Welcome from the Headmaster

From the Headmaster

As our students arrived to campus this year for Opening Ceremonies, they were greeted by the soon-to-be-completed renovation (We hope!) of our Science Building. Yet, even before the first student ever crosses its threshold, the renovation has already been a tremendous boon for Cistercian through the lengthy and considered process of self-examination and cross-curricular discussion by the faculty, the administration, and various members of our alumni community. Through this process, we were able to clarify and refine our vision for creating innovative spaces and labs to most effectively advance our students’ understanding of and deepen their appreciation for all the marvels and mysteries of our universe as we prepare them for the very best STEM programs in the country.

The team that planned the renovation included our new science department chair, Dr. Martina Kroll; veteran science teacher and Director of Facilities, Mr. Tim Parker ’90; alum architect Gary Cunningham ’72; alum contractor Warren Andres ’77; and alum landscape architect David Hocker ’96, among others. Guided by this group, we ultimately decided to go beyond our initial goal of merely expanding, reconfiguring, and modernizing our existing labs. We have also introduced individual research labs for our upper-classmen to work alongside local college professors and have expanded the building’s footprint to include both a new flex lab as the Form I (Grade 5) Earth Science classroom and a versatile new flex space for our enthusiastic robotics team and senior seminar projects. Further, striving to model and promote responsible stewardship of the environment in the spirit of Pope Francis’ encyclical “Laudato Si,” we will also be incorporating solar panels and a rain water collection system. It will be very rewarding and, honestly, great fun watching both our students and our science faculty make the most of this new facility.

Yet, as important as facilities are to the learning process, even more vital is the daily interactions between teachers and students that take place within these buildings. Cistercian was happy to welcome back an outstanding cadre of dedicated faculty members again this year as well as to welcome a few new ones.

Our theme for the 2017-18 school year is taken from the example and command of Our Lord at the Last Supper when at a certain point during the meal, He rose, tied a towel around his waist, and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to dry them with the towel. Explaining as He did so, “Do you realize what I have done for you? You call me ‘teacher’ and ‘master,’ and rightly so, for indeed I am. If, therefore, I, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, you must wash the feet of one another.”

Of course, there is a whole lot here for us to think about and to “unpack,” if you will, over the course of the coming year. During our annual retreat before the opening of school, the faculty, coaches, and staff reflected together on how we might strive even better to serve our students after the example of Our Lord. It is my hope that this year’s theme may also help inspire even greater “servant leadership” in our students as they grow and mature intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually, and increasingly look for opportunities to serve and to mentor one another as well as those in the larger community.

In this and in other ways, Cistercian seeks to remain true to our founding mission of preparing talented boys for the colleges of their choice by challenging their minds with an excellent academic program, molding their characters through the values of Catholic education, and offering them guidance with both understanding and discipline.

I hope you will be able to visit our campus soon to see firsthand all the ways Cistercian continues to “Enkindle and Enlighten” the promising young men entrusted to our care.

About the Headmaster

Fr. Paul McCormick, O. Cist. grew up in Beaumont, Texas, entered the Cistercian Abbey Our Lady of Dallas in 1992, and was ordained a priest in 1997. He holds an S.T.L. from Gregorian University, Rome, as well as B.A., M.B.A., and M.A. degrees from The University of Dallas.

Fr. Paul is beginning his 20th year in Cistercian Preparatory School, having served in a wide variety of roles as a teacher of theology and Latin, Form Master for the classes of 2005 and of 2013, sponsor of Student Council and of the Community Service Council, Head of Middle School, Admissions Director, and Assistant Headmaster.

In addition to his work in the School, Fr. Paul is also Prior of the Monastery, regularly hears confessions at the Holy Trinity Seminary, and provides pastoral assistance in various local parishes, as requested.