President's Blog, Behind the Shield: BSM's Secret Ingredient
Community. Community. Community. I hear that word every day of the week from people young and old as they refer to Benilde-St. Margaret’s. I certainly hear that word at school but also at games, events, grocery stores, banks, concerts, golf courses, and most recently, in the street while talking with a new neighbor. People with connections to St. Margaret’s Academy, Benilde High School, and Benilde-St. Margaret’s seem to be everywhere, and they regularly use the word community in the first few phrases in reference to our school. Through the multitude of conversations, it is clear that our community is one of our “secret ingredients,” hard to define using words but easily felt through stories.
In August, we welcomed more than 250 new students to BSM, a vast majority of them new families. All told, our student population represents 84 zip codes, 57 cities, and 163 schools. The geographic reach stretches from Woodbury to Delano, and Savage to Albertville. The data is quite surprising actually. Continuing to build a Benilde-St. Margaret’s community is quite a challenge given that reality.
So why is community so important here? It seems like an obvious question and perhaps even somewhat simple; however, the answer seems to be a bit more complicated. Communities are built around the needs of individuals, which all of us see and participate in daily. Community becomes incredibly important in building a sense of human belonging; after all, we are social beings.
At Benilde-St. Margaret’s, I have the chance to see this community help individuals understand different perspectives in the world regularly, a hallmark of a college preparatory school. Opportunities are afforded to Red Knights all over the globe, personally and professionally, based on their participation in our community. In addition, the BSM community has time and again provided support for our families in their most challenging circumstances. It is in those instances that we see God’s presence highlighted all around us. It is those instances that define the “secret ingredient” of our school.