Letter from the Principal - January 2021

January 13, 2021

 Dear Parents and Guardians,

I admit that I am reluctant to write this letter.  My initial plan was to write a New Year’s letter to celebrate our gradual return to “regular” high school for our students. Co-curriculars and athletics are resuming. Vaccines are being administered around the world, and our faculty and staff should receive their vaccinations soon. Students are taking advantage of our Student Support Wednesdays. Our Dismantling Racism work is underway and we are resuming work on our Strategic Plan. 

Now, a week after January 6, it feels false to write a letter of celebration. It feels overwhelming and pretentious to express any wisdom. I am certain that many parents reading these words can relate to this feeling of inadequacy. I do not want to sound preachy or politicize. I do not want to be overly optimistic or overly dramatic. Like all of you, I want to guide our children, protect them and help them make sense of our world. 

Through it all, I cannot stop thinking about our students. They are coming of age during turbulent times. Less than a year ago, they were literally locked out of their school building and told to remain at home to learn online. They also faced the realization that their loved ones could become sick or die from the pandemic. Late last spring they witnessed the killing of George Floyd within our own metro area while the entire world watched in horror and protested. Now, they have witnessed an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Again, while the entire world was watching.

My first reaction on January 6 was one of disbelief. I thought, “This is not who we are as a nation.” Upon reflection, I realize this sentiment probably seems like a lie to students. This IS what they are experiencing. To deny them their experience builds distrust and amplifies their confusion and any trauma they may face. It also denies the experience of millions of people of color and those in underserved populations.  

Our students are watching us. I believe we have an obligation to have candid and honest discussions with them. This means we need to listen to them. We cannot ignore the events that are happening or sweep them under the rug. We can however, share optimism and hope, particularly in them. They are the leaders of our future.   

We can remind them that we are there with them and will do everything within our power to keep them safe. We can remind them that students, staff, and parents within the CDH community continue to provide them with the opportunity to be in school, however imperfect. We can remind them that there is a world-wide outcry for racial justice and a call to action that includes our own Dismantling Racism initiative. And, we can remind them that most recently, the leaders of both parties reconvened Congress after a harrowing lockdown to ensure the peaceful transfer of power.  

Amidst it all, they deserve the opportunity to be teenagers. They are not the adults. We are.  This is not an easy time to parent, to teach or to lead. And yet, we must and we do.


Mona Passman



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Announcing New Ryan STEM Center

The Board of Directors has approved the construction of the new Ryan STEM Center at Cretin-Derham Hall. The construction is slated to start this spring so it will be open for student use in the fall of 2021.