March 22

My dear readers, you know me well enough after five years to know, if I feel someone else can say it better than I can, then their words take center stage. I’d like to share with you, this beautiful speech given by our Academic Dean, Mrs. Guen Farrales, at our National Honor Society and Math Honor Society Induction Ceremony last week.  As we head into our last week of school before Holy Week and Easter recess, Mrs. Farrales’ powerful words and beautiful faith serve to remind us all that the gifts God has given us, should be used to change the world for the better. 

You may have, at one time or another, heard me refer to SDA as my “little piece of heaven on Earth”, which is why I am speaking to you on my 11th year here, and my 5th as your Academic Dean.  Why you may ask?  It is because here at SDA, we pray.  We put God first.  In fact, prayer is one of the 4 pillars of the Dominican life.

We started this prestigious ceremony with Olivia leading us in prayer asking for the Holy Spirit’s guidance in the performance of your responsibilities as members of the National Honors and the Mu Alpha Theta Math Honors societies.  Let me quote portions of what we asked God for:

…to work together in harmony for the common good

…to listen to one another in a spirit of genuine respect

…to encourage and reverence one another’s unique talents

Ladies, I look at each and every one of you and I can, most proudly, affirm that these attitudes/behavior/manners permeate the walls of SDA.  Your families and the years that you have been with us have inculcated these values in you.

As members of the NHS and the Math Honors societies, what sets you apart from the rest of your peers?  Is it just your GPAs?  Honestly, for some of you, these three letters may be the most important ones of your academic life.  You have been keeping a close eye on them from the minute you started 9th grade for just that, the honor/honor(s) that come with them and the doors of opportunities that they unlock for you.  Tonight, however, I would like to encourage you to go beyond GPAs, to recognize your scholarship, service, leadership, and character as blessings, and to make these blessings “radiate from you to others”.

You prayed…”May we use the gifts of the Spirit in creative Christian leadership.”

The Bible in James 1:17 says, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights.”  Ladies, you are here tonight because you have been specially blessed by God, intellectually.  My challenge is for you to season your intelligence with wisdom from on High.  What you know here (in your head), take it down to here( into your hearts).  Then and only then can you effect relevant change in your life and in the lives of people you are bound to touch. Use the gifts and talents you have been blessed with for your good and that of the people around you and, more importantly, for God’s glory.  Let His light shine through you.  As you prayed, “let your blessings radiate from you to others.”

You prayed…”May we respond effectively to the needs of the students in our care.”

There is always a great place to start.  Let me ask you this:  You are big sisters to 9th and 10th graders, right?  When was the last time you have reached out to your little sister?  Meaningful connection is key nowadays, when most communication is virtual and when, and I know this first hand, many people your age are going through mental and emotional challenges.  I can safely say that now, more than ever, we need genuine, heartfelt communication with people within our spheres of influence.  Think about this:  Is there anyone I can reach out to right now whose need, notwithstanding how big or small, I can help meet?  Whose life can I touch and make a difference for?  

To effectively make a difference in someone’s life will require, and again, as you prayed earlier, “approaching your decision making through discernment and prayer.”  Discernment is, simply put, the ability to judge wisely and such wise judgment is made possible through prayer… that constant, genuine, honest-to-goodness communication with God that will enable us to not just survive, but to thrive!

As I conclude, I would like to leave you with this…”Ladies, you are blessed to be a blessing!”  Be just that… for your good and for God’s glory!  

Congratulations and enjoy the rest of the evening!

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