This piece was published in the September 2015 issue of the Prep News and was co-written by Jack Agnello and Ross Elder
As we examined the important virtue of Open to Growth last edition, we are continuing our series on the values of the Grad at Grad with the religious aspect of the ideal graduate. Being religious is central to being the type of graduate we aim to be as we go through our high school years, and this certain aspect allows us to connect more deeply to both ourselves and others as we journey further in life.
According to documents by the Jesuit Secondary Education Association, by graduation a Jesuit student should have a basic knowledge of the major doctrines and practices of the Catholic Church. The level of theological understanding of the Jesuit high school graduate will particularly be limited by the student’s level of human and religious development.
“Now of course, God is the center of the universe, and everything that we do is centered around Him,” Mrs. Davis said, “The same thing applies here at Rockhurst, God has given us the gift of a brain. It is our mission to teach students like St. Ignatius taught, and that means saving souls through education.”
By educating students in the subjects of math, science, history, and the arts along with a foundation in theological understanding, students are expected to grow intellectually with the context of religion. When students learn about creation and the world around them with respect to religion, they grow into a deeper relationship with God.
“Role models like the Jesuits allowed me to look up to a highly intelligent class of people who looked like they understood the meaning of life,” Mr. Matthew Hicks, English III teacher, said. “I wanted to gain a higher understanding of life like them.”
Along with the idea of educating students in light of religion, Rockhurst offers many retreats in which students can participate and grow in religion without the use of academics. Retreats allow for students to experience religion and what they feel is religious, which creates personal religious growth and bonding with their classmates.
“Each year, Rockhurst retreats show me that God is still in my presence,” junior T.J. Helton said. “I also learn more about myself, and it gives me a chance to reevaluate myself.”
The adolescent years of a teenager’s life can be full of questions and doubt. Surrounding ourselves with God often answers some of these questions naturally.
According to Mrs. Davis, the Theology Department at Rockhurst has been strategically set up to assist the growth of a student’s brain throughout high school.
“When you’re 15, you don’t want to have the same faith and beliefs as when you were 6,” Mrs. Davis said. “In math, you wouldn’t want your skills to stay at the level of 6-year-old. Religion is something that you should continue to grow and improve upon every day.”
According to Mr. Hicks, a student should not be converted in his class. Instead, he should have his mind open to all aspects of faith.
By the time a student graduates Rockhurst, he should have a deep understanding of his own religious practices and the Catholic Church as a whole. This deeper understanding of his religion comes from a broad spectrum of sources.
An ideal student would understand who Jesus Christ was and is through scripture and prayer. He has also experienced a sizeable amount of religions, and begin to decide his own path of faith. He should have developed a stronger conscience, and uses it to consult family, friends, or the Church in times of despair.
Thus, as being religious is a central part of being the ideal graduate, religion is emphasized at Rockhurst. As we strive to become the ideal man for others, there is no denying that our ability to mature as men who understand and engage in effective dialogue about religion is important to our growth.