Farewell Mrs. Hause

June 11, 2019

THANK YOU & FAREWELL  

The one word I keep using to define my years at OLG is gratitude.  I am so grateful for all the we call OLG.

Recently, I wrote six letters expressing my thankfulness, but the last was intentional.  The last was to the students – past and present.

For it was they for whom I worked so hard.  It was they who I wanted to be with through the day.  It was they who made me laugh, sometimes made me cry.  It was they from whom I learned the most.  

Thank you for learning and growing and sharing yourselves with us at OLG.   

____________________________________________

June 4, 2019
 
This is the sixth and last in a series of letters of gratitude as I prepare to leave OLG School.  The one word that stands out from all others as I ponder my 36 years here is gratitude. 

Today, last and certainly the best, I wish to acknowledge the students.  They are the reason for the work, for the joy in this long-lasting career.  They come in all sizes and shapes, all types of personalities.  Some learn easily; others work so hard.  Some find stability at home and share it with us; others find much-needed stability at school.  Some love the creative arts, some live for their sports, some learn best by doing; others must see it and hear it to learn.  Some learn to pray at school; others remind us how important prayer is in our lives as they bring their amazing faith to us.  Some learn from mistakes easily; some need more chances to learn.   

Thus, each day is different.  Each day has its own challenges, but each day has far more joy. I have never met a child who doesn’t want to learn, who doesn’t want to achieve.  But, I have met children who are confused, burdened beyond their years, always insecure because they feel they must be perfect.  For those children, I pray; for all children, I pray.  They have all led me to a greater and deeper faith.  I have learned that times change, but the love of those children does not.  

Whatever may have come from my years at OLG, my gratitude is to God and to all of you who allowed me to share your children for these many years.  I know they are your treasures.  And so they are mine.  

    “It is not joy that makes us grateful; it is gratitude that makes us joyful.”   David Steinall-Rast
      
For you, students of the past and of the present, throughout all the years, I am most grateful.

____________________________________________________

Reception Speech - Sunday, June 2nd

For weeks I have been in the dark of all that tonight would bring.  Whenever I asked, the response was “Just a small, quiet gathering!” However, as I entered so many classrooms for the past weeks, the normal greetings and sharing of learning were gone.  Now there were whispers, concerned looks at teachers, and papers being covered.  A little odd – until I realized what was happening.  The kids were making cards… or something… for me – so I knew more was to come.

Tonight I thank Fr. Peter, and Kelli, and all those who helped in any way.  As much as I noticed whispers in the classrooms, I noticed them in the office, so I know MANY were involved.  This is beautiful; your presence here tonight on such a busy Sunday is such a gift!  

What makes saying good-by so difficult is this community of love – a community that comes together – people from all backgrounds – to work together to achieve goals.  I have seen this community now for 36 years, and it’s truly unique in that way. 

I also thank my own family through all these years.  When I came – my son was in 3rd grade, and my daughter was in 5th  grade – yes, awhile ago.  I was predestined for this work at OLG.  

Since all of our family attended Mass each week and Catholic schools, my brothers and I 
celebrated “Mass” Saturday mornings as my parents slept in.  With washcloths galore and cups and saucers, we imitated it all. Then, by 3rd grade, I knew I wanted to be a teacher, so I made my brothers into my students and had them sit and work throughout the summer.  As a result, I became a Catholic school teacher!  My 16 years of Catholic education in San Diego didn’t hurt either.

When I first came to OLG, I drove out to interview with Sr. Bridget Anne.  I drove on Interstate 8 East -  for miles, then up Lake Murray Blvd. through lights and lights, and then to Navajo.  I felt I had to be close to the desert!  I first worked in the Reading Center, and, at that time, there were very few of us lay women teaching at the school.  Most were Sisters of Mercy.  It is on the shoulders of these women, who gave of themselves totally for the education of the children of OLG, that we stood.  They were our models of great leadership and dedication.  

I loved that first job as a reading specialist– working with students in grades 1-8 to improve their reading skills.  Then 4 years later, Sister called late in August and said, “Bonnie, the 8th grade teacher, is moving to Texas since her husband is being transferred.”  I knew I could teach the language arts and the religion.  Social Studies would be new, but U.S. history couldn’t be too hard – until the outgoing teacher shared with me that there was no teacher’s guide to the textbook, since it was out of print, and good luck!  

I was very concerned to be teaching 8th graders only – they were tall, they were big, they were clearly very angry that their beloved teacher wasn’t back to lead them through 8th grade, and there I was!  I grew to LOVE junior high.  They needed someone to appreciate their unique styles – and I got them.  I took on more and more leadership at the school, becoming assistant principal for those last years.  
 
As Sr. Bridget Anne’s health failed, I knew I was being called to leave the classroom and assume the principalship, but that was excruciatingly hard.  I missed the classroom so much!  But I had my mission made clear to me -  I had the long list of responsibilities of the principal from the diocese – daunting to be sure.  And I had the mission made clear from Msgr. Gallagher -  “It’s a good school; don’t screw it up!”

Once out of the classroom, I was free to roam about the school, in and out of classrooms, and understand how amazing the education was at OLG, at all levels and in all grades.  No wonder they came to me in 8th grade so well-prepared!  Then the teachers and I grew the academic and religion programs even stronger, knowing the capabilities of our students and this community.  The pastors and the parents grew the facilities and the staff, working together to offer great athletic and extracurricular programs.

As that point, as principal, I had hundreds of students, not just 43.  I delighted in figuring out how they best learned, why they connected with some lessons and not others, what motivated them outside of the classroom, how each one was unique and beautiful in his/her own way.  I love visiting with students one-on-one or in small groups – watching them delight when playing sports, watching them courageously on stage for talent shows and Student Council speeches and SLE presentations.  I love their enthusiasm for pig races and pep rallies and Bike Rodeos.  I love their faith and their reverence and their growing understanding of their beliefs as they receive sacraments, lead prayer at Masses and prayer services, and figure out ways to improve their behavior amongst themselves and to make positive differences in this world.   

Today lay principals and teachers walk hand in hand in our schools.  They have built on the strong foundations of a faith-filled school and its quality education, and have brought it into the 21st century to meet the needs of this new generation of students and their families.

I do thank my own family for their understanding and patience through the years.  Once, so frustrated, my husband said, “You might as well stay out there and live in the convent.”  Well, the next year the office was located right there – in the re-purposed convent – now the Admin Bldg.  As a coach, he has worked with kids all his life.  He knows why I spent such long hours, how finding one more, one better way to teach or lead just had to be done!  Thank you.

To my children, - well, as you know I shared many stories about them with my students to make clear all the ways to behave – never once believing that the lives of my children and the students at OLG would ever intersect.  Now they have heard my stories – and, turn around is fair play – they now hear stories of my exploits!

One of my greatest joys was being able to see my own grandchild at school each day.  At the end of a very difficult conference or after experiencing disappointments, I could go out and look across the basketball courts, see him at play, and smile!  Thank you, Cristian.  

Whatever may have come from my years at OLG, I give thanks to God for this opportunity.  Almost every day, I looked forward to a day with the children.  Hopefully, I made good on my promise – and did not screw it up!

Wherever I have fallen short, please forgive me.  Know that I will carry you in my heart and keep you in prayer.  Over my career, I was privileged to meet you, 
you - whose lives honed and shaped me to become who I am.  

May God bless you.

________________________________________________________

May 28, 2019
 
This is the fifth in a series of letters of gratitude as I prepare to leave OLG School.  The one word that stands out from all others as I ponder my 36 years here is gratitude.  

Today I wish to acknowledge all families – current and former – with whom I’ve worked during these many years.  

When I arrived at OLG, I heard from very proud families of the history of the school, the sacrifices made by so many families who built and cooked and coached and helped with supervision and assisted the teaching sisters.  

Now I have my own memories.  I have experienced firsthand those faith-filled families who reminded me that my job as teacher and principal was always spiritual guide to others.  And, with this awareness, my spiritual life grew each year.  As families celebrated their successes and grieved their losses, they have demonstrated faith and hope and love in word and action.  

Community has also been an OLG hallmark.  Education at school demands teamwork in order to be successful.  The child and the family and the school must work together to achieve progress and growth.  When all three factors work in unison, great things happen – and have happened.  One of my greatest satisfactions was showing students that they were capable of so much-  that, if they spent time at study, they could always improve.  I loved watching them, once they looked back, as they saw how far they had come and how far they could go.  

I’ve especially valued those families who saw their child as part of a class, part of a team, part of a school, part of a larger community.  They saw their child as one of a greater whole, not the only one.   We, here at school, have wonderful opportunities to teach service, community, and the concept that each child is the most important and valued, but not any more important or valued than any other child.  There are all sorts of chances to teach sportsmanship, resilience, coping skills, and grit. The success of our alumni points to the importance of these qualities.

As community, parents at OLG step forward to take on so many needed roles.  Some identify themselves as “worker bees”, ready to help but feeling more content to stay in the background.  Our Halloween Carnival, Family Movie Night, Gala, lunches, and classrooms couldn’t function without them.  Then there are others who step forward to organize and chair – again, we would be so much less without them too.  Coaches, room parents, volunteers for class events, field trip chaperones, yearbook committees, mentor families, Parents in Prayer, Fun Run and Gala and Gift Card Program chairs, our anniversary committees for our 50th and 60th year celebrations, and on and on.  I even remember the funerals of my own parents, when, unbeknownst to me, the students and their families filled the pews behind me and filed up to receive Communion.  The comfort and love I felt was overwhelming and covered me like a warm blanket.  I knew I was held in love; I knew my family had expanded!

I’ve learned that all families want the best for their children.  The “best” is sometimes interpreted differently, but communicating and listening and reflecting always works. Each family is unique, and each has contributed to the whole – 36 years of highs and lows, successes and disappointments – aka life!

One of the most satisfying aspects of the last years has been the return of so many alumni who have come back to enroll their children in OLG.  They left as 14 year olds – anxious to leave the rules and regulations and uniforms and little kids behind and move on.  Now they return as adults, realizing the gifts their parents and grandparents bestowed on them through their elementary education, realizing how much they valued their education and community, and how much they want the same for their own children now.  

As I say during our New Parent Meeting each year, few people understand your commitment to a Catholic education.  Relatives, friends, and neighbors will question why you spend your hard-earned money for an education for your children that is free right down the road in your neighborhood.  You and I know.  You were looking for a school that will encourage hard work, that will show your child all he can be, a school that models your priorities of faith and service,  a school that provides a safe and moral community to help you raise children in this challenging culture, a school that selects its own faith-based curriculum to teach national standards that meet the needs of our students- not district-mandated curriculum, a school that cherishes your children.  I am most grateful to have been immersed in a community of just such families for so many years.   

  “It is not joy that makes us grateful; it is gratitude that makes us joyful.”   David Steinall-Rast
      
For you, OLG families – past and present -  throughout all the years, I am most grateful.

______________________________________________________
    
May 21, 2019

This is the fourth in a series of letters of gratitude as I prepare to leave OLG School.  The one word that stands out from all others as I ponder my 36 years here is gratitude.  

Today I wish to acknowledge all the faculty, staff, and administration of the school and parish that I have served alongside during these many years.  When I first arrived at OLG, I was one of very few lay teachers.  Most faculty were Sisters of Mercy.  I had two children in two of their schools in the diocese, St. Didacus and Good Shepherd, so I knew of the well-run schools, strong in Catholicity and academics.  I was honored to join their system at OLG.  I first served from 1983-1987 as a reading specialist, working with students in grades 1-8 (there was no kindergarten) who had some type of difficulty with reading. During this time we were graced with a new pastor after the sudden death of Msgr. Moloney, Msgr. Gallagher.  As much as my work load was exhausting, I did yearn for a class of my very own.  Sr. Bridget Anne called me one August day to inform me that the 8th grade teacher’s husband had been transferred to Texas and that she thought I should take that class – in a few weeks’ time.

Taking on the Religion and the Language Arts was easily done but finding out that no teacher’s 
edition of the Social Studies book existed was daunting!  It did turn out to be one of my most favorite subjects to teach -  but all this was before computers, TPT, Google, projectors, etc.

As the years passed, the number of lay teachers grew as the number of sister declined.  We stood on the shoulders of those religious who gave of themselves for the education of the children of OLG – the Sisters of Mercy.  Their models of teaching were ours.  The twelve classes of graduates I worked with were amazing, so eager to learn, challenged by all they didn’t even know they could do, young Catholic people on to high schools all over the area.

The second time I was approached to assume the principalship, I agreed to step up.  I loved my time teaching, but I also knew that the school needed someone to lead, following the illness of Sr. Bridget Anne.  She, again, convinced me that teaching wouldn’t be lost – that I would be the teacher of teachers.  That’s when I began to understand how amazing our teachers were.  Previously, I know the students were prepared to achieve in 7th grade and beyond.  I just didn’t realize how that preparation took place.  I remember moving from classroom to classroom, marveling at all the different strategies and projects and ALL the work that went into the students’ growth.  I also took great delight in realizing how well they were loved, nurtured, and cared for by all who worked with them in any capacity.  

Then it was my turn to strengthen the academics, to retain the focus on study skills and work ethic and then to bring strategies and resources and standards to a level that would maximize the aptitudes and talents of all our twenty-first century students.  I also worked intentionally to maintain the strong Catholicity prevalent throughout the parish and school, building on the model of community within the parish.  As our next pastor, Fr. Peter, took the helm, the teachers and administration were afforded more time to work for the students.  Systems were streamlined and
digitalized.  Teachers and administrative assistants no longer counted out field trip or lunch money each day.  More instructional time was added.  Procedures were put into place to keep our students and staff as safe and secure as possible. 

I often explain to parents that OLG is a wonderful place to teach.  I always assumed that I would move on, find new challenges, find better places to teach.  I never found anything better!  Here, in most classes, the teacher can actually teach the entire period, without distractions, discipline problems, etc.  The administration and faculty are free to find and then utilize resources that best serve the students in front of him/her, rather than what the school district mandates.  With the parish staff (Patti Kane and her staff), with Linda Peters and Kelli Balistreri, with supportive pastors, I was able to administer the education and leave the fundraising and the admissions process and the financial and facilities’ management to others, to the experts, to those who accomplished those tasks so well.  All those who oversaw the sports program provided wonderful opportunities for our children – and those in other schools within our diocese.  My greatest joy was always to be among the classes – to work with the students, with the teachers, with the staff members – learning and growing and loving each day.  I am so glad that I stayed.  Now I see students who I taught so long ago bring their children to us for the same quality education, the same faith-filled environment in which they thrived.  It is said that teachers never see the future, the success of their efforts.  I’m here to say that if you stay long enough, you do – and those are the greatest gifts possible!  Our alumni have gone on to do great things professionally, but more importantly, they are good people, convinced of the importance of faith and community, especially in today’s world where those two components are scarce.  

Our teachers through the years have varied in age and in experience, but they have always had one thing in common.  They only wanted the very best for their students, your children.  People may dispute their strategies, but they could never dispute the teachers’ love, care, and concern for their students.  Each one works hard to teach to the very best of his/her ability.  Our students and their families have been so blessed by the work of all these men and women over the years.

    “It is not joy that makes us grateful; it is gratitude that makes us joyful.”   David Steinall-Rast
      
For you, faculty and staff, throughout all the years, I am most grateful.           

__________________________________________________

May 14, 2019
 
This is the third in a series of letters of gratitude as I prepare to leave OLG School.  The one word that stands out from all others as I ponder my 36 years here is gratitude.  

Today I wish to acknowledge all those parishioners of Our Lady of Grace Parish throughout these years.  The ministries within the parish are many, so our families and students learn the varied ways of giving back, serving others, fulfilling our Baptismal promises.

As I am aware of different governances amongst schools and parishes, I know we are blest to have continued our strong bond between the school and parish here at OLG.  Although the school is financially independent of the parish, the ties are close.  So often the Prayer Quilt Ministry delivers prayer blankets for the relatives and friends of the students or their families, of faculty and staff.  The Knights of Columbus have supported the school as long as I can remember – cooking for the Halloween Carnival and the end of the year picnic and the annual Free Throw Contest, sponsoring essay contests, supporting our students’ events, etc.    The Catholic Women’s Club, the previous YLI, and so many groups have donated hundreds of dollars to the tuition assistance funds to help families who struggle with unexpected financial needs. Rather than having to withdraw their children from the school, they are able to have them remain in school, maintaining stability and community while the family emergency is dealt with.  The Youth Group and Sacramental Preparation programs have brought together our youth each week after they move on to different high schools.  Spokespeople within the parish have worked to enlighten our students about homelessness, pro-life advocacy, and religious vocations.

Our sacristans have instilled service to our church and reverence, our deacons and religious have demonstrated service to all people of God, stories of the charter members of the parish and their actions to establish and build a church and a school have become part of our students’ history. 

More than anything else, the parishioners have served as models of faith and service.  They are active Catholic Christians, singing in choirs, serving at the altar in a variety of ways, ushering, greeting, praying for us.  At all our Masses -  daily, Sunday liturgies, or our schoolwide celebrations - in all types of weather, in all liturgical seasons, in all the days of their sickness and health, our children benefit from their presence.  Our young begin to feel part of a larger community, of a cause bigger than them, of belonging.  The success of this modeling is seen each week as so many of our alumni have become lectors, greeters, ushers, altar servers, and/or choir members.

Our media points again and again to alienated young people searching to feel included – beyond their own families – to a greater cause.  Lacking this healthy connection, they fall prey to those who would use them for evil.  How blessed our children and faculty and staff have been to experience faith in action, the religious celebrations and traditions of an active parish, the invitation and welcome to a variety of ministries within church.

       It is not joy that makes us grateful; it is gratitude that makes us joyful.”   David Steinall-Rast
      
 For you, OLG parishioners- new and long-standing, I am most grateful.   

__________________________________________________

May 7, 2019
 
This is the second in a series of letters of gratitude as I prepare to leave OLG School.  The one word that stands out from all others as I ponder my 36 years here is gratitude.
 
As a principal in the Diocese of San Diego, one thing is required – the support of an involved pastor. With that I have been more than blessed.

In this diocese, the pastors of all parish elementary schools serve as their schools’ superintendents.  The diocesan offices and the Office for Schools provide guidance, but, ultimately, the pastor makes most decisions.  We, at OLG, have had the benefits of pastors that prioritize Catholic schools within the context of a parish community.

For most of my tenure as teacher and principal, I have been served by two men who found Catholic education to be one of the main evangelizing tools of the parish.  Msgr. Michael Gallagher and Father Peter McGuine have used their unique gifts to complement the leadership within the school.  We share our expertise to create a strong school characterized by Catholicity, academics, and community.  I chose teaching and I chose educational leadership to work with children.  One of my main goals was to lead them in getting to know their God and how much they are loved.  The models of these pastors helped immensely.  The students saw two men – and many other priests and deacons and sisters who assisted in the parish over the years – who dedicated their lives in faithful service to God, and to them and their families. 

Homilies challenged our choices, retreats re-oriented our priorities, sacraments were celebrated, Resurrection plays acquainted 8th graders with the stage, pizza lunches were shared, First Communion interviews were conducted, successes were acknowledged, counseling was readily offered, athletes were offered tips of the trade, facilities were made safer. 

For these leaders’ continuous support and encouragement, I give thanks.  I could always teach, lead, organize, plan, and envision because I knew the other aspects of a successful and vibrant school were well in hand.  This was a great gift and comfort, especially as I watched other principals struggle with making time for all the other tasks not related to education. 

Your children have been well served by the religious leadership within your parish school. For all this, I am most grateful.

      “It is not joy that makes us grateful; it is gratitude that makes us joyful.”   David Steinall-Rast

For you, OLG pastors and clergy and religious, I am most grateful.           

_______________________________________________

 April 30, 2019
 
This is the first in a series of letters of gratitude as I prepare to leave OLG School.  The one word that stands out from all others as I ponder my 36 years here is gratitude.  

Firstly, I wish to thank all those parent leaders who have served in any capacity - those who offered their time on the Advisory Council, on the PTG Board, and with the Development Core Team.  All who attended Strategic Planning Session days were pivotal in helping direct our growth.  All who have served as room parents through the years helped create a community second to none.  

Effective leadership requires two-way listening – the leaders listen to others and the community listens to the leaders.  I have always found that, with the opportunity and time to explain rationales and explain contexts, agreement was usually the case – and respectful disagreement was also possible.  There was always an understanding that, even if different strategies were proposed or utilized, the intent from both sides was always for the betterment of our children.

Many schools have dispensed with their parent leadership teams.  These groups often morphed from a clear advisory mandate to a desire to administer.  My predecessor, Sr. Bridget Anne, blessed me with wonderful leaders who understood their vital but supportive roles to enhance the community, the reputation, and the excellence of our school.  So have the parent leaders throughout my term as principal.  I am extremely proud of this distinction within the diocese, proving that teamwork between parents and school administration is not only possible but energizing and productive.    

Another accomplishment is how varied the leadership has become.  Volunteers from all lengths of time in the school have applied for service – those after their first year in the school, those with their first child, others volunteering after several children, representing all ages and grades and perspectives.  Much earlier, leaders were “promoted” from families in the older grades, so the gradual experience and new insights and feeling of community were sacrificed.  As we grew together, families realized that they were all welcome and needed to keep us relevant and serving all.  This aspect is truly a sign of a healthy school.  

I am very aware of how much is asked of our families.  These parent leaders have volunteered to go above and beyond their enrollment agreements.  They spend long days and late nights in meetings, assisting with school and parish events, representing our school in a variety of ways, planning for the future.  They share their areas of expertise to make us better.  Often, in the spirit of church, they work for the longer future of the school, a future that won’t be seen by their own children but by those families who come after them – just as they benefited by the work of parents accomplished generations before their children. 
   
     “It is not joy that makes us grateful; it is gratitude that makes us joyful.”   David Steinall-Rast

For you, parent leaders, I am most grateful. 
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