Dear friends, students, and colleagues,
It is with great pleasure that I write to you as President of Fairfield Prep. I feel honored to be part of our mission in Jesuit secondary education, and especially blessed to have met so many of you this past year.
I cannot imagine a better transition, having the chance to facilitate Prep faculty retreats for two years prior to my arrival, teaching Spanish and working with the administration beginning last August, and serving as a Jesuit priest here at many Masses, retreats, and extracurricular events. After the public announcement of my appointment in January, I visited other Jesuit schools and conferences around the country to learn their best practices. These experiences all cause me to rejoice in gratitude for what we share at Fairfield Prep.
We spend our days doing meaningful work within a community marked by its strong sense of fellowship and generosity. The Grad at Grad presents goals not only for our students, but ones that all of us as educators, parents, and alumni strive to attain. To thrive as an institution is to continually ask ourselves, “How can we be more open to growth, intellectually competent, loving, religious, and committed to doing justice?”
So many times this past year I have witnessed Grad at Grad ideals in action: families welcoming one another at S.E.E.D. events, parents sharing meals after games with players from opposing teams, committed teachers learning new technology and pedagogical techniques to reach their students in creative ways, fine arts performances that weave a multitude of talents into a unified production, coaches who put in countless hours to model how true love and sacrifice can be cultivated through sports, students courageously sharing life stories with one another on Kairos retreats, and alumni who regularly return to be renewed in their “Prep Brotherhood.”
God, the source of all that is good, is present in these life-giving expressions of gifts received. There is much for which we have to be grateful. With opportunities come challenges and responsibilities. We must never lose our focus on developing transformative leaders who will engage the troubles of our world in constructive, faith-filled ways. Hope for a world of peace and justice has to be infused into the projects we embark upon and everything we communicate to these young men. We challenge them, because we know that the challenges of our global context are great. Our confidence comes from knowing that God’s redeeming love surpasses all.
The president of any non-profit institution functions as its chief executive officer and head fundraiser, setting strategic goals and ensuring sufficient resources are assembled to meet those objectives. My role at Fairfield Prep is no different, and I enthusiastically undertake this responsibility because I am convinced in the value of our mission. At the same time, I view my moral obligation as head of a Jesuit work to be that of pastor to this extended Prep family, both in terms of pastoral presence and as one to shepherd us forward as we discern future growth beyond our coming 75th anniversary.
I encourage us to deepen our commitment as a learning, discerning, apostolic community through prayer and collaboration. And I invite you to participate in some Prep event you haven’t yet attended, appreciating the many facets of our school. See you soon around the halls, fields, and theater of Fairfield Prep.
Rev. Thomas M. Simisky, S.J.
Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam – For the Greater Glory of God