The CM community gathered in-person and virtually Wednesday for a socially distant day of interdisciplinary enrichment workshops and exercises.
West Roxbury, Mass.— Catholic Memorial School launched its first CM Academy Day in grand fashion Wednesday morning.
Gathering both virtually and in-person, members of the CM community paused classes for a day of socially-distanced enrichment workshops and exercises. The day began with CM’s first All-School Meeting and focused on four interdisciplinary exercises rooted in the school’s summertime all-school read, A Chance in the World.
“Our priorities for the Academy Day are to cultivate a strong school community through the fostering of meaningful relationships between and amongst students, faculty, staff, and families,” CM Principal Mr. Andrew O’Brien said.
“With this first session, we’re excited to build upon the all-school read and to unpack the many curricular opportunities from the book.”
A Chance in the World chronicles the life of Mr. Steve Pemberton, who defies the odds of growing up in an abusive foster home to become a trailblazing and enlightened diversity leader, visionary youth advocate, corporate executive, and acclaimed speaker.
Following the morning All-School meeting, faculty and staff began the first of four workshops by presenting a 10-minute TED Talk about Mr. Pemberton. The talk raised the question of what it means to act as a “human lighthouse,” which Mr. Pemberton defines as someone who impacts a person’s life in a positive way.
After reflecting on the impact of human lighthouses on their own lives, students transitioned to a station about mindfulness. World Language faculty member Mr. Edwardo Frias, who holds several certificates in yoga and mindfulness, guided students through a series of breathing exercises before the program transitioned to a third workshop on service work.
This third station introduced students to the value of service work at CM and provided a unique experience for students to discern what it means to truly care about one another.
“With this station, we want students to see the difference in knowing those that are marginalized as opposed to just knowing about those that are marginalized,” Vice Principal of Grades 9-12 Mr. Karl Danso said.
To further illustrate this point, faculty and staff tasked students with listing the different ways a person could get to know somebody, whether by social media, a friendly conversation, or an introduction through a mutual friend. They then needed to critically think about how such approaches differ when trying to meet different people, such as a celebrity like Michael Jordan.
“We wanted to emphasize the fact that they are trying to know Michael Jordan, and not just know about him or her.”
The stations ended with a final workshop on digital collages. Led by Fine Arts faculty members Ms. Cassy Akouri and Mr. Brian Sage, students created a digital collage of people and opportunities that serve as positive influences on their lives.
This fall, the CM hybrid learning model will continue to pause in-person and online classes each Wednesday to provide students with time to deepen and enrich their learning through a series of transformative, community experiences.
According to Mr. O’Brien, this Wednesday programming – referred to as CM Academy Days – helps build community across grade levels, provides a platform for students to strengthen their relationship with their own spirituality and gospel values, creates opportunities for academic and enrichment and support, and enables development of the whole student through a variety of extracurricular offerings.
“We hope the experiences of these important community development days will provide the boys with meaningful ways to connect with their peers,” Assistant Head of School Mr. Palm added.
“These days should allow our students to engage in rich, learning experiences rooted in the diverse mission of the school.”
In accordance with the school’s health and safety guidelines, 8th and 10th graders arrived on campus Wednesday morning and kept socially distant from one another, whereas students in 7th, 9th, and 11th grades engaged in the programming online.
The day culminated at noon with a celebration of the Mass of the Holy Spirit, which Rev. Wayne Belschner of St. Mary’s Parish hosted in the Ronald S. Perry Gymnasium. Seniors attended the Mass in-person and the school broadcasted the Mass for all families who wished to attend Mass remotely. After Mass, seniors then completed the same programming as the grades before.
“It’s inspiring to see our entire community pull together to make the day such a success,” Mr. O’Brien said.
“All members of our community – our faculty, staff, students, and parents – played an enormous role in its execution. I’m excited to see what our next Academy Day will bring.”
The next CM Academy day will occur on Wednesday, September 23rd.
Steve Pemberton’s A Chance in the World will continue to serve as a central theme in the next round of workshops as students in grades 7, 9, and 11 perform next week’s programming on campus, and students in grades 8, 10, and 12 complete programming remotely.
Catholic Memorial, the Christian Brothers School of Boston, prepares boys for college, manhood and a world full of unknown challenges, ambiguity and complex problems and the importance of relationships.