Updated: Apr 5, 2019
Week of October 15th, 2018
Dear Parents of Mounties:
Every once and awhile you have an experience that truly inspires you and reminds you how good God is. I had one of these experiences this week. Sunday evening I left my house bright and early to head to Dover, New Hampshire on a New England Association for School’s and Colleges (NEASC). Christ the King School had their NEASC visit last April and Mount Saint Joseph Academy will have theirs in 2020. I served on a visiting committee. The job of the committee is to review a school to see if they can receive accreditation by NEASC. I served on the visiting committee for Saint Thomas Aquinas High School in Dover New Hampshire.
The members of the visiting committee come from all over New England. There were a couple people from Connecticut, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Vermont. I did not know any of these people previously. The members are teachers and administrators from independent schools. On Sunday evening, we went to the Saint Thomas Aquinas campus to begin the process of meeting the students, faculty, parents, administrators and community members. We received a tour of the school, had a dinner with many different people and then met with parents and board members.
The meeting with the parents was wonderful. The parents were able to give us a great idea about what Saint Thomas Aquinas High School is like. In speaking with the parents, one mom was telling us the story about her daughter who went from being a star athlete to being in a wheelchair. She spoke about the STA community: students, teachers and administration. She talked about the seamless transition for her daughter and how no one ever treated her any different when she came to school. The mom spoke about how her daughter was held to the same standards as all the other students, how the guidance department continued on the same path to college for the junior in high school; mom said how everyone at STA focused on her daughters dreams despite the setback. Mom said that the school made the necessary changes to accommodate her daughter without the family ever even having to ask. It was a pretty amazing story to listen to.
After the dinner and meeting was over several of the members of the committee were talking with the mom about the situation. When we returned to the hotel, the members shared with us the daughter’s story. The family was on a trip in the Amazon when the daughter was bitten by an insect. The insect venom attacked the young woman’s nervous system causing paralysis from the waist down and lesions on the brain. Because they were away the bite wasn’t treated quickly enough, which lead to her condition. I stood there in shock listening to this story. I felt terrible for this young woman and her family. That night, in my room, I spent a few moments reflecting and praying for this young woman. I couldn’t imagine the sadness she must have felt and the despair, especially given that I had learned that she had already committed to a college as an athlete. My heart went out to her.
The next morning, I had the privilege of seeing this young woman. She was the happiest, most jovial person in the large gymnasium. She had a smile on her face that spread from ear to ear, was surrounded by friends and she was laughing and talking as if nothing was wrong. I couldn’t help but pause at the irony of the opening remarks by the campus minister to grab the kids attention,. “God is good”, he yelled. “All the time”, the kids responded. “All the time” the campus minister yelled, “God is good” the students responded. It was an amazing moment as I saw this young woman yell out the responses. What an incredible person she is and what am amazing community STA is.
Everyone once and awhile you have an experience that inspires you. That young woman is inspiring. They are not sure if her condition is permanent or not. However, either way she is going to go on to have a long and fruitful life. She sure reminded me of one extremely important thing……
GOD IS GOOD….ALL THE TIME...ALL THE TIME….GOD IS GOOD!!!
Have a great week!
Sarah M. Fortier, CKS’95/ MSJ’99