Principal Curtis spoke to parents about how fortunate Cardinal Gibbons is to have such “remarkable educators who choose to be here and are committed to our students, and to have students who choose to work hard and care for one another.”
They filled Queen of All Saints Chapel to pray the Rosary together before the start of Back to School Night 2017. This was just one way Gibbons parents chose to engage in the school community.
Parent engagement was a consistent theme at last night's event, which is the official welcome to new and returning parents, and an opportunity to gather as a parent community and to meet educators.
At 7 p.m. the evening presentation began with Nancy Barkan, Assistant Principal for Instruction, senior student Isabella Salazar '18, and Principal Jason Curtis, each addressing parents. Fr. Daniel Oschwald opened the presentation with a prayer.
In her speech Salazar, a student artist and retreat leader, told parents that Gibbons is a place where students choose to create memories, rather than wait for them to happen ... and where students are encouraged "to be the best version of ourselves." In turn, "we want to give back," she said. Salazar ended her talk asking parents to think about what they will choose to do at Gibbons and advising them "to be prepared to get more in return than you expect."
Parents then watched a video featuring educators talking about why they choose to teach at Gibbons. Reasons included having the freedom to be creative, interacting and learning from students, feeling appreciated and supported, and putting their faith into action.
In his talk, Principal Curtis spoke about how fortunate Cardinal Gibbons is to have such "remarkable educators who choose to be here and are committed to our students, and to have students who choose to work hard and care for one another." He also thanked parents for their commitment to Catholic education and trust in Gibbons. He then encouraged them to choose to engage in the school community by, among other things, joining with others in prayer or coming to an event and cheering on someone else's child.
After the presentation, parents left the gym to follow their student's class schedule and visit each of their student's educators.
It was an exciting evening for first-time Gibbons parent Magi Wilson, whose son Michael is a freshman. It was a wonderful experience and everyone seems so welcoming to the students as well as to the parents, she said. She added that her younger son Johnny, a fourth grader, is already looking forward to coming to Gibbons.
As their last Back to School Night, the evening was filled with mixed emotions for returning parents Cindy and Joe Abate, whose son, James, is a senior. His brother Andrew graduated in 2016.
"On the way over, we were like, oh, we are going to have such fun tonight, really enjoy this, really interact with the teachers, and just be ready for a fun year for James," said Joe Abate.
"I think it is bittersweet," added Cindy Abate. "I can't believe my baby is going to be graduating ... this is the last one here and it has been such a nice school, such a great experience."