As we all know, the pandemic turned school operations upside down this past March. To make things more challenging, many of our families faced economic hardship and personal issues. It’s been hard for a lot of people. Like other schools Totino-Grace developed a distance learning program with very little warning. Above all else, we understood that students needed their intellectual and social-emotional needs attended to. We weren’t going to mail it in and teach to the lowest common denominator. That’s not the TG way. Students need authentic learning, real engagement and that’s what we sought to accomplish.
Back to School, August 2020
The last day of on campus classes took place on March 12, about 175 days ago. Our teachers are ready for the school year to begin. I can hear it in their words and see it in their actions. Our students are ready, too.
COVID-19 has taught us several lessons over the past six months. First, we now better understand that face-to-face connections are important. We need people in our lives. Not just friends and followers on social media but in-person interactions that allow a deeper, more personal level of human connection.
Second, we now more easily recognize that all jobs are important, not just those that require a lot of formal education or a lot of talent. From the person who delivers food to the stores, to the person who stocks the shelves, to the person who checks us out, these jobs are central. Where would we be without them?
Third, we’ve learned that it’s important to pray when it’s hardest to pray. In this challenging time in our history, what a blessing we have here at TG to be members of a Catholic faith community where we can pray together, share our intentions, and rely on our beliefs through this difficult time. Let’s keep praying.
Fourth, it has also been affirmed that young people need to know their future is one of hope and optimism. They need to feel important and capable, that who they are and what they do matters. TG is good at these matters! We will challenge, encourage, and take care of your sons and daughters, our students. That’s what we do best.
Perhaps more than ever before, this year we will be asking our students, faculty, and staff to SOAR -- to SUPPORT OTHERS and ACT RESPONSIBLY. Our commitment is not just to academic achievement and personal development but to keep everyone safe. If we all
do what we are supposed to do -- self-screening and staying home when feeling ill, social distancing as much as possible, wearing masks, and disinfecting appropriately, hopefully we will remain on campus for a long time. That’s our intention.
Totino-Grace teachers don’t walk shyly into the classroom. We walk with confidence. We walk with all that we are at Totino-Grace. We will do what it takes to help our students to succeed. We will stay late. We will make phone calls home. We will create opportunities. We will love whomever arrives. And yes, we will hold students accountable.
On behalf of the Totino-Grace faculty and staff, I am proud of our Eagles.
Live Jesus in our hearts. Forever!
Dr. Craig W. Junker, President
We honor our seniors for the countless achievements we have witnessed over the last four years. We have enjoyed helping students learn, watching them compete, seeing them perform, assisting them as they navigate challenges, and laughing and praying with them each and every day. We are so proud of the class of 2020. May God bless you abundantly.
Evidence clearly shows that for students to really excel they need to have at least one “go to” teacher in the building who believes in that child and is willing to listen, challenge, and encourage. The enjoyment of learning and teaching comes down to relationships and how students feel about who they are and where they are going.
On behalf of our teachers, staff, and administration at Totino-Grace, my thoughts and prayers are with all of you as we face the incredible challenges and impact resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. The strength of a school is a direct reflection of the strength of its people -- in particular teachers and students. The schools shining now are the ones that are moving forward, focusing on their students. To be clear, I like what I see in our students and teachers at Totino-Grace.
My prayer is that we look for tenderness and love to always guide us, that we are a sign of strength and peace to others, and that we remember that God is love. After all, we are the love that God is. I hope you have a blessed Easter.