I have come to fall in love with teaching in Catholic schools. What are YOU in love with?...

"Nothing is more practical than finding God, that is, than falling in love in a quite absolute, final way. What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything. It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning, what you will do with your evenings, how you will spend your weekends, what you read, who you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude. Fall in love, stay in love, and it will decide everything." - Pedro Arrupe

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Many ThACEnks

Thanks to my sister (who made me aware of it), I just watched the Alliance for Catholic Education's Live Stream of Accepted Applicants Night. It's a night I did not have the pleasure to attend (as I was at school in the great state of Florida at the time), but it is a night I remember well. (Though, at that time, we did not have live video options - we got a DVD recording.)

It was good to see familiar faces on ACE staff, to hear the names of the communities being read off, and to be reminded of what ACE is all about. Even more so, it was a reminder of my own "yes" to serve in ACE six years (has it been that long?!) ago. (I was ACE 15...if that dates me...)

Saying yes to ACE was, in a way, my very own fiat - nowhere near comparable to Mary's yes to be Jesus' mother but one that changed my life, nonetheless. Without ACE, I don't know where I would be right now. What I do know is I'd be minus some of my closest friends as well as a couple hundred friends/classmates & colleagues. (I also likely would have never engaged in a public debate, helped create a music video, ran several marathons, or realized what everyone's fascination with Notre Dame was really all about. But those are all stories for another time...)

And so, tonight I am most grateful to those ACE teachers who led the way for me (and my sister) to become a part of the ACE family. Having not gone to Notre Dame for my undergrad (and before the program's popularity boomed), I wouldn't have even thought to apply if I had not ACE teachers in high school. They were the ones who served as role models, who coached our sports teams, and who stayed after school to help us catch up or work ahead. They made an impression on me...and I didn't even fully realize it until years later. (Now, having gone through ACE, I sit back and wonder what students in class my ACE teachers talked about around the dinner table or what classroom shenanigans stood out on any given day. I wonder what they did for fun and how they viewed their first years of teaching. I suppose I'll never know...)

This summer (yet again - thank you, ACE!), I will have the opportunity to be back on campus, assisting with some of the first and second year classes. It will be a chance to renew my own zeal for teaching and to keep reminding myself why I said yes in the first place. (And, hopefully, I'll help some newer teachers along the way...)

I'd like to close my post tonight with a prayer. I pray in a special way for all of those soon-to-be teachers who will accept the invitation (or challenge, if you will) to serve with ACE. May the experience bring them challenges, learning opportunities, friendships, insights, laughter, and wisdom. May their community dinners last a couple of hours around the dinner table, especially when grading or lesson planning needs to be saved for another time. May they make God known, loved, and served in their school communities. And may they always be aware of the greater ACE network of staff, graduates, family, and friends who are praying for them each and every day.

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