A group of young students sitting at a table at River Oaks Baptist School

An Open Letter to the ROBS Class of 2021

Oh behalf of all the eighth grade faculty, an open letter from Mr. Wrobel to our graduates:

I have often felt unwarranted ownership of your class. Selfish of me? Absolutely. But because you are the first group to travel from fifth to eighth grade as my theater students, the space that you fill in my heart is the permanent kind that results from a shared journey.

Our middle school adventure together has been remarkably unusual. It began and will conclude with singular, unfathomable experiences. In 2017, Hurricane Harvey wreaked havoc on our region, postponing school for weeks and affecting all of us in unprecedented ways. My thought at the time was that Harvey would be the defining event of your middle school years. I could not have been more wrong.

As is often the case after the extraordinary happens, human history will now be measured in relation to the global COVID-19 pandemic. Humanity’s equilibrium has been rocked with a swiftness and power previously reserved for the start of world war. And you, 13 and 14 years old, at the culmination of your pre-high school education, have been asked to set aside your expectations…to re-invent normal…to adapt.

Collectively, you have modeled patience, friendship, and perseverance for our entire community. As the student-leaders of this school, you have embodied well the Fruit of the Holy Spirit that defines the Christian character.

In years to come, we will inevitably reflect upon the tumult that we have experienced: the loss of so many and so much, the pain and despair, the masks, the social distancing, the Zoom classes…not to mention the opening of a new middle school building during a pandemic. We will remember these things – and then we will consider the class of 2021, and the example that you set and the camaraderie that you showed one another. As a group, you have been a vital instrument (balloons, if we’re sticking with the theme of this book) through which the grace of Christ Jesus has lifted this community. His gifts have allowed you to soar.

As you move through life and go your separate ways, I pray that you are able to harness the sense of unity that you’ve achieved as a class, and to spread it in your every endeavor. You have been a gift to me and to this school.

May the Lord Jesus Christ bless you all, and guide and protect you through all of your days.

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