Editorial – In honor of our teachers

Marnie McAllister
Marnie McAllister

If there was any doubt that Catholic high schools in the Archdiocese of Louisville are producing high achieving and generous students, a listing of their accomplishments that appeared in the July 7 edition of The Record should put it to rest.

Graduates of the nine Catholic high schools in the Archdiocese of Louisville this year received more than $128 million in scholarships.

The class of 2016 had 22 National Merit Scholarship finalists and nine students received National Merit college-sponsored scholarships.
Fifty-three students participated in the 2015 Governor’s Scholars program and 14 took part in the 2015 Governor’s School for the Arts program.

The nearly 1,500 students in this class also gave more than 62,700 hours of service to the community.
All told, those numbers represent years of hard work spent in study and faith formation.

These statistics also represent the guidance and efforts of dozens of high-quality teachers and administrators, whose efforts behind-the-scenes are also worthy of note.

We don’t have a list of statistics or honors for Catholic educators around the archdiocese. But a couple of this year’s graduates offered something better than an award. They honored their teachers and school staff in essays they wrote for The Record’s May 26 graduation section.

Christian Cambron wrote about how the teachers at St. Xavier High School helped him as he entered high school mourning his mother’s recent death.

“I am amazed to think that they have imparted to me only some of their seemingly infinite knowledge of language, philosophy and mathematics,” he wrote of his teachers. “They continue to guide me toward unique perspectives, uncover interests which I never knew I had and instill in me lessons that will forever transcend the classroom experience.”

He concluded his essay, writing, “This school has given me the most challenging, charging and downright difficult trials, emotionally and intellectually, of my existence. There are no words for the humble pride and thankfulness with which I will graduate and salute a new chapter in my life.”

Michael Pepa, another St. Xavier student, noted in his essay that “teachers at Catholic schools are there because they want to be, and it shows.”

It’s significant that a teenager recognizes such integrity in his teachers. He also wrote in his essay, that his teachers set an example “for how to learn, live and love in this life.”

“Not only do they teach subject matter, they also teach the things that matter,” he wrote. “They share stories that guide and compose themselves in ways that inspire. Some of the most meaningful conversations I’ve had with teachers over the years have occurred outside the classroom setting. They weren’t conversations about derivatives, participles or atoms, but rather conversations about livelihood, spirituality or experiences.”

By Cambron’s and Pepa’s accounts, our teachers are doing just what Pope Francis urged them to do in a speech he gave in 2015.

The pope, a former teacher, said educators “must aim to build an educational relationship with each student, who must feel welcomed and loved for what he or she is, with all of their limitations and potential. In this direction, your task is now more necessary than ever.”
“You must not teach just content, but the values and customs of life,” he said. “A computer can teach content. Instead there are three things that you must transmit: how to love, how to understand which values and customs create harmony in society. For that we need good teachers.”

By this time next month, the school year will have already begun for some schools and will be on the cusp of starting for most others. As they prepare for the new year, keep our schools’ teachers in your prayers. And let’s do the same for the children, too.


Marnie McAllister
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Marnie McAllister
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