To See Everything Now With New Eyes

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As I become acclimated with my work as director of school support, one task at which I am about is reading the blog entries from last year’s AS We C It Blog.  I am humbled and excited by the experiences shared among peers in our community, but especially by the wisdom shared through our ASC23’s simple reflections of their selfless work:  women and men with and for others!   What follows are exquisitely-written nuggets of wisdom from last year’s ASC23.  They are a gift to me, helping me to see everything now with new eyes, or at least through the eyes of those who were new to the great work of education.

As we welcome ASC24 into our network of schools, I hope you will take the opportunity to read through the below highlights of last year’s ASC23 reflection and begin to see everything now with new eyes.  The wisdom inspires me, as I hope it will inspire you.  Here’s to a great new school year!

. . . we have all thrown our hats over the wall this year, and where those hats will carry us, only time will tell . . . .  My hope for this year is to throw my hat as much as possible.  One thing I am sure of:  it will get me into all kinds of wonderful trouble. David Spitz, Rockhurst High School (Kansas City, MO)

. . . if I were to describe my first day of teaching in one word, it would be humbling . . .  I will not be the most experienced teacher in the school, but I plan on being one of the most passionate.  Kristin Sanfilippo, Regis Jesuit High School, Girls Division (Denver, CO)

. . . students . . . have left me in the lurch of confusion as to their various responses to my early attempts at directing them in their first days . . . .   The best part is you never know who will be the next to surprise youLouis McLaughlin, De Smet Jesuit (St. Louis, MO)

I live in a beautiful place, full of wonderfully eclectic and fun-loving people. My blessings are many, and I continue to thank God for them every day.  Annie Hayes, Arrupe Jesuit High School (Denver, CO)

ASC is an experience, and one that redefines itself every day. Phil Azar, Loyola Academy (St. Louis, MO)

. . . like Bierstadt I feel like I am being pushed to something higher, and I am constantly looking around at the beauty of the experience I am having.  Kevin Roy, Regis Jesuit High School, Boys Division (Denver, CO)

God,
Let the joy that you’ve placed inside of me flow out into everything I do.
Let it lead me to love you, my coworkers, but above all else my guys.
  Alex Hall, Rockhurst High School (Kansas City, MO)

. . . think back to when you were your students’ age and imagine the style of teaching that would have been effective and interesting to youJames Unverferth, De Smet Jesuit High School (St. Louis, MO)

Mass at a different Church every week has been a gift that has aided me in keeping my relationship with God from becoming stagnant.  It is a reminder to live out the Jesuit value of “finding God in all things.”  Shane Monaghan, Loyola Academy (St. Louis, MO)

. . . experience is not about calculating the time but about basking in the joyLisa Bachmann, Arrupe Jesuit High School (Denver, CO)

I am in my classroom every morning as prepared as possible for class and ready to greet my girls at the door.  Allison Body, Regis Jesuit High School, Girls Division (Denver, CO)

He lives in North St. Louis. The things he doesn’t notice aren’t the things you don’t notice: offensive graffiti, broken glass on the sidewalk, empty buildings that junkies always walk through. He sees them every day so he pays them little mind.  Steve Murphy, Loyola Academy (St. Louis, MO)

My privilege is being bluntly laid before me even 5 years after graduation by the faces of hardworking students whose smiles don’t always show the struggles they’ve overcome.   Nicky Schifano, Arrupe Jesuit High School (Denver, CO)

I am spending my year learning and serving othersKristin Sanfilippo, Regis Jesuit High School, Girls Division (Denver, CO)

. . .  sometimes they dig it, sometimes they don’t, but in either case they aren’t shy about sharing their opinions. And that’s great, right? Teachers need to be humbled, too, every once in a while. How else do you get better?  David Spitz, Rockhurst High School (Kansas City, MO)

. . . being the most interesting thing for 42 minutes straight is impossible.  Not even the coolest kid in class could hold the attention of the other 24 for that span of time.  However, a number of students could.  Louis McLaughlin, De Smet Jesuit High School (St. Louis, MO)

On Monday, after our prayer, I started the new quarter . . .  with a guided reflection, asking them to assess how they are generally doing in the class, what habits they need to establish to improve, but also, dangerously, what I could do better to help them improve.  Scott Hessel, St. Louis University High School (St. Louis, MO)

Part of my ASC year is to stop merely looking at my students and really begin seeing themPhil Azar, Loyola Academy (St. Louis, MO)

Funny, though, the things that happen when you give yourself over to others.  Annie Hayes, Arrupe Jesuit High School (Denver, CO)

Where do I want to go from here? I have absolutely, positively no idea. However, finding the source of my joy is a way of finding where God wants me to be and what he wants me to do.  Lisa Bachmann, Arrupe Jesuit High School (Denver, CO)

This calm about not having everything figured out has come from knowing that the times I have connected the most with my students have come from moments of vulnerability.  Shane Monaghan, St. Louis University High School (St. Louis, MO)

. . . we will demonstrate our age by how we comport ourselvesAllison Body, Regis Jesuit High School, Girls Division (Denver, CO)

I love the fact that they love it here, and the passion they have for the work they do is contagious.   Brendan Chisholm, De Smet Jesuit High School (St. Louis, MO)

. . . when I think about all the little things that I can be thankful for every day I find that I’m overwhelmed with moments and memoriesNicky Schifano, Arrupe Jesuit High School (Denver, CO)

I have learned to be where my feet are and leave what happened in the last class outside.  Sarah Ciabotti, Loyola Academy (St. Louis, MO)

. . .  faith involves an awareness of the unintentional, because that’s where God worksStephen Murphy, Loyola Academy (St. Louis, MO)

Spending a year based in intention and growth has helped me to feel more alive than I have in years past.  Kristin Sanfilippo, Regis Jesuit High School, Girls Division (Denver, CO)

. . . a way to fight toil is to find meaningful work, or (and I think this is more often the case), to find a way to make the work we have meaningful . . . .  when feeling homeless, I think it is often best to make a home of where we are. The ground might have been cursed when our first parents sinned, but this year, we have an opportunity to bless it.  David Spitz, Rockhurst High School (Kansas City, MO)

. . . I began by asking them to take a few minutes to define what a miracle is . . . .  One of the [modified] answers that I got was: “an event that overcomes our expectations of life.” Nailed it.  Scott Hessel, St. Louis University High School (St. Louis, MO)

“One More” is a passing strategy that insists on players to always be looking for one more pass – to be aware of your teammates’ presence and moving the ball one more, until ultimately finding the right player, at the right place, and at the right time.  Sarah Ciabotti, Loyola Academy (St. Louis, MO)

As I shared a few stories from my high school days, we laughed over the ironies that life can hand us. I never believed that spending 40 minutes with one student could ever pass so quickly or enjoyably.   Annie Hayes, Arrupe Jesuit High School (Denver, CO)

I want to fall out of a routine and shake things up.  I will do these things because I want to, because this is why I signed up for ASC . . . Kevin Roy, Regis Jesuit High School, Boys Division (Denver, CO)

Don’t pass up the chance to enjoy the company of your traveling companions.  Alex Hall, Rockhurst High School (Kansas City, MO)

I like to think that my teachers at Regis Jesuit gave me gifts that I didn’t open until after I graduated high school.  Shane Monaghan, St. Louis University High School (St. Louis, MO)

As I listened during the retreat . . . .  These young men and women whom I believed I knew pretty well surprised me with their passion, intensity, and most importantly, their stories.  Lisa Bachmann Arrupe Jesuit High School (Denver, CO)

The way I see it, when the seniors graduate . . . .  I will have a sense of commencement right along with themBrendan Chisholm, De Smet Jesuit High School (St. Louis, MO)

. . . having to remember the backgrounds and situations of each studentSarah Ciabotti, Loyola Academy (St. Louis, MO)

. . . my gratitude has become more real . . .  Nicky Schifano, Arrupe Jesuit High School (Denver, CO)

Our students are all disadvantaged. They are impoverished . . . or they have limited freedom and ability due to their youth . . . .  When I give an amount that seems disproportionate for their sake, I am not a doormat. Rather my service demonstrates justice . . . Steve Murphy, Loyola Academy (St. Louis, MO)

I wonder, too, when this year is past, what we will have left behind with our students? If not physical curios, then perhaps intellectual ones? Or emotional? Or spiritual? And what will these students have left behind with us?  David Spitz, Rockhurst High School (Kansas City, MO)

If art in any way intentionally or unintentionally imitates our lives, then I suppose the mirroring of life’s impermanence might never be done better than through the design of the written word and our act of simply reading. Louis McLaughlin, De Smet Jesuit High School (St. Louis, MO)

. . . Kairos retreat is their first experience away from home for a substantial amount of time . . . .  They miss their parents, they long for the comfort of their own beds . . .” Annie Hayes, Arrupe Jesuit High School (Denver, CO)

The people I work with arrive at school at 7:00 and stay there until 6:00 planning the best possible lesson. They go out of their way to find ways to help a struggling student. Lisa Bachmann, Arrupe Jesuit High School (Denver, CO)

Hopefully either through some of the material we teach, the Jesuit mission we model, or simply our presence in their lives, they get the message “you are not alone…you are called to look at the world and act…your story is meaningful.”  Allison Body, Regis Jesuit High School, Girls Division (Denver, CO)

As I’m ending my year of service . . . I’m finding that I am eager to reflect on my Jesuit experience as a whole but also to look for these small moments. They are the expressions of God’s love. They are moving. They are in abundance.  Nicky Schifano, Arrupe Jesuit High School (Denver, CO)

. . . we were men and women with and for others. Nicky Schifano, Arrupe Jesuit High School (Denver, CO)

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