“Radical change in World politics leaves America with a heightened responsibility to be, for the world, an example of genuinely free, domestic, just and humane society” -Pope John Paul II
I am not quite sure how world politics will affect my ability to teach English Literature at Notre Dame High School, but I am positive that I can be an example to my students. The students in Lawrence fight the temptations of peer pressure, gangs, and additional influences that pull them away from Christ. My Augustinian year has been blessed with many great occurrences and opportunities. My housemates are truly genuine individuals that see life as an opportunity and exemplify it to the fullest. The two factors that have impacted my life the greatest spiritually this year have been my first year of teaching and getting engaged to my fiance.
I believe education to be my vocation. Before I came to Lawrence, individuals would comment on what I was doing and saying that it was an amazing opportunity and that as long as I influence one student, I succeed. Personally, the mentality of being there for one student is beyond empathetic and comes from someone who does not comprehend being involved in education. I came into this year with the mindset of affecting all 73 of my students in a positive manner. Being on the cusp of complete independence, allows the AV’s to show children what opportunities and chances exist outside of their media and materialistic driven worlds. By showing my students or the individuals that other volunteers come into contact with on a daily basis, there is an opportunity to experience a happy, loving, and enthusiastic life when following Christ.
With regards to my fiance, Nancy has been more than motivating, supportive, and understanding about the requirements to live in a faith based community. She is also a Catholic and educator on the elementary level. I went into teaching with no educational experience, and she has had 4 years while earning her degree. We have been able to come closer in Christ and in each other as we were able to rely on each other for advice and support throughout the good times and difficult times of this year. I love her for many reasons, but it essentially comes down to the factor that I love her because this is what God calls me to do. The long distance has definitely been beneficial in practicing our communication skills. Being able to effectively communicate and be there for her, when I am not present in person, has been crucial in our development as a couple. She is able to hold me accountable with regards to my spiritual, teaching, community, and personal goals. She is the soul reason for making my volunteer year so worth while and rewarding.
With regards to the community, they have made all aspects of living easier and calming. They have adapted my idea and perspective on how prayer should be performed and considered. By educating and sharing with me their thoughts and expectations, I am able to understand more about specific issues and ideals that should be of my deepest concern as a Catholic and Christian.
Unfortunately, there is a pitfall. People out there believe there is an expiration date on service. Individuals may have the mentality of “I have done my direct service; I do not need to do anymore.” The volunteer year should not be the end nor the beginning of an individual’s life of service but the standard. The bar has been set and hopefully set to the highest.
Lawrence, MA 2007-2008