To my new students:
At Tampa Catholic High School, they say "sports is king," but it just so happens that they're wrong, and I'll prove it to you. Walk into our gym, and take a look around. Amidst state championship pennants and varsity rosters, you'll find a banner that tells you everything you need to know. It reads:
"Be it known to all who enter here, that Christ is the reason for this school. He is the model for our faculty and the inspiration of our students."
There it is, in black and white. At Tampa Catholic, sports aren't king at all—Christ is.
But what does that mean? The answer is in those 29 words. They make several important promises to you. They promise that this school is rooted in something much deeper than academic excellence. They promise that our faculty share a single vision for their role as teacher. Finally, they promise that Christ has the power to inspire you. At your age, the power to inspire is like magic. You are the future—imagine if that future is inspired by Christ.
That word "inspire" is a great one. If you break it down to its Latin roots, it means "to breathe life into." So many things will breathe life into your high school experience: simple practical jokes executed in the quick five minute passing periods between classes, all the hours you spend serving your wider Tampa community, what is sure to be a whole host of extracurricular activities, and of course, the knowledge that lies buried in the pages of your textbooks, waiting to be wrestled with.
Every once in a while, though, stop and think about what truly inspires you, and make sure you find Christ there.
That's not always easy. Let me try to help. Check out this photo:
This is what the first football game of the season looks like: the treasured tradition of "Friday Night Lights," where parents and younger siblings, faculty, our principal and deans, football players, cheerleaders, and devoted fans all gather together under the Crusader banner.
They gather under something else, too. Something bigger. Take a look at that gorgeous Florida sky. What you're seeing is what's called "the pink moment"—that fleeting moment when the sky lights up with an ethereal burst of spectacular pink.
Maybe I'm crazy, but I like to think that's Christ, breathing life into TC Football. At the very least, though, that sky is a good reminder that there are things much more important than field goals and touchdowns at stake here. There is a backdrop which frames all that we do in and outside of the classroom: "Christ is the reason for this school."
Come to TC willing to live like Christ, to be inspired by his example, and you will find a home here.