Submitted Ramona Stillar, Projects Coordinator, Light of Christ Catholic Schools
It’s a bittersweet time of year in Light of Christ Catholic Schools. Summer and a well-deserved break for students and staff is quickly approaching but it also means saying goodbye to departing students who are relocating or graduating, and to staff members. This year, among the departing staff, is Carlo Hansen the Principal at John Paul II Collegiate High School. Mr. Hansen is retiring this year after 11 years at the helm of JPII.
Hansen, who specialized in math, economics, and history in university, started his career at Elrose Composite School as an industrial arts and technology teacher. Since that time, he has also worked as a technology consultant and school administrator. Throughout, he has coached football, cross-country running, basketball, volleyball, badminton, and track and field. One of his most memorable career highlights was moving with his wife, Donna, and four children to Penang, Malaysia, for four years to teach. This time was post 9/11, so although there was some uncertainty, it was a great life and cultural learning experience.
When asked what he is most proud of, it is not as easy as pointing to the Crusaders football program, the band program, the Braided Journeys program, the Following Their Voices project, the greenhouse, the McDowell Foundation Research project award, or any of the other visible program changes that weren’t available to students before his tenure. What he is most proud of is something that most people have difficulty describing because it is more of a feeling that one gets when walking through the doors of the school. It’s a feeling inclusive of happiness, family, community, trust, belief and hope for the future. It’s a feeling that is echoed by students, their parents, guests, and staff. It’s about relationships but so much more. For Mr. Hansen, it’s the lyrics from the theme song of television series “Cheers” that best summarizes his beliefs about education and the culture that has been created at JPII:
Making your way in the world today
Takes everything you got
Taking a break from all your worries
It sure would help a lot
Wouldn't you like to get away?
Sometimes you want to go
Where everybody knows your name
And they're always glad you came
You want to be where you can see
The troubles are all the same
You want to be where everybody knows your name
You want to go where people know
The people are all the same
You want to go where everybody knows your name
– Cheers Theme Song. Songwriters: Gary Portnoy / Judy Hart Cheers lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC
The staff at JPII indicate that it is because of Hansen’s leadership that they will be OK moving into the future due to the legacy he leaves behind. They say he has prepared and empowered the staff to look out for each other and the students; the foundation he has built will remain unshakable.
Carlo and Donna, who is also retiring after many years of working and coaching at JPII, are planning to travel through Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia in the near future. In the long-term, they are looking forward to making many more family memories with their children and grandchildren.