With the recent transition caused by Dr. O’Connell’s departure, I found myself extremely concerned about my students. How will they respond? Will they be comfortable with my leadership? Is this the best thing for my students? I was confident in the resiliency my boys have demonstrated personally and academically, but I was very nervous that this transition would be a negative disruption to their already busy lives.
Once the announcement was made Donaven, the 6’3” senior who is the Center on the Verbum Dei Varsity Basketball team came up to me and said, “Congratulations, Dr. Odom. How do you feel?” I responded, “A bit nervous!” Without skipping a beat Donavan smiled and said, “Don’t worry… you’re good! You got this!”
I walked away but couldn’t help but hear his voice saying, “You Got This!” What an amazingly simple, yet poignant expression that, to me, represented the lessons the Verb has taught him these past four years. Lessons about having faith in the small things, being a man for others and exercising resiliency were undoubtedly taught both inside and outside the classroom. Donaven’s response to me demonstrated his understanding of life’s twists and turns. He showed that he understands the importance of faith when facing a new endeavor- faith that God’s love will sustain you, faith that you have exactly what you need to face this challenge. But Donoven also showed the importance of standing with your brother or sister in their time of need. What more could I want a senior to know as they leave the Eagle nest?
But this is what makes the Verb so different. Not only do the faculty and staff at Verbum Dei seek to edify and strengthen the students’ spirits but we also help students understand the importance of edifying and strengthening the spirits of their brother or sister. Donaven’s response to me was important, not just because it contained the exact words I needed to hear as I began the role as Interim Principal but it reminded me what an amazing job the Verbum Dei parents and teachers are doing in the formation of our young men.
As I work with the Faculty and Staff of Verbum Dei to lay the foundation for an exciting future, I can’t help but say to all our supporters…..Don’t worry, WE GOT THIS!