This year, the traditional Back to School Night was far from traditional.
First, the August 29th event – the official welcome to new and returning parents and an opportunity to visit classrooms and visit with teachers – followed the blessing and dedication earlier in the day of the school’s new facilities, made possible by the Building the Vision construction and renovation project. In the morning and afternoon, the halls of Cardinal Gibbons High School were filled with activity, including an-all Mass celebrated by Bishop Burbidge who also presided over the blessing and dedication, as well as student-led tours, a showcase of student activities, and alumni and parent receptions. (Read dedication story)
To usher in this year’s special Back to School Night the Cardinal Gibbons Family Association sponsored a progressive dinner that started at 5 p.m. in the main lobby. The dinner - appetizers in the lobby, main course in the learning commons, and desserts in the cafeteria - provided new and returning parents the opportunity to see the new facilities before the official start of Back to School night.
That start came at 7:00 p.m. when parents gathered in the main gym for a Back to School Night presentation. It included comments by Nancy Barkan, Assistant Principal for Instruction; Principal Jason Curtis; David Nerz, chair of the Board of Trustees; and senior Brandon Bales ’14. Parents were also shown a video, showcasing the recently completed Building the Vision project, from conception to reality. (View the video, produced by Josh Teder ’11)
In his speech Bales, who is executive student council treasurer, talked about how in four short years Gibbons has become “like a second home to him.” He spoke of how certain experiences as a student inspired him to get involved in the life of the school and to become a student leader. One of those experiences involved his freshman English teacher who tutored him for two hours after school so he would succeed.
He then informed parents how all students at Gibbons have the opportunity to become leaders when they become members of the Gibbons family. “And just like a family, things may not always go according to plan, but that’s okay,” Bales told the audience. “It is the fact that Gibbons can unite us together that makes it such a special place to be a part of.” (Read his entire speech.)
After the presentation parents left the gym to follow their student’s class schedule and meet their student’s teachers. Here’s what some parents had to say about the evening and the new facilities:
“What a fun night! We felt so warmly welcomed by our awesome student tour guides, inspiring teachers and dedicated faculty. Their enthusiasm for our school and the beautiful renovations and additions are infectious. As Mr. Curtis stated last night, it's a wonderful new beginning for the Gibbons community and we have an amazing year to look forward to. Once again, we were reminded of why we are so happy we chose Gibbons for our daughter's high school experience.”
Marianne and Tim Sullivan
“Principal Curtis was right in his statement that…parents really do want to go to Cardinal Gibbons, regardless of their child’s preference. My husband and I left Cardinal Gibbons last night realizing how fortunate our senior and freshman students are to be attending intellectually stimulating classes, with a superior (and happy) faculty in a stunning college campus-like atmosphere. My husband would like to take guitar class with our son, and I would like to attend our daughter’s English Literature course. ..”
Elizabeth and Michael Doggett
Mary Grace ’14 and Michael ’17