Tuesday, September 30, 2008

wins and losses

For the most part of my most recent 'mature' life, I have been surrounded with the ideals of Jesuit Education. My high school, Fordham Prep modeled out education around 'men' We were supposed to graduate 'Fordham men', an embodiment of our high school's and the Jesuit principals. The headmaster at the school was a stern, serious older gentleman with a hard face and a tight set of lips. Service was a duty, to be a 'Man for others was a duty.
Here at Loyola, out education is constantly changing and moving forward. My teachers push me to do my best, I see the school president Fr. Linnane at the gym all the time, and our campus ministry center is bustling with work and brimming with opportunities to serve our school and community. Kolvenbach's article, for some reason was the first time I had seen the two ideals together. That the principles of Jesuit education are to educate the student, the man in mind, body and soul while becoming a 'man for others'. Those gifts and abilities one receives through education should be used for others. the education is ours but we need to act as well. I learned a bit about teaching the 'soul' this past week.
I spend a few hours a week at two places last year, Saint Ignatious of Loyola Academy in Baltimore City as a tutor and on campus here as a volunteer for teh Choice Program. My student in Homework Club at SILA and I got a long wonderfully I got to walk with him through the process of selecting and applying to high schools while trying to boost his grades and better his chances for admission. He got into one of his schools, his grades soared, and i felt like we won.
Choice is a bit different. It is made up of a central group of participants, sprinkled with a few moderate frequenters and some one timers as well. They are all juvenile delinquents, have all served time in detention facilities and this is a part of their terms of release. They need to meet certain criteria to enter the program but for the most part they all want to make progress. One of their counselors came up to me this week after not seeing him for a while and told me that none of the four or five kids I had gotten most close with would be returning, they had served their time and were done with their parole. Purnell, Tae, and Kevin all went back to school or moved away but he frowned when he mentioned Anthony, a slow talking fifteen year old with a big round stomach. He had gotten placed, meaning he broke the terms of his release and wound up in another detention center.
Odds are he will get out, and most likely go back in. The chances of him being in and out for the rest of his life are pretty high. I cant help but think thats a loss. They say if you can help just one person you've made a difference in someone's life, but it's hard to see someone stumble again and again.

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