Of all the professional sporting events in our country, one most closely parallels the institution of education. If you were to look closely, you might notice that the sport of baseball in many ways resembles school life. To begin, the history of baseball lists the first recorded contest in 1846 in Hoboken, N.J. Not far behind, in 1852 Massachusetts became the first U.S. state to enact a compulsory education law. As another similarity, a baseball season (including all playoff games) approximates 180 games each season. As for the school calendar, each student is expected to attend 180 school days in any given year. The roster size for a major league team is 25 players while the typical class size in the Maryland Public School system approximates 25 students (St. Agnes averages 18 students). While other American team sports may rely on the big play to win a game, baseball tends to rely on routines and fundamentals in which to achieve sustained, long term success. Much in this same way, schools commit much of its energy to establishing foundational practices within its students as a means in which to help them achieve proficiency within all of their subject areas. As a final example, strong baseball athletes are often referred to as having “six tools” – hits for average, hits for power, is a good base runner, is a good fielder, has a good throwing arm, and possesses the quality of leadership. Contemporaneously, a six tool player in school would be a young person who is strong in the core areas of Religion, Math, English Language Arts, Social Studies, Science and “Specials” classes.
With such similar analogies in mind, it is no coincidence that at St. Agnes, we refer to the first day of school as Opening Day. On this memorable occasion, we celebrate both our returning students, as well as our new students. It is this latter group who are enthusiastically celebrated. As has quickly become tradition at St. Agnes, we welcome our new students through a showering of blowing bubbles as they move through a tunnel of middle school BEARS, while the rest of our school community cheers for the newest members of BEAR NATION. At the end of this “Bubble Brigade” the students receive a formal certificate welcoming them St. Agnes School. And to conclude this special event, our entire community sang a modified version of the 1979 song “We are Family” by Sister Sledge. Included below is an example of one of the verses:
Here's what we call our golden rule
Have faith in you and the things you do
You won't go wrong, oh no
This is our family jewel
We are family
I got all my BEARS with me
We are family
Get up everybody and sing!
What a blessed Opening Day and what a joyous start to the 2018-2019 school year!