Letter to Senior Families - April 17, 2020

Dear Families of the Class of 2020,

As always, I thank you for your patience during this unprecedented time in the life of our beloved school. I know that not just at Jesuit, but in our global community, we are learning to respond daily to new, and often complicated, scenarios. Just today, Gov. Greg Abbott announced that school campuses in Texas would remain closed through the end of the regular academic year and while this has been a challenging time for everyone at Jesuit Dallas, my heart goes out especially to the Class of 2020.

We designed end-of-school traditions in the spirit of the Jesuit mission and in the academic and spiritual formation of our young men. Under the circumstances created by the Covid-19 crisis, we are formulating plans to make the most out of an undesirable situation. Our plans will continue to be fluid, although I wanted to provide you with an update of events based on the information we have today.

  1. Prom – Prom was originally scheduled for April 4, and we have pushed the rescheduling of this event as far as possible. Unfortunately, given the magnitude of closures and social distancing measures that will likely prevent a quick return to acceptable gatherings of large groups of people in confined spaces, we do not anticipate our seniors being able to engage in a traditional prom and we are incredibly sorry about this loss.
  2. College T-Shirt Day – When each senior turns in his College Application Summary to the counseling department (these were sent to the seniors last week), a link will be shared with each senior to send in a picture wearing a T-shirt from the college where he will be attending. If that decision hasn’t been made yet or the senior doesn’t have a T-shirt from his college of choice, he can wear Jesuit spirit wear and hold a sign as to where he is attending. We plan to utilize our digital channels to celebrate these decisions sometime in mid-May.
  3. Letting Go Meeting – This meeting will be rescheduled for a date in mid-May to be announced soon. At that time, administrators and senior counselors will virtually share their tips for preparing seniors for college and these uncertain times.
  4. Senior Mass and Breakfast – We are moving forward with an alternate plan that provides a nice experience for our seniors and their families on the morning of May 10. The plan includes offering a virtual Mass, recordings of faculty and student speakers, and sharing the traditional senior class video. Families can then share a meal together in their homes in celebration of this milestone event.
  5. Graduation – I sent a letter to families on April 10 that reiterated our intent to have a physical graduation for our seniors. That has not changed. The administration is considering numerous alternatives affecting both the date and location, and our goal is to solidify and share a new date for graduation by the end of next week.
  6. Senior Guidance Presentations – Plans are coming together for virtual alternatives to our normal live presentations from guest speakers, and our counselors will be in touch with more information, including dates, in the coming weeks.
  7. Kairos Retreat – Mrs. Crowder and Dr. Kirby are working on an online and engaging version of Kairos in the desire to keep this invaluable faith enrichment opportunity for our seniors. Although we are still working through the details, the experience will include many of the tradition rich aspects of our retreat program. Additionally, we will help facilitate any request from a student who wishes to make a Jesuit retreat at Montserrat during the next six months.
  8. Tom Garrison Prelection Presentation – Mr. Garrison is working on a virtual alternative for this highly informative presentation scheduled for May 13.
  9. Senior Chat rooms on Microsoft Teams – Counselors have already reached out to every member of the Class of 2020, and will be hosting online chat rooms to answer student questions beginning next week. Times for the chat room will be communicated to the seniors directly.
  10. Special Games – While this wonderful event, scheduled for May 8, brings together our seniors and special athletes from across the metroplex in a culmination of the senior service experience, we have been forced to cancel this year’s Special Games with the health of our seniors and the special athletes foremost in our minds. The Community Service and Social Justice department congratulates the senior class on their outstanding commitment to being Men for Others by completing their Wednesday program and the many service initiatives that Jesuit offers. Although the program has concluded for seniors this year, we know that these men are at the beginning of a lifetime of service to the vulnerable and marginalized.
  11. Finally, we are so proud of our seniors and their perseverance as they continue in their formation as Men for Others. As a gesture of our gratitude, a member of the faculty or staff will be driving to your homes between 8-10 a.m., next Thursday, April 23, with a yard sign that expresses our love for the young men in the Jesuit Dallas Class of 2020. We wish we could see your sons’ smiling faces on campus, but hope that this small token of appreciation helps brighten his day! Feel free to post a picture or video on social media and tag us afterwards; we’d love to hear from you.

I realize this is a tremendous amount of information, but these are events that Jesuit Dallas seniors and families have enjoyed in the past and activities that I know many of you were looking forward to with great anticipation. Please know that each of you are in my thoughts and prayers, and I look forward to seeing you again soon.

God’s Blessings,

Michael A. Earsing