It is my honor and privilege to be the new President of Mater Dei High School. Since the announcement in early springtime, I have been overwhelmed by the kindness of so many as people have gone out of their way to welcome me to this wonderful community. Soon after the announcement I began a series of “Zoom” meetings with various groups on campus, including administrators, faculty and students. The positive energy, often expressed in boundless pride for this place, has been infectious!
Since July 1 when I officially began my time as President, I’ve finally had the opportunity to meet more members of the community in person. It has been a particular joy to start meeting more and more of our current students. Of course, my dog Lance is a great conversation starter, and I am very aware that he is already vastly more popular on campus than I! As well, I have been meeting with alums, parents and friends of the high school in as many contexts as possible. Every day I grow more and more impressed by this community and more grateful that God has brought me here.
I am, above all things, a priest. That is at the core of my own identity, and it leads me always to be interested in the real lives of the people I serve. I am a member of the Congregation of Holy Cross, a Religious order of men and women committed to making God know, loved and served through Catholic education. As many have already realized, that connects me to the University of Notre Dame. Some have confused me with Father John Jenkins, C.S.C., ND’s President. While John and I are brothers in our religious order, and often call one another “cousins,” we are not related. But perhaps the biggest difference between Father John and myself is that I lead a school that’s ranked number 1 in football!
In the days, months and years ahead, I look forward to rooting on the Monarchs in every arena of competition including in the classroom, on the court, field, pitch, stage and in the pool. This wonderful place has my complete attention and all my energy. In the days ahead, on the best of days and on the most challenging of days, it will always have my loyalty and prayers.
As we begin a new year, and as we slowly and cautiously emerge from the darkness of the pandemic, it remains important for us to be vigilant in providing the safest possible environment for our community. I know that we are not united in our opinions of how best to procced during this difficult time, especially now that a new variant has begun to impact the communities around us. But be assured of my complete confidence in our administration’s ability to do what is best for our students, employees and families as the new school year begins. I am deeply impressed, and even more grateful, for the skillful and compassionate way the faculty and administration has guided the high school through this past year. Being back together on campus, no matter the safety protocols that will be required, is a great step forward in the hope of restoring the complete Mater Dei experience for our students. May Mary, the Mother of God, protect us in this new year.
With every best wish and prayer for you, and those you love, I remain,
Father Walter E. Jenkins, C.S.C., Ed.D.