Finding Balance in the Midst of Tourney Fever

Dear Hill-Murray community,

Wow, what an experience Thursday night! I sat next to Sister Linda in the front row, on the glass, in the student section at the Xcel Energy Center. I watched our boys hockey team battle the top seed in the State Tournament and nearly pull off an amazing upset in overtime. What an inspirational experience to see our kids having fun, cheering on their classmates and simply enjoying being together. At the same time, I was getting text message updates from Kelly Harrington who was cheering on our girls basketball team, who defeated Totino-Grace to advance to next week’s State Tournament.  Congratulations to coach Erin Herman and our girls. I am so proud!

Athletics and activities are such an important part of the whole-person experience here at Hill-Murray. I hope you have a chance this weekend to see The Middle School Sketch Comedy Show on Saturday, March 11th at 7 pm.  I love seeing our students put themselves out there on stage, take risks and make magic happen. Robb Goetzke from our English Department, who has performed in theaters around the Twin Cities, directed the show along with student director Sam Lavine.

Our theater department has a long history of success, with stellar performances coupled with an excellent student experience. I am pleased to announce that Therese Walth has been named our new Artistic Director.  Therese has a proven track record with Hill-Murray Theater and is an active member of the local professional theater community. I’m confident and excited that our program will continue to excel. Therese will continue to be the Choir Director in addition to her role with the Theater Department. Creating the new title of Artistic Director reflects our commitment to continue building on our success, especially in collaborating with local and even nationally known artists. Providing our students an opportunity to work directly with some of the top talent in the Twin Cities and beyond is a transformational learning experience directly aligned with Go Boldly! We’ve also decided to hire a faculty member focused on our middle school performing arts program as we build more electives into our program during the school day.

There are so many opportunities for our students to be involved in clubs and activities.  Yesterday I was with a group of students as a moderator for our new Environmental Health Club. A student started this club recently, focusing on how the environment and time outdoors can positively impact mental health. The students had many ideas, and I am grateful to be surrounded by their energy, perspectives and authentic comments. When we look at the teenage brain, we know the research is clear in terms of how we build resilience and protective factors for our students’ long-term mental health. Physical activity outdoors is one of the most beneficial components next to sleep and nutrition.

With the amount of never-ending emails, social media, and screens bombarding us, we also know how important it is to take time away from day-to-day life and practice the discipline of quiet/silence. This Lent, I would encourage you to try and take a few moments of silence each day. Beginning and ending the day with prayer and silence helps to reorient my mind so I can give the highest priority to the things of God.

I have a special nook in my house (pictured above) where I keep my spiritual books and a warm blanket.  The Benedictine way includes a sense of balance, a sense that we are active and in the world and always seeking joy.  But in the midst of modern day life, tourney fever and March Madness being right around the corner, I know that my commitment to prayer, silence, and reflection are more important than ever.  ​​​​​​