Posts Tagged ‘Education’

Jesuit Encounters “Warm Heart of Africa” Through New Educational Efforts in Malawi

Fifth grade students from Our St. Joseph Jesuit Parish Primary School in Kasungu, Malawi visit the site of the future Loyola Jesuit Secondary School with their headmaster (back left), Fr. Peter Henriot, SJ, development director of Loyola Jesuit Secondary School (back center) and Fr. Alojz Podgrajsek, SJ, project director of Loyola Jesuit Secondary School (back right).

Serving in Zambia on sabbatical in 1989 had a life-changing affect on Jesuit Father Peter Henriot. “Working in a village development project with local people and doing simple tasks did almost more for my education than all the other learning I gathered while studying and working in the United States. And at the end of that year, the people there gave me the best gift – the desire to stay.”

And for the next 21 years that’s exactly what Fr. Henriot was able to do, having joined the Zambia-Malawi Province (transferring from the Oregon Province) while working with the Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection in Zambia after having spent the previous 16 years with Center of Concern in Washington, D.C.  And, then in 2010, he was assigned to another purpose – to help establish Loyola Jesuit Secondary School (LJSS) in Malawi.

Although it is a country rich in natural resources, Malawi, whose nickname is “The Warm Heart of Africa,” continues to be one of the poorest countries in the world in terms of human development. It ranks a somber 153 out of 169 on the United Nations Human Development Index, which is largely caused by lack of educational opportunities for its youth.

“There simply is no future for Malawi without better education for the young people,” Henriot states.

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Jesuit Returns to His Alma Mater as President

Jesuit Father Timothy Lannon

Matt Miller/The World-Herald

Jesuit Father Timothy Lannon, who began his first official day as the 24th president of Creighton University on August 1, is the university’s first alumnus to serve as president. He is happy to return to his roots.

“I have a sense of this place,” said Fr. Lannon, who credits previous president Jesuit Father John Schlegel with being instrumental in his decision to become a Jesuit priest. “It’s been a long time since I was here. But one thing that has not changed is that students’ lives are changed here,” he said.

Lannon said he plans to take the next few months to “listen and learn” before announcing any changes or plans for the university.

“I want to get a better feel and build upon those dreams for the university,” he said.

One plan Lannon does have is to try to encourage more young men to join the Jesuit priesthood, something he actively pursued in his previous position as president of Saint Joseph’s University.

Lannon said that as a kid, the priests at his home parish in Iowa “seemed almost too holy” while the Jesuits at Creighton appealed to him. “I am a Jesuit priest first,” he said, “and a university president second.”

Read more about Lannon in the Omaha World-Herald.

New School in the Sudan Offers Renewed Hope

As 183,000 students return this fall to the campuses of the 28 Jesuit-affiliated colleges and universities, many will find themselves standing blurry-eyed in the campus coffee house ordering a triple shot, nonfat, no foam venti latte to help keep their eyes open during their first morning lecture hall class of the semester. For the students at Gonzaga University in Spokane, that latte not only helps them make it through their Statistical Analysis 101 class, it also helps students 7,600 miles away on the campus of the Catholic University of the Sudan.
Watch an Interview with Fr. Mike Schultheis on the progress of the Catholic University of the Sudan.
The pilot program, called the African Outreach Donate a Latte, was started last year and allows Gonzaga students to donate $2 from their dining program’s funds to the Sudanese school in Juba that opened its doors last fall to its inaugural class of 35 students. Thousands of dollars were raised last year via the Donate a Latte program for the new Catholic university, providing much needed materials such as books and even building materials for the school. For Jesuit Father Mike Schultheis, vice chancellor of the Catholic University of the Sudan, Gonzaga’s coffee for charity initiative also keeps him connected to his home province of Oregon, even though he’s been working in educational apostolates in Africa for more than 30 years.
“My hope would be to see programs like Gonzaga’s be replicated at other Jesuit colleges and universities in the United States,” said Schultheis. With educational opportunities in the country being among the worst in the world and adult literacy below 30 percent, Schultheis realizes that the Catholic University of the Sudan is a critical component in moving the country forward after almost 25 years of civil war. The decades-long conflict left an estimated 2.5 million southerners dead and an estimated 4.6 million displaced.
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference established the Catholic University of the Sudan as a centerpiece of their national program to help the country recover from decades of violence, famine and mass displacement of people. The vision for the university and its development goes back even farther, to half a century ago, soon after Sudan’s independence from Britain in 1956. The idea for the university was discussed again when former Sudanese president Jafaar Nimeiry met with Pope John Paul II in Rome in 1983, just months before a civil war broke out in the county and dashed the university project yet again.
With a peace agreement between northern and southern Sudan signed in 2005, refugees began to return from exile and rebuild their communities. But the challenges were almost overwhelming with the need to develop basic institutions of governance, to construct roads and health clinics, to build schools and to train personnel with skills and expertise to manage and provide basic services to the populace. The Bishops recognized that the Church was called to assist in building the new Sudan.
“The Catholic University of the Sudan, as a national institution, is a dream long deferred,” explained Schultheis. “Still, the bishops recognized the need for higher level education for Sudanese who spent years as refugees and had little hope of gaining access to public institutions.”
In February 2007, the Sudan Catholic Bishops’ Conference brought Schultheis, who has a background in economics and has administered schools in Ghana and Mozambique, into the project planning to help steer the creation of a master plan for the school that was intended to shape and guide the development of the university over the next few years.
Incorporating some of the best features of existing universities, including Jesuit schools in the U.S., Schultheis’ master plan developed a model of constituent colleges in three different locations for the Catholic University of the Sudan. The master plan proposed a faculty of Arts & Social Sciences in Juba, the principal city of southern Sudan, with programs in Economics and Business Administration, Information & Communications Sciences & Technology and Social & Religious Studies. The second faculty in Agricultural & Environmental Sciences opens this month in Wau. Their campus is designed to address issues of restoring the fertility of the soils and increasing food productivity. The third faculty will be in engineering with plans to locate it in the oil rich middle region of the Sudan. The engineering programs will be tailored to train students in the skills required to build roads, to understand the geophysical sciences and to manage the development of Sudan’s rich natural resources, including petroleum
“There’s a strong scientific base to the curriculum, a strong mathematical and science base,” said Schultheis. “We want to train students to be rigorous, to do analytical work and to really contribute to the development of the future of the Sudan.”
The Juba campus students completed their first year in early June of this year and those 34 students began their second year of studies this month along with a new incoming class, bringing the total student body to over 90 students. They come from every diocese and state in the Sudan, with more than three-quarters Catholic.
“We look to train a generation of men and women who are competent technically but also are committed in terms of values. And part of the values has to do with the values of Catholic social thought,” said Shultheis.
With the campus of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences opening this month in Wau, Schultheis can proudly exclaim that “the baby has been born!” As he quotes the biblical passage on the birth of John the Baptist, Schultheis asks “what will this baby become?”  and sums up his thoughts on the future of the school with “the hope that what is born will become an active and a vigorous young institution that offers great hope for all of Sudan.”
Tricia Steadman Jump is the Managing Editor of National Jesuit News and the Media Relations Manager for the Jesuit Conference.

by Tricia Steadman Jump

As 183,000 students return this fall to the campuses of the 28 Jesuit-affiliated colleges and universities, many will find themselves standing blurry-eyed in the campus coffee house ordering a triple shot, nonfat, no foam venti latte to help keep their eyes open during their first morning lecture hall class of the semester. For the students at Gonzaga University in Spokane, that latte not only helps them make it through their Statistical Analysis 101 class, it also helps students 7,600 miles away on the campus of the Catholic University of the Sudan.

Watch an Interview with Fr. Mike Schultheis on the progress of the Catholic University of the Sudan.

Fr. Michael Schultheis, SJ Looks Forward to Second Year for The Catholic University of The Sudan from Jesuit Conference USA on Vimeo.

The pilot program, called the African Outreach Donate a Latte, was started last year and allows Gonzaga students to donate $2 from their dining program’s funds to the Sudanese school in Juba that opened its doors last fall to its inaugural class of 35 students. Thousands of dollars were raised last year via the Donate a Latte program for the new Catholic university, providing much needed materials such as books and even building materials for the school. For Jesuit Father Mike Schultheis, vice chancellor of the Catholic University of the Sudan, Gonzaga’s coffee for charity initiative also keeps him connected to his home province of Oregon, even though he’s been working in educational apostolates in Africa for more than 30 years.

Read the rest of this entry »

First Jesuit Cristo Rey School Opens in the South

Fifty years after the founding of the first Jesuit school in the city of Houston, the Jesuits and their lay collaborators are poised to once again found another school in the same city with a focus on getting the poorest and most-at-risk children of Houston ready for college.  Cristo Rey Jesuit College Preparatory School of Houston, the first co-educational school sponsored by the Jesuits of the New Orleans Province, will open its doors to 100 freshmen on August 10, 2009.  Its inaugural class of young men and women will participate in one of the most exciting educational models in the country – the Cristo Rey Network that consists of 23 schools across the nation.
To watch a video from News2Houston on the opening of Cristo Rey Jesuit, click on the picture below.
History of the Cristo Rey Network
The genesis of the Cristo Rey Network began more than a decade ago in Chicago’s Little Pilsen neighborhood, a low-income area largely populated by Mexican immigrants.  The Cristo Rey model, the brainchild of Fr. John Foley, SJ and his Jesuit and lay colleagues, emerged from the realization that the expense of a Jesuit college preparatory education was prohibitive to economically disadvantaged families living in this Chicago barrio.
Fr. Foley and his team turned to corporations around the city for help and asked them to provide entry-level corporate jobs for his students whose salaries would in turn help pay for the cost of their tuition.  Fr. Foley and his team developed and pioneered an economic and educational program that would be accessible to the poorest families in the city.  The result was the innovative Corporate Intern Program, sometimes referred to as the Corporate Work-Study Program.
The Corporate Work-Study Program allows students to earn approximately 70 percent of their tuition by working for corporations one day per week.  The students gain first-hand knowledge of the professional, corporate world while also attending a school which will provide them with the education and critical thinking skills needed to perform well in college and eventually in a career.  The students are not the only ones to benefit; the sponsors add to their workforce a group of eager, enthusiastic students working at a reduced cost. In addition, the sponsors gain the satisfaction of knowing that they have helped to break the cycles of poverty.
There are currently 23 schools in the Cristo Rey Network, with Cristo Rey Jesuit in Houston being its newest member.  The network has more than 1,250 corporate work-study sponsors that employ more than 5,000 students. Over 99 percent of the students who graduate from Cristo Rey schools have been accepted into two and four year colleges, including Georgetown University, Loyola University and Brown University.
The Beginnings of Cristo Rey Jesuit
Cristo Rey Jesuit in Houston was made a reality when the Jesuits of the New Orleans Province decided they wanted to support the opening of a Cristo Rey model school in their region.  They identified several potential cities, including Houston.  Advisory groups were formed in each city to conduct feasibility studies to identify lower income communities, the level of student and parent interest in a college prep education with a work-study component and the level of corporate support necessary to sustain the school.
In 2006, the Houston advisory group was formed.  They conducted the feasibility study where they first identified the neighborhoods that fell within the income bracket.  During the study more than 1,300 interviews were conducted with middle school students and their families in those identified neighborhoods.  The study confirmed the need and the desire of the families for a Jesuit college preparatory school.  The advisory committee then began to present the Cristo Rey story to individuals and representatives of companies throughout Houston asking for their support.  Over 30 companies signed letters of intent to provide jobs to the first class of students.  The advisory committee also secured over $2 million in donations, grants and pledges, with nine major foundations committing financial support for the school.
Having proven the great need and community support for a Cristo Rey school in Houston, the Jesuits of the New Orleans Province approved Houston as the home of the next Cristo Rey school – Cristo Rey Jesuit College Preparatory School of Houston.
Creating Cristo Rey Jesuit with Community Support
Cristo Rey Jesuit, located in southeast Houston, near Hobby Airport, is in the midst of a very busy start-up year.  With the naming of the school’s founding president, Fr. Antonio, “T.J.”, Martinez, SJ the plans for the school began immediately. After having received an undergraduate degree at Boston College, Fr. Martinez finished with five graduate degrees, including a law degree from the University of Texas and a graduate degree in school leadership and administration from Harvard University.
Once Martinez arrived in Houston, he quickly went to work with the advisory board and negotiated the purchase of an old educational facility on the nearly nine acre piece of property in one of the poorest neighborhoods in Houston.  The inaugural Board of Trustees was next named, meeting continuously since December 2007.  At this initial meeting, the Board approved the funding for moderate renovations of the purchased facility which will provide a safe, competitive and supportive learning environment.  Fretz Construction is generously managing these renovations on a pro bono basis.
Martinez set out to find experts in the field to comprise his founding senior administrative leadership team.  He first hired Dr. Catherine Thomas as the principal.  Dr. Thomas brings 20 years of experience to the job and currently heads the admissions and faculty recruitment campaigns.
“Any president, young or old, experienced or new, would be envious for the experience and dedication my leadership team brings to our mission,” Martinez said. “I went after the best and with God’s grace, I got it.”
At an event in March, the school unveiled its logo and crest at a cocktail reception for all of its donors, corporate sponsors and the many volunteers who have become involved over the past few months.  BrandExtract LLC, a branding and marketing company in Houston, generously devoted their time to develop not only the school’s logo and crest, but the entire branding campaign.
Since the March event, many more people in the community have stepped forward to offer their services to the start up of Cristo Rey Jesuit.  The school has received in-kind donations that have helped in all aspects of the opening.  The National Terrazzo Tile and Marble Company owner, Victor Longo, donated the installation of the new school crest in the entrance making an impressive and colorful impact to all visitors.  All school furnishing have been donated by individuals and companies throughout Houston.  Strake Jesuit College Preparatory, the first Houston Jesuit high school, has been extremely generous in their support of their new brother school and the Cristo Rey Jesuit Women’s Guild, a volunteer group from all over the city, help by answering phones, making copies, updating mailing lists, stuffing envelopes and organizing events.
Securing Business Support
The Houston business community has given a strong message of support to Cristo Rey Jesuit’s Corporate Intern Program model.  The school has 25 employment contracts signed by companies that represent Houston’s diverse employment industry. The response has been so positive that the school had to develop a “2010-2011 wait list” made up of companies eager to be Corporate Work-Study Sponsors.  Three Houston universities, Rice University, University of St. Thomas and University of Houston, are partnering with the Corporate Work-Study Training Camp, a mandatory 4-week camp created to prepare the students to be successful in their entry-level jobs, by teaching the computer training courses on their campuses.
“We have seen the impact that Cristo Rey has had in other communities and felt strongly that Houston would embrace the Cristo Rey model,” said Ron Martin, a member of the board of trustees as well as a corporate work-study sponsor. “It is humbling to know that Cristo Rey Jesuit will forever change the lives of 100 students who begin our inaugural class this fall and the many more who will follow.”
Recruiting Students to Cristo Rey Jesuit
While the jobs have been relatively easy to secure, the recruitment of students has proven a bit more difficult.  It seems that this population of students and families are not in the habit of applying for schools which makes the process more time consuming than expected.Given the economy, the staff was preparing themselves for a more difficult time in finding job positions for their students. Enrolling the students was the last worry in their mind.  A final push to fill the freshman class with 100 students is being made with the staff, members of the board and volunteers who are helping canvas the surrounding neighborhoods by spreading the word about the school and its wonderful opportunity. They are confident that the inaugural class will be filled by the first day of corporate training camp on August 10.
“The corporate training camp will culminate with the celebration of the Mass of the Holy Spirit on Thursday, September 3, 2009 with the Most Reverend Joseph A. Fiorenza, Archbishop Emeritus presiding and Fr. T.J. Martinez, SJ and Fr. Mark Lewis, SJ concelebrating,” Dr. Thomas said.  “This opening mass promises to celebrate the diversity of the school which mirrors the diversity of the city of Houston.  This celebration will mark the beginning of the school’s mission ‘…to empower students of all faiths from economically challenged families to reach their full potential’.”
Martinez’s primary vision of the school is to provide a rigorous, first rate educational, moral and corporate environment that allows the students to re-imagine their futures as business, civic and religious leaders of Houston and beyond.  In a very real way, the students are our own “future at work.”
“Many people ask, ‘Why would you at all be interested in being involved in the chaos of starting up a school particularly at this time?’” Martinez said.  “My grandfather came over from Mexico, became a citizen and had an opportunity to work his way through school. Because of this, he was able to send my dad to school and my dad sent me, without which I would never have been a Jesuit and now president of Cristo Rey Jesuit.”
He added, “These kids are my grandfather all over again, making this mission not only one I believe in because I am a Jesuit priest, but one I believe in because it is my family’s story as well.”
Susan Branda Martin is the director of communications and public relations for Cristo Rey Jesuit in Houston. For more information about Cristo Rey Jesuit, visit www.cristoreyhouston.org.

njn_cristorey_martinezby Susan Branda Martin

Fifty years after the founding of the first Jesuit school in the city of Houston, the Jesuits and their lay collaborators are poised to once again found another school in the same city with a focus on getting the poorest and most-at-risk children of Houston ready for college.  Cristo Rey Jesuit College Preparatory School of Houston, the first co-educational school sponsored by the Jesuits of the New Orleans Province, will open its doors to 100 freshmen on August 10, 2009.  Its inaugural class of young men and women will participate in one of the most exciting educational models in the country – the Cristo Rey Network that consists of 23 schools across the nation.

To watch a video from News2Houston on the opening of Cristo Rey Jesuit, click on the picture below.

njn_cristorey_vidcap1

History of the Cristo Rey Network

The genesis of the Cristo Rey Network began more than a decade ago in Chicago’s Little Pilsen neighborhood, a low-income area largely populated by Mexican immigrants.  The Cristo Rey model, the brainchild of Fr. John Foley, SJ and his Jesuit and lay colleagues, emerged from the realization that the expense of a Jesuit college preparatory education was prohibitive to economically disadvantaged families living in this Chicago barrio.

Read the rest of this entry »