Last week, our school community gathered for a final day of ceremony called “Prize Day.” This is a special day on the last day of school to formally close the school year. At the end of the ceremonials, I share a few comments. Several people asked that I share my comments…
Thank you to members of our Board of Trustees, our parents and family members in attendance, to our Seniors, and to all of you, for a beautiful Prize Day!
I’ve been thinking about Prize Day for a few weeks in anticipation of this day, so I decided to conduct my own little qualitative research study to gather some information about the subject of prizes. I asked a small sample of people the following question, “What does a prize mean to you?”
Well, the answers to that questions were both interesting and revealing. Most of the people I surveyed said that, “Well, a prize is something that is unexpected. It was an honor for a job well done, and a recognition of one’s efforts.” Most of the people said that receiving a prize really meant a lot to them, and that they felt proud, as though they had accomplished something very challenging, and succeeded.
These responses didn’t surprise me, as I am sure they do not surprise any of us. After all, the outstanding achievements of the girls we recognized today must impart to them a wonderful feeling.
To all of you that received an award today, all of us here say to you, “We are so proud of you for what you have accomplished, and for all of the hard work that you must have put into achieving this recognition today! You truly inspire us, and encourage us to reach for our goals!
But, let me return to the more surprising results of my survey. Several people surveyed in my study answered my question about prizes by saying that were not sure about what a prize meant to them because, they admitted, they had never received one!
One person said that she feels “getting a prize is, even, a bit, overrated, because it is not what others think about you, but, for her, it is about how you evaluate your own self that really matters, not how others evaluate you.”
Another person said she didn’t like getting awards because, to her, it seems that the prize comes from inside, not outside. And, another person said, how, for them, the real prize—the real reward was in the striving to get one.
I suspect that a lot of us will get prizes in our lives, and many of us will not receive any prizes—just like the people in this small study.
For myself, I see prizes as St. Paul does when he says, “…I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me…” (Philippians 3:14). In other words, I feel that God is calling me to His honor and his glory, closer to Him each day, and to a life aligned with the thing He has called me to do.
This is why we say “Honor and Glory to God Alone” at the beginning of this award ceremony. Our success gives glory to God—it honors His purpose. It is not for our own.
Our race towards the goal never ends in life, so we press on to what God is calling us towards. That’s what life is all about—running towards what God is calling you to be.
So, students of the Sacred Heart, continue to press on toward your goals and celebrate the gifts God has given each of you! Whether you won a prize today or not, be happy, be proud in what you have done this year.
Have a wonderful, fun, and restful summer!