We work.

October 15, 2018


We work. It’s who we are. It’s in our DNA.

On October 12th, Head of School, Matt Cavellier offered the following remarks as part of the All-School Gathering for Fall Family Weekend.

Well good morning—I’d like to take a moment to thank the parents and guardians, siblings, and extended family members for joining us today. And we know that there are hundreds more parents, guardians, siblings, and extended family members who wish they could be here this weekend. To all of you, our special guests present and watching at home, we thank you for entrusting us with your children and we hope that this weekend you get a sense of how great a community we have here.

On Wednesday, AJ Toews, an alum from the Class of ’95, used a two-word phrase to capture the type of student athlete Shattuck-St. Mary’s School produces. He mentioned that whenever he talks with other scouts about our hockey teams the most consistent comments are: “They just keep coming. Wave after wave. They don’t stop.”

He told the students that it was bigger than hockey; and, like the proud alum he is, he adjusted the pronoun and talked about the kind of people who graduate from SSM: “We just keep coming. We don’t stop. We work.”

And I’ll tell you what: he’s right. We work. It’s who we are. It’s in our DNA.

Three weeks ago, I walked into BioScience lab and found five students dissecting calf hearts. Each of them had their own heart and scalpel, and by the time I arrived, they were all in various stages of dissection. Every so often Dr. LaLiberty would peer over a shoulder and point to a ventricle and ask a question. Then Hunter found the moderator band, and mid-slice (I’m confident that’s the technical term.) Kari rushed over to see it so she could get a sense of what she was looking for. So she could find it. So she could get it right.

As I walked back to my office, I heard one of our pianists practicing, and I paused outside a practice room to listen as Kirill played through a section of a piece, stopped, played through a smaller segment of that section—I can only assume because he was unhappy with either the tempo, the sound, or perhaps he missed a note. Then he stopped and played through it again, and, if I had to guess, a fourth, fifth, and sixth time after I left.

In the days after the tornadoes and heavy winds touched down in Faribault, I was outside my house on the St. Mary’s Hall campus when one of our grounds crew, Dan Andersen, was chain sawing two trees that had fallen in the storm. He stopped his work to come tell me that the work our students did during Hands Across Faribault—picking up branches and other debris all over our campuses—was impressive and saved our crew hours if not days of clean-up.

And back to Wednesday of this week, I left the office at the end of the day and was distracted on my way to my car by a noisy group of students. It was raining—of course, because it has been raining almost nonstop for the past two weeks—and there, in the rain, were five goalkeepers, Bailey, Hannah, Mariah, Nadia, and Savanna and Coach Croft and a mud pit. I watched as the girls cheered as each one squared up and dove after a volley from Coach straight into the mud pit. They cycled through several times—and, after the last one, Coach turned to me and asked rhetorically, “Who says we don’t have fun?”

We do have fun. And we work. What you will see all weekend long is the manifestation of that “We work” ethos distilled. You will see the fruits of “We work” on full display.

You will see it during your conferences as our teacher share their passion with you.

You will see it this evening during the figure skating exhibition—that is if you are not basking in its glory while seated in the Chapel of the Good Shepherd listening to our Vocal Performance and Pre-Conservatory musicians.

You will see it while eating lunch in the dining hall as our amazing staff continue to churn out impressive spreads of food while construction invades their kitchen.

You will see it on the golf course, the ice, the pitch, and, if I would only stop talking, you will see it on stage here this morning.

So, thank you all again for coming—we are glad you are here. Now I’m going to stop talking, and we’re going to get to work.

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    Photo by Kelli Dineen '10