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A first semester to remember

Connor McGovern '19, Staff Writer

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The first semester of the 2017-2018 school year brought events, both challenging and interesting, to the St. Thomas community as a whole. From the devastation of Hurricane Harvey, to the cancellation of finals, the first half of the year has taken St. Thomas down an unusual path.

Through the many twists and turns of the past five months, St. Thomas is fortunate to have principal Aaron Dominguez in the driver’s seat, keeping the ship steady and leading STH down the lane to success.

In was announced in January of 2017 by St. Thomas president, Fr. Kevin Storey, after six months of searching, that Aaron Dominguez, class of 1996, would become the 27th principal in the school’s 117-year history. He would become the first layman principal in STH history, and thus far, his work is admirable.

“This first semester here at St. Thomas has been an amazing experience. I felt like I’ve died and went to heaven. It has been the best job I’ve ever had,” said Dominguez.

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“This first semester here at St. Thomas has been an amazing experience. I felt like I’ve died and went to heaven. It has been the best job I’ve ever had.””

— Principal, Aaron Dominguez

It would be an understatement to say that Principal Dominguez’s first semester back at St. Thomas was a challenge. With just a few weeks into the school year, the greater Houston area was heavily affected by the havoc of Hurricane Harvey. With school closed for eight straight days, the administration went hard at work to construct a plan of recovery and transition in response to such a horrible catastrophe. Once classes resumed, Principal Dominguez quickly went back to work with one main goal in mind, to be the premier academic institution in the country.
When asked about his greatest challenge thus far, there was no hesitation in referring back to this goal.

“We are beginning our strategic planning process. Starting and navigating the strategic planning process for an organization that’s this multifaceted and has this many stakeholders is challenging to think through. We are making sure that we have goals that are both audacious and reasonable, making sure that all our faculty and staff are on board. Hopefully, I can communicate those goals well and collectively create sub-goals and strategies over the course of this year that align to our mission and vision and that ultimately drive student outcomes to be the best in the country.”

In addition to those lofty goals, Principal Dominguez also spoke on his more immediate intent for the remainder of the school year.

“We have an obligation to continually get better and continue to push ourselves. When I look myself in the mirror, I need to be a better leader. I want to be in classrooms more. It is time to start giving teachers more constructive feedback… I have an obligation to push them and ensure that they are getting better each and every day. That’s what I love about the principalship because the main job of the principal is growing and developing the talent that is around you. This is what I look forward to completing in the spring.”

In regards to the plan of development for the future of St. Thomas, Principal Dominguez explains that delivering on the promises that St. Thomas makes to students and families, which includes providing a prime academic experience, is the first phase.

“We want our students to have the ability to attend the college of their choice, be successful, go on to have a great job, and grew up to be a strong man of faith.”

We want our students to have the ability to attend the college of their choice, be successful, go on to have a great job, and grew up to be a strong man of faith.”

— Principal, Aaron Dominguez

In addition to that, it is no secret that St. Thomas has obtained the property next door, the High School of Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice.

“As the HISD lease ends in the next couple of years, they will move out and we will be expanding.”

The first step of the expansion of St. Thomas, in the terms of facilities and renovations, will be taking the phrase “spring cleaning” to the literal.

“This spring, we are going to be bringing in all new science facilities. Our visions is to completely gut our current science labs and replace them with state of the art equipment.”

Principal Dominguez’s drive and moxy has not gone unnoticed by the student body. Many students believe that he has had a great start and are excited to witness what he has in store.

Sophomore Thomas Sage believes Mr. Dominguez can “relate well to the students, especially from his past experience here as a student himself.” Thomas continues “I think he is very energetic and charismatic in his ways and I believe that he will be very beneficial regarding the school’s future.”

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