Connelly Contact Summer 2020 – Letter from the Board Chair

Letter from the Board Chair

The challenges that this nation has encountered during 2020 have been unparalleled during the last50 years and like so many different types of entities, have directly impacted the students, teachers, administrators, Trustees, and the families of the Holy Child community. Though the challenges presented by COVID-19, and the ongoing racial prejudice and discrimination upon which the Black Lives Matter movement has focused our attention, along with various collateral diversity issues, are not easily resolved. It will take time, but it is critical that we recognize that now is the time to stand united as a community to battle for racial equality and to extend our hearts and hands to assist those suffering fromCOVID-19. Now is also the time to at least start down the path to find resolutions for these issues. The response of how to deal with these matters reflects upon the character and sincerity of any entity that encounters these issues, including the Holy Child community. From what I have witnessed, the Holy Child community, under the leadership of Dr. Gomez, has presented a united, caring, and professional approach to each of these challenges.

I can share with you that the entire Board of Trustees is very concerned about these challenges, and collectively, they have put in much extra time and effort to work with Dr. Gomez in finding the correct path to uncover appropriate procedures and resolutions. Several Trustees have also recognized that these challenges present the Holy Child community with the opportunity to generate new and positive approaches to issues that were not previously at the forefront of our concerns.

COVID-19 presents an ongoing challenge as to how to continue to educate the young women at the school to meet the standards of Cornella Connelly: educating the whole child. Prior to the COVID-19outbreak, Dr. Gomez had already commenced looking into e-learning classes and how they would function from the teacher and the student perspective. As a result, Holy Child was recognized as having one of the best e-learning systems in the DMV. Parents have come together recognizing the challenges and have been very supportive of the approach put in place by Dr. Gomez. The e-learning program has not been stagnant, but has grown and improved by the faculty and administrators, all of whom will carryforward these new programs as alternative educational tools even after the resolution of COVID-19. Much of these benefits have been the result of a united Holy Child community, students, families, teachers, and administrators coming together for the good all involved. A very positive product resulting from what was a very challenging situation.

Similarly, the racial prejudice issues highlighted by the Black Lives Matter movement and the various other collateral diversity issues, have resulted in vast protest across the country, staged to seek the Constitutional right of racial equality. Once again, Dr. Gomez took the leadership to commence a dialog regarding the issues as soon as they were raised by a group of Holy Child alumnae who supported the Black Lives Matter movement and brought with her to those discussions the basic Catholic principles upon which the Holy Child community is built. Jesus left us with two basic commandments: love God with your whole heart and soul, and love your neighbor as yourself. The latter commandment so often appears to be the more challenging of the two, but it is a major premise of the Holy Child education and community. Again, from my perspective, the Holy Child community has stood united to adhere to the love your neighbor commandment during these trying times. Loving in a united fashion does not require that all agree on all issues, but does require recognition of basic human rights such as racial equality. The Holy Child community is a diverse one in terms of race, ethnicity, culture, economic status, and religious identity. Such diversity is a gift to all who participate in the Holy Child community and offers an opportunity to learn and gain a greater respect for each segment of that diverse community. Though love does not require agreement, it does require respect for all people and it is that level of respect that is at the root of the Holy Child education and promoted among the Holy Child community. As a united community, let us join together enthusiastically to support Holy Child in its unique position to identify and lead others down the path to discussions and hopefully resolutions of these issues.

Paul Sullivan, Outgoing Chair of Board of Trustees