Dear Parents, Students, and Friends of Saint Mark’s,
Beware the quidnuncs!
Well, that’s certainly an unusual way to begin a letter – but it is important advice. For those of you who are not obsessed with recalling the vocabulary words you studied for the SAT exam years ago, a quidnunc is, quite simply, a gossip.
Gossip can be relatively harmless chatter or it can be a destructive force causing great – and often irreparable – harm.
I bring this up for one reason: since I moved to Delaware and became principal of Saint Mark’s, I have heard so many rumors about our beloved school. I’m sure some people are simply repeating things they have heard from others and are oblivious to the consequences of such chatter. Others, as is often the case with gossips, want to impress other people by leading them to believe they are somehow privy to confidential information and would like to share it. Others, still, are speculators.
Whatever the reason, the folks who repeat such gossip hurt Saint Mark’s, whether or not it’s intentional, by calling into question the long-term viability of our school – and that is unfair to the students, parents, and alumni who love this institution and look for it to continue to be a major force in Catholic schools in our area for many years to come. Our very-well attended Open House last Sunday shows me that there are plenty of families who know that Saint Mark’s is – and will remain – an integral part of education in the Diocese of Wilmington. More people need to know that.
I did not come to Saint Mark’s to close it. If I had any concern that this school was not going to be around, I would have stayed in New Jersey. Before signing my contract, I spoke at length with our superintendent, Dr. Louis DeAngelo, and with Bishop Malooly, about the future of Saint Mark’s. If I were not convinced that Saint Mark’s has a great future, there would be someone else sitting in my chair here and I would still be running the small Catholic high school down the street from where the Giants and the Jets play football.
It’s understandable that some may look at our current enrollment and compare it to the enrollment our school had in the past and may be alarmed. Delaware – and our area of Delaware in particular – has changed much in the past 10-15 years with the loss of several major employers, a weak economy overall, and the addition of other high schools that compete with Saint Mark’s. We simply adapt to that reality.
There are no plans to close Saint Mark’s High School. There are no plans to merge Saint Mark’s High School with another school. There are no plans to convert the building to a laboratory facility, in association with Dover AFB, to investigate extraterrestrial beings. (Actually, I made up that last one but, to be honest, it is no more ludicrous than some of the other rumors I’ve heard.)
We need to look at what Saint Mark’s is, not what it used to be. The essence of Saint Mark’s has not changed – it is still a great school that deeply respects its rich heritage yet looks toward the promise of the future continuing to serve as the flagship diocesan school. An enrollment of 700-800 students is appropriate to today’s world and permits us to offer a strong college-preparatory curriculum, extensive co-curricular activities, and the ever-important opportunities to grow in faith – in other words, all of the things that have made our school shine over the years. This is the “new normal” – built on the history, traditions and excellence of our school and moving into the future.
We are the Spartans. We are Saint Mark’s.
Wishing you God’s blessings,
Richard A. BayhanPrincipal