As you return to school for a new year full of hope and potential, I ask you to stop for just a moment to reflect on the words of W.E.B. DuBois as written in his Prayers for Dark People. The first passage below, in the words of DuBois, is my prayer for your students. The second passage below, again in the words of DuBois, is my prayer for schools and educators across the land. May God bless the new school year and may he bring you peace and success this year.
"Let us remember, O God, that our religion in life is expressed in our work, and therefore in this school it is shown in the way we conquer our studies—not entirely in our marks but in the honesty of our endeavour, the thoroughness of our accomplishment and the singleness and purity of our purpose. In school life there is but one unforgivable sin and that is to know how to study and to be able to study, and then to waste and throw away God’s time and opportunity. From this blasphemy deliver us all, O God. Amen”
"God bless all schools and forward the great work of education for which we stand. Arouse within us and within our land a deep realization of the seriousness of our problem of training children. On them rests the future work and thought and sentiment and goodness of the world. If here and elsewhere we train the lazy and shallow, the self-indulgent and the frivolous--if we destroy reason and religion and do not rebuild, help us, O God, to realize how heavy is our responsibility and how great the cost. The school of today is the world of tomorrow and today and tomorrow are Thine, O God. Amen"