Another school year has come to an end, and it seems like just yesterday we gathered in the central patio as a school community to listen to Fr. Willie challenge us to “run to the fire.” This motto was repeated again and again throughout our many events this school year, during retreats, in class, on posters around our campus and in social media.
The question now becomes - have we run to the fire? Well, the answer is a resounding yes! Our school community “ran to the fire” with relief for those affected by the hurricanes early in the school year. From monetary support to basic supplies, Belen students answered the call. In fact, our young men performed 53,605 hours of service this past year fulfilling their mission to be men for and with others. Moreover, service days at Camillus House, the Hurtado Experience, Days of Reflection, Cardoner Experience, and the Junior Encounter gave our boys the opportunity to get closer to God while serving one another through our Campus Ministry Program.
We also “ran to the fire” by excelling in our activities and sports. Our Jazz and Concert Bands won first place in their respective national tournaments. The chess team competed at the national level for the first time and earned seventh place, while our thespians gave rousing performances and were successful at the state tournament once again this year. A state title in Cross Country continued our streak of thirteen consecutive state titles among all of our athletic teams. Additionally, Crew achieved state, regional, and national recognition, while district championships were won in football, golf, cross country, lacrosse, and volleyball. Two individual state champions, three individual all-county athletes, and one county Athlete of the Year exemplified the Magis that we strive for at Belen – always giving more for the greater glory of God.
In the academic realm, the class of 2018 led by example with their achievements. Our recent graduates will attend 73 different universities with 47% of our graduates leaving the State of Florida. Twenty will attend Jesuit Universities, 14 will attend the Ivy League, and one will attend the Naval Academy. Many of these Seniors shared their talents by participating in peer tutoring opportunities at our school assisting their Belen brothers in various academic subjects as well as tutoring children from after school programs across the community.
Wherever the Lord has guided our graduates to go now that they have left the halls of Belen, we pray that each and every one of them continue to “run to the fire.” As Father Willie said at the Baccalaureate Mass, to “run to the fire” simply means to “run to Jesus.” I encourage the class of 2018, as well as our entire Belen community, not to be afraid to run toward Jesus so that we may do His work in all corners of our world.
May we all have a safe and enjoyable summer vacation. May we rest and recharge so we can continue to be emboldened to run to the fire. Please remember to send us your pictures wearing Belen attire at your various vacation locations – Belen Everywhere.