OPINION: Gratitude for 10 years of 'the peak of education in Oklahoma'
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Published: 05-Feb-2016

OKLAHOMA CITY – I have been in Catholic Schools all of my life, and for the past ten years, I feel that I have been granted the peak of education in Oklahoma.

Bishop John Carroll is a school like no other. It is a place of fun, excitement, kind and interesting teachers, and a learning experience that I can say is like no other.

At this school three things -- community, action, and friendship – bring us together. These three things make this school special and unlike any other.

Community is something special about our school, and one thing I value. Some see community as living together, working together to reach a common goal, or to work with someone to accomplish their dreams. But I see community as a bond between the people around you, to make a force that is stronger than one.

Community is something powerful that is hard to master but can be used to make amazing things, like a painting, a gift, a project, or something more. 

Community takes two things, Communication, and Unity. Communication is important because how can a team cooperate without communication? 

No community will work without Communication.

Second is Unity. To work together as a community, you must be united as one with the same feelings, thoughts, and dreams.

Action, it may sound tough or threatening, but what is a team without action? The saying action speaks louder than words, has a good message. 

Though words have meaning, and fill people with determination, what good is determination without the action? The action is important, whether that means going out and helping those not as lucky as us, or doing a project, or even just doing a math problem, action is the key to succeeding, and I must say, in John Carroll, helping others truly is an action worth coming for.

Friendship. Friendship is nothing that can be described in words. From the moment you arrive in Pre-K, to Graduation, friends have been alongside you, growing with you. Some friends are with you until the end, some friends are found. Friendship is a longing that keeps us happy and joyful. 

Whether it is a friendship with kids, adults, or others, a friendship cannot be forgotten.

Some friends are beside us, some are far away, some are gone, but they never go away. Nothing hurts more than losing a friend, but when we grow, it has to happen. To make a friend is to later lose a friend. But that’s not what friendship is about.

Friendship is about looking out for each other, bonding with each other, playing with each other, being there for each other, and so many more things that cannot be put into words.

I’m about to graduate, and I know I’m going to lose a lot of friends that I care about. Some that have been there all my life, but I also know I’m going to make some new ones. That is the great thing about friends -- they come, they go -- but there are always some there for you. That’s what matters most.

In the end, my time at this amazing school is almost up, and I will be someplace different. I was always afraid of that. But now I see it’s not the ending of my time, but a new beginning. Not just this school, but also all Catholic schools are places of new beginnings, communities, and friendships.

That is what I like most about Catholic schools. So from everything I have I pray that you all have a safe new beginning, a strong community, aren’t afraid to take action, and great friends.

I wish you all a happy Catholic Schools week.

NOTE: Gray delivered this speech as part of local observance of Catholic Schools Week in the first week of February. He is an eighth-grade student at Bishop John Carroll, the parish school based at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, on North Western Avenue in the heart of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The school was founded in 1919.

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