided into eight “Families,” identified with a Patron Saint or Blessed in the Catholic Church. Activities, spiritual reflections, competitions and points will all be a part of this first year, and each House will compete for the “Knight’s Trophy” to be awarded at the end of the year!
Please pray that this structure will continue to build and become a tradition of belonging here at BK, and a fun way of building the Church!
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