Inspire & Ignite is a weekly blog designed to share the stories of the mission and community in action at Regis Jesuit High School—what gives us wings and what impassions us in the service of God.

The blog features a post from the President on the first Friday and one from the Ignatian Identity Office on the third Friday of each month. The other Fridays feature posts from guest bloggers.

If you would like to be a guest blogger or have a question or comment about Inspire & Ignite, please contact communications@regisjesuit.com.

Be inspired and go set the world on fire!


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Recharging for the Summer
6/1/2018

Inspire & Ignite is taking the summer off to allow its contributors to rest and reinvigorate their creative spark. If you are interested in contributing to the blog next school year or would like to recommend someone to write for it, please contact communications@regisjesuit.com

Have a blessed and restful summer, Raiders!

Kristin Repaci: Moments for the Hall of Fame
5/25/2018

Wow! It is hard believe that we are at the end of the school year. It seems like just yesterday I was welcoming a new group of students into my classroom. Last weekend was a whirlwind. In the short span of 72-hours, Regis Jesuit won two State Championships (Boys Lacrosse and Boys Swim & Dive), were State runners-up in Boys Rugby and graduated 231 young men and 175 young women. 

As an assistant coach for the both swim teams, it is hard to find words to describe the feeling on deck when it became certain that the State Championship belonged to our gentlemen. I will have to borrow the word a colleague keeps using, “euphoria.” Euphoria. Do my hands need to be shaking as they were at the end of that final race to experience euphoria? Do there need to be tears? How about the inexplicable loss for words? To me, the answer to all these questions is, no. Euphoria also comes in moments of watching the young men and women whom we educate walk across the stage to receive their diploma, helping a student realize their potential, the start of a new school year, etc. The experience of euphoria is a joyous part of being a team. Being part of a team also means that you share the low points as well. Our graduating class of senior swimmers knew the feeling of placing second at the State Meet for the past three years. Until Saturday, these gentlemen were the only senior class without a State swim title since 1992. 

Throughout the two-day meet, our swimmers demonstrated the importance of perseverance, hard work and heart. With points to make up going into finals, nothing less than our best would suffice. Stellar swims and lifetime bests put us in contention for a State Championship. It all came down to the last race of the meet. Our 400-free relay team found themselves in a high-stakes situation: win the relay and win the State title or come in second for a fourth straight year. In a matter of three minutes, two seconds and 67 milliseconds, our relay team gave everything they had to capitalize on the team effort and win the touch-out by a mere three-tenths of a second. You can watch the race here

The State Swim Meet gave me a good opportunity to reflect on what it means to be part of a team. I consider myself a member of several teams: my family, my colleagues, my classes, etc. A few people do not determine the success of a team. Every action contributed by team members either helps or hinders the team as a whole. One race and four swimmers did not win the swim team a State Championship. Hundreds of hours of practice, thousands of laps swum, every point scored and every touch-out won earned them the title. 

Here at Regis Jesuit, we are a team striving to provide an excellent Jesuit education to the young men and women on our campus. Every interaction we have, class we teach, sport we coach or club we moderate contributes to the fulfillment of our mission. As we move toward a new structure of leadership on our campus next year, the Regis Jesuit community—teachers, faculty, students, parents, alumni—will be the team that works and learns together, ad maiorem Dei gloriam


Kristin Repaci is finishing her second year teaching math to boys at Regis Jesuit. Before coming to RJ, Kristin taught in DPS for three years. Along with teaching, Kristin is an assistant coach for both the girls and boys swim teams. 

Jim Broderick King ’87: “WWJD?” – Not a Question That Helps Me
5/18/2018

You’ve seen the bumper stickers, wristbands and banners: “WWJD?” / “What Would Jesus Do?” Since that interrogative slogan became popular years ago, I have bristled upon encountering it every time. Don’t get me wrong--I’m okay with those who rely on that question for meaning and purpose, a way to guide their moral decisions and daily actions. But something about it always seemed theologically incomplete or misplaced. I continually had a difficult time putting words to my discomfort. Why does it bother me? This spring, I think I happened upon an answer.

For me the question “What WOULD Jesus do?” doesn’t reflect my experience with Jesus. The questions phrased as “What IS Jesus doing?” or “What does Jesus WANT?” better fall into theological flow for my spirit. It’s the Easter season. Jesus IS resurrected, IS ascending, IS loving, IS acting, IS seeking. Everything about this time reminds me that Jesus is in the here-and-now, not a past standard or a future possibility to ponder. When I encounter a way to see the world or to make a decision or to lead my life, I feel it so much more helpful and accurate to examine closely what Jesus desires right now and how He is acting, laboring and moving at this moment. 

Thus, I approach these lofty thoughts of Ignatian discernment more commonly now with a simpler attitude. Too often, we fall into the misguided mentality that Ignatian discernment is solely a modern take on an ancient form of “decision making.” I think it is both much more and much simpler than that. If we are discerning as Ignatius suggested, we should be frequently asking ourselves—asking GOD—“What is Jesus doing with this moment in my life?” or “What is the Holy Spirit showing me right now about what God desires for us?” If I can discern in this way, I can begin to see with clearer vision what choices lead me closer to friendship with Jesus, I can feel better what attitude I need to have in my relationships and I can sense when my desires God and I share.

What does this look like in everyday life? Well, my current examples sound like this: 
Things at RJHS are sometimes tough and even tense this time of year. Maybe we can have some levity with Cannonball Day freshman activities or create a fictional controversy out of thin air falsely and fun-lovingly accusing our rival Mullen stealing RJ Raider’s armored leg; that might lighten the mood a little. 

Like a lot of senior parents, I’m feeling the strange joy and fear of my own senior graduating this week. Perhaps I can respond to my own graduate with more affection and encourage the celebration of graduation successes instead of focusing on my own uncertainty.

This morning I am slowly hearing the details of the tragedy in Santa Fe, Texas. Do I give in to my usual fear and anger or do I choose to pray more deeply and engage the teenagers around me today with just a hint more compassion?

Whatever the current moments are, I hope we are listening deeply for what God really desires, looking toward the direction the Holy Spirit is truly pointing toward and paying close attention to “What Is Jesus Doing?” “W I J D?” Then we can know how much He wants to love us and be loved by us.

Blessings to all of our 2018 graduates, to all of our students finishing up the semester, to our harried but hopeful faculty and staff and to all of our families waiting for the beginning of a great summer! See you back here in August!


Jim Broderick King ’87 is Regis Jesuit’s Ignatian Identity Coordinator. He also teaches Latin, theology, English and even Ancient Greek in the odd year. He is in his 23rd year of teaching at his alma mater and 25th year overall. His posts for Inspire & Ignite appear the third Friday of every month during the school year.

 

Hailey Johnson: RJ’s Wonder Women
5/10/2018

As my first year of teaching comes to a close, there are countless student stories or “a-ha” moments I could speak of, but I feel that many of them would not have happened without the support I received from my colleagues. The beauty of the first-year-teacher struggles is that all teachers have experienced them: the difficulties and uncertainty, the self-doubt and worry and the joy of experiencing the first glimpse of success within your students. Throughout my first year, I had a strong community keeping my head above water and supporting me as they empathized with me through the mountains and valleys of my first year. 

I was graciously mentored by many colleagues; however, my female colleagues played monumental roles in helping me learn how to both teach and empower young women. These women undoubtedly assisted with my success this year. Danielle Brigman and Megan Langfield ’10 patiently helped me with classroom management techniques. Leah Malm and Anna Gough ’07 continually reminded me to find joy and relish the small victories. Natalie Baldasare celebrated alongside my students’ accomplishments, as well as reminded me to keep my head up through the lulls of the year. Caroline Howard was a necessary wealth of knowledge and comic relief within the walls of the social studies office. Jenny Lynch and Jamie Dawkins held me hostage in my classroom, ambushing me with hugs asking how they could support me at the start of second semester. Leslie Diedrich and Kati Dorais were blessings. Leslie was a constant confidante, listening and offering advice. Kati went above and beyond as my wonderful mentor, helping me navigate my way through this new experience. However, it was not only Kristi Dindinger’s support throughout the year, but observing her perseverance and strength during a time of immense tribulation that truly inspired me to do my very best for my students. These women encouraged me to use my gifts and constantly reminded me of my passion for teaching and teenagers. 

It is important to know that RJ students are in a place where their teachers take care of one another, which in turn translates to how well teachers take care of their students. As a first year teacher, this was imperative for my success inside the classroom. I believe it is imperative for the success of all teachers, regardless of their experience level. 

I cannot state how thankful I am to have started my career at Regis Jesuit. I am grateful for the depth of empathy, understanding and kindness I received at RJ this year and want to express thanks to those who believed in the fresh-faced, looks like she’s 18, new teacher. 


Hailey Johnson teaches girls social studies and is also the varsity assistant coach for girls tennis. This is her first year at Regis Jesuit, as well as her first year teaching. She was honored with the Cura Personalis Teaching Award by this year’s girls freshman class.

David Card ’87: Seasons, Metanoia and Gratitude
5/4/2018

David A. Card '87A wise man (Fr. Jeff Harrison, SJ) used to quip, “The school year doesn’t wind down; it just one day stops.” I’m sure no one is feeling that sentiment right now as sharply as our students. They will be concentrating with all of their might to finish end of year projects, study for AP and final exams, then poof! The entire paradigm shifts, especially for our seniors.

No wind down, just an abrupt change. In these times, it’s important for us to be patient with ourselves and with each other. Sure, we know what these last few weeks of school are all about, but intensity and change try us. The emotions we experience signal that something important is going on. (Sometimes that something is just plain fatigue.)  

Hang in there RJ!

As an institution, we too are heading in to a change of paradigm, and not just for the summer. As this school year comes to an end, we will begin to operate with our new administrative structure—the result of a ten-month discernment process that concluded last November. Many on campus are already wading in to the change paradigm. Academic departments are identifying their leadership and beginning to imagine and articulate their way of proceeding, and our acting administrative team has been meeting together for weeks identifying the roles and responsibilities of their new positions. 

Our current principals, Ms. Gretchen Kessler and Mr. Alan Carruthers, are entering in to a change paradigm of their own. Ms. Kessler will step down from her tenure as founding principal of the Girls Division, and transition back in to the classroom, as well as the Alumni Office. And Mr. Carruthers will head east on I-70 until he sees a giant arch next to the mighty Mississippi, where he will begin his tenure as president of St. Louis University High School—one of our Jesuit province’s best.

Together, Ms. Kessler and Mr. Carruthers have been exceptional school leaders. As Regis Jesuit begins to evolve itself once again for the greater glory of God, it does so only because these two leaders have been able to help us imagine an even greater presentation of a co-divisional school. They have helped us replace fear-based worry about a ‘slippery slope towards co-ed,’ with a single-gender excellence proposition, and with more and more discovery about the opportunities for, and the value of, togetherness. I am tremendously grateful to them.

As we celebrated her at LARK, Ms. Kessler is a true pioneer who courageously moved herself across the country to launch an exciting, yet un-tested vision. She did so with humility, faith, persistence, caring and loyalty. Her compass is and has always been the Ignatian vision, the characteristics of which are so plainly obvious in the programs she has developed and in the people she has hired. Hers is a story of breaking through the glass ceiling. She is a wonderful example for our students, and I am so glad that I will be able to continue to draw upon her experience and wisdom. 

With Mr. Carruthers, I will miss his leadership presence, his keen instinct in delicate situations, his experience, his interest in every element of school operations and his faith-anchored approach to everything he does. Mr. Carruthers is a strong Ignatian leader and it’s no surprise to me why a Jesuit school would seek him as its president. I’m sad to lose him from Regis Jesuit, but I’m glad to keep him as a colleague in the context of our Jesuit province. I look forward to our continued work together in that realm.

So, change is on the horizon for all of us over the next few weeks. May God bless Ms. Gretchen Kessler and Mr. Alan Carruthers. My God bless our students and their families. And may we all—our students, our families, our faculty and staff—be  patient with each other and with ourselves, and may we continue to remind ourselves that we are never alone in our journeys. 

AMDG 


This is David Card's '87 second year as Regis Jesuit's President. His posts for Inspire & Ignite appear once a month, generally on the first Friday, throughout the school year.  

Gretchen Kessler: The Face of God
4/27/2018

Gretchen KesslerEvery day at school, I walk by the portraits of our graduates, and I pick two or three to say a prayer for and to see what I remember about their high school years. I know that during their time with us we planted the seeds….we provide opportunities to open hearts and minds, to help them find a friendship with God, to spark passions….and by doing so, we have had the opportunity to see their goodness, their deep sense of caring, their hopes and dreams….the face of God! It is in the little, daily opportunities for joy, support, learning, healing and caring that we find the beauty of the human spirit in each member of our community. 

Since we opened the Girls Division in 2003, I have been blessed to work with some of the finest Jesuit educators I have ever known; ones who care deeply about our students and each other; educators who support one another and have fun with one another. I see the face of God in them and their work at Regis Jesuit. 

While it’s easy to see the goodness in the big events in life, I think we shortchange ourselves if we don’t pay attention to the everyday interactions and happenings. I ran into this poem the other day that I thought was worth sharing:

Make the Ordinary Come Alive

Do not ask your children
To strive for extraordinary lives.
Such striving may seem admirable,
But it is a way of foolishness.
Help them instead to find the wonder
And the marvel of an ordinary life.
Show them the joy of tasting
tomatoes, apples and pears.
Show them how to crywhen pets and people die (and to celebrate their lives).
Show them the infinite pleasure in the touch of a hand
and make the ordinary come alive for them.
The extraordinary will take care of itself.
- William Martin

I cherish the ordinary and the extraordinary. I never want to take anything or anyone for granted. Over the past 15 years here at Regis Jesuit, it has been my joy to be able to see the face of God in the more than 2000 young women and the young men who have walked through our doors. I look forward to many more years here in the classroom and working with alumni, and I know that God will always be found in our work.


Gretchen (front row just off center to the right) with members of this year's faculty & staff at a celebration of her years of leadership


Gretchen Kessler is the founding principal of the Girls Division. After more than 15 years at the helm, she will step down from that position to return to the classroom and will also support our efforts with our alumni, especially our alumnae whom she knows so well. We are grateful for her years of leadership and pioneering spirit. 

Jim Broderick King ’87: Embracing the Unexpected
4/20/2018

When I was stumped for a topic for this month’s Inspire & Ignite, I mentioned to a colleague that I was trying to figure it out but figured it would be an Easter theme. He said, “Too predictable. Don’t write about Easter. Do something unexpected.”

So what has been unexpected in my world lately? Hmmmm. 

  • Meeting with potential principal candidates, some of whom have been unexpected reminiscences with old friends (25 years in one case).
  • The profound, unanticipated relief for my daughter and for our family when she chose her college for next year.
  • Seeing how an alum was deeply committed to serving others several years after RJ – surprising because I never knew that person in that way as a student.
  • The news from left field that some friends or colleagues are moving away, leaving ministry, changing jobs and called to different modes of vocation. I can think of at least four that I didn’t expect.
  • A friend who just surprised me with the news he is feeling called to convert to Catholicism. 
  • My sister passing away – not entirely unexpected but strangely out of the context I was in.
  • A friend who, after almost 30 years of struggle and waiting, has officially been approved as a resident and on her way on the path of American citizenship.
  • Snow in April – OK, that’s not that surprising, but it sure wasn’t my plan for our staff retreat on Manresa Day.
  • Receiving a ‘no’ when I really anticipated a ‘yes.’
  • My family giving me the coolest birthday present of all time – hanging out on a goat farm for a morning and feeding baby goats. So weird and unexpected, but just the best! 

We all have these unbidden, unexpected and unimagined circumstances and life events. Some are gloriously fun or consoling. Some are unsettling or confounding. What do we do with these unexpected moments and how are we to judge them? I don’t know, but I do think we learn a lot about ourselves and others by the way we react to the unexpected.

Quick anecdote: I had a religion professor in college who was certainly one of my favorites—an amazing intellect, a man who challenged what we thought we knew about scripture, someone who could really leave me unsettled about interpreting scripture, and could confound me with a translation of a New Testament verse from Greek. The reality that he pretty well stripped us down of our preconceptions of Christian faith and made us question the very foundation of our theology absolutely did not jive with the other reality that he was a devout Southern Baptist. All in his courses could not put the deconstructionist skeptic of religious tradition we saw in class with the devout Christian who sang in a choir and taught Sunday school. We students were flummoxed by this dichotomy.

A group of us had an informal occasion to speak with him outside of an academic context and cornered him with this question: “When you are so critical about faith traditions and analytical of scriptural nuance, you seem to have presented a case that questions the basis of faith; so why are you still a Christian?” His response left me dumbstruck and sticks with me still after three decades; he replied, “Yes, I can undermine historical assumptions and draw doubt regarding the sources of a Gospel, and there are many logical reasons I would question my faith. But there is one experience that I can’t build an argument against and can’t simply explain away with objective evidence: on the day of Christ’s Resurrection, many people had a profound experience that was entirely non-rational and still led to a profound shift and commitment, so strong that they were willing to put their lives on the line for a truth they couldn’t deny. The communication of that truth has persisted for millennia. I am deeply moved by that and won’t contradict it.”

So, yes, I brought it back to Easter. All of those unexpected outcomes continue to leave us perplexed and dumbstruck, most of all the inexplicable but palpable authenticity of Jesus resurrected. That’s where my prayer has been in this transition from Lent and Holy Week to the Easter season. It continues to be a seeming contradiction that persists in my soul.

Therefore, I leave you this month with a prayer I try to say as often as I can, because it always shows me that unexpected truth and highlights for me that juxtaposition of experience and revelation, of suffering and glory. It is the traditional, centuries-old Anima Christi prayer that was important to Ignatius, here in a modern interpretation by Fr. David Fleming, SJ:

Jesus, may all that is in you flow into me.
May your body and blood be my food and drink.
May your passion and death be my strength and life.
Jesus, with you by my side enough has been given.
May the shelter I seek be the shadow of your cross.
Let me not run from the love which you offer.
But hold me safe from the forces of evil.
On each of my dyings shed your light and your love.
Keep calling to me until that day comes.
When with your saints, I may praise you forever.
Amen


Jim Broderick King ’87 is Regis Jesuit’s Ignatian Identity Coordinator. He also teaches Latin, theology, English and even Ancient Greek in the odd year. He is in his 23rd year of teaching at his alma mater and 25th year overall. His posts for Inspire & Ignite appear the third Friday of every month during the school year.

Madeline Broderick King ’18: Counting with Purpose
4/13/2018

It seems like every time someone asks how many days we have left until graduation. I hear drastically different answers. In the last week, I think I’ve heard estimates ranging from 20 to 60 days and counting. I have no idea where everyone’s getting their numbers and how, but I know that it’s coming up way too soon. I’m as excited to graduate as the next senior, but I don’t know that I’m ready. 

Of course, there are a million things that still have to be done; Capstones to complete, finals to take, AP tests to study for. But there are other things too, more abstract things, that I don’t know that I’m ready to leave behind. I’m not ready to leave my sisters and their smiles or my teachers and their enthusiasm. I’m not ready to leave this place that holds so many memories for me. I have had the privilege of calling this school my home away from home for my entire life, and I’m not ready to close that chapter. 

No longer am I looking forward to my time here. Now I have to look back. I look back and see myself and my baby sister trying on hard hats when the ground was first broken for the Boys Division—an occasion that helped ensure our eventual arrival as students here. I look back and see my five-year-old self running up and down the halls, looking for anyone to color with. I look back and hear the cheers at the football games as I rode around drinking hot cocoa in the back of the gator. I see myself taking the entrance exam, getting my confetti-filled acceptance letter and arriving on my first real day of school at the place I’d already known for more than a decade. 


Madeline '18 (age 2) with dad, Jim '87, holding sister Amelia '21, excited as can be 
at the groundbreaking for the boys building 15 years ago this week

Looking back on my four years of school here is even more poignant for me. I remember the big things of course—retreats, Service Projects, immersion trips—but when I look back, I really relish the smaller moments. I remember trips to Sonic after football games, slaphappy fourth periods and weird noises made to acknowledge each other while running down the hallways. I remember small compliments given when everyone looks nice on Mass days and bonding over stressful weeks of three papers and one project to finish by Friday. These are the memories that I'm not ready to leave behind, but I guess I have to be. 

According to my calculations, there are 38 days left until graduation; 38 days to make those last memories. I’m not ready, but I have to make them count. 


Madeline Broderick King ’18 is part of what we believe to be the first family ever in school history to have all members at Regis Jesuit at the same time. Her parents, Jim and Charisse, both work at the school and her younger sister, Amelia, is a freshman this year. Madeline will be heading to Georgetown University in the fall to study political science. 

David Card ’87: In Gratitude for Tim Newton
4/6/2018

David A. Card '87I’m a little hesitant to share what I did over Spring Break. I’m self-conscious that people will find it extravagant or too glamorous and pass judgment on me.

I went to Kansas. By car. But I digress. I actually have some important sentiments to share.

We have a tradition at Regis Jesuit. As we welcome our faculty back after the summer hiatus, we invite members of our faculty and staff to share how the mission of Regis Jesuit inspires them. Three or four members of our professional community agree to share how they have internalized the mission, and how they convey it through their work. It’s our way of winding ourselves up, and it’s tremendously effective.

As we kicked off the 2016-17 school year, my first year as president, one of the speakers was Mr. Tim Newton who, at the end of this year will retire after a 42-year career at Regis Jesuit. Since Mr. Newton is one of the three remaining teachers whom I had when I was a student at Regis Jesuit, I was particularly interested in what he had to say.

I was struck by his description of his career, and I hope I can relay it with some level of accuracy from all those months ago. He talked about how he started his teaching career as an artist hired to teach art. And then gradually, he felt like he had become an art teacher who used to be an artist. This was a long journey with an increasing feeling of desolation. We’ve all been there at one point or another, but Mr. Newton was so honest and generous in sharing his vulnerability. It was a gift.

He applied for and was granted a sabbatical—a change of scenery, and a time to rejuvenate his craft. He became an artist again! It was a renewal, and he returned to Regis Jesuit with a fresh passion for the gifts he had to share.

I don’t know where he was on that continuum when I had him as a teacher. I simply remember the anxiety I would feel with the challenge of creating something artistic with the two appendages I have at the end of my arms. I loved asking for advice, mainly because he was happy to dive into my medium and offer it some shape. I would joyfully think to myself, “Oh! Now it actually looks like something!” 

As I interact with our alumni, I know he has several protégés. I’m just not one of them, at least as far as being an artist is concerned. If it’s good to be challenged by something you aren’t comfortable with, it’s even better when someone lends a helpful hand. Mr. Newton has done just that for students and faculty over the past 42 years. Thank you Tim.

But there was something more profound he shared that day. He talked about Regis Jesuit being a place where he could live his Christian faith. It was so clear that his faith is a motivating passion for him. It reminded me of the Gospel reading we had on Wednesday this week. Two of Jesus’s disciples were headed to Emmaus from Jerusalem—confounded and lost in the aftermath of Christ’s crucifixion. After realizing that they failed to recognize him, even as he was walking and talking with them, they lamented, “Were our hearts not burning within us as he spoke to us on the way?”

Tim Newton’s heart is on fire, but in his case, he does recognize that the risen Christ is accompanying him on his journey. He has shared this with his colleagues and his students in so many ways, including that day in The Z Theatre, when he inspired me in how to live and convey the mission of Regis Jesuit. Maybe there is hope for me becoming a protégé after all. Thank you Tim.

The next sabbatical is just around the corner. I hope you will continue to share with us the fruits of your renewal.


This is David Card's '87 second year as Regis Jesuit's President. His posts for Inspire & Ignite appear once a month, generally on the first Friday, throughout the school year.  

Garrett Loehr: To Give and Not to Count the Cost
3/23/2018

“I did the math, and we are about 75% done with our ASC year.” My housemate, friend and fellow ASC Evan Jenkins shared this fact with me and our friend, housemate and fellow ASC Kurt Thiemann at dinner this weekend. It made me think, “Has it already gone by that quickly?” It has. 

I moved to Denver on a rainy, summer evening in July. Since then I’ve done a million new things. I’ve gone hiking almost every weekend. I’ve been to Pike’s Peak, Mt. Evans, Estes and Rocky Mountain National Park. I’ve shopped at Trader Joe’s (I know that’s not unique to Denver, but it might as well be). I joined a parish. I announced boys hockey matches. I’ve done all these amazing things, but one sticks out to me the most—I have been changed like never before. 

Because of the maternity leaves of two colleagues, I will have taught nearly full-time for both semesters – Spanish 1, Spanish 3 and Honors Spanish 3 in the Girls Division. I have loved every single second of it. I love my students; they are the reason I get up for work in the morning. I have been blessed to go on retreats, lead retreats, coach, teach, mentor and grow with students in both divisions. I am a varsity assistant soccer coach co-divisionally, which has allowed me to get a taste of the full RJ experience. I work in girls pastoral, and oversee the Kairos home team. I led the Freshman Retreat Grounds Crew. I am leading a delegation of rising seniors to Belize for a mission trip in June. I have subbed for almost every single class offered in the Girls Division. My heart has been pulled and placed in so many different things. Thank God it has because I have been able to work with so many teachers, coaches, administrators, but most importantly, with so many students. 

If you were to walk around the girls halls, you’d most likely here a variation of “Hola, Maestro!” “Hello, Mr. Loehr!” “Hey, Coach!” even “Bonjour!” from students. It makes me smile just to think of it. I’m writing this on a Sunday and actually am not bummed out that tomorrow is Monday because that means I’ll get to be around students tomorrow. 

I have grown so much because of these young men and women. I’ve learned how to be a better role model and mentor, while still being relatable to our students. I’ve learned to keep my emotions in check and really be present to them. I’ve learned how to be courageous and authentic because our students just want to be loved and known, just like we do. In short, I have allowed myself to give completely and freely. Not having much money has been fine because I have been made rich in experience, faith, respect and love. I feel loved by the staff, my co-workers, but I especially feel loved by my students. Could you ask for much more in just nine and a half months of being in a place? 

I’ll conclude with these quotes from St. Teresa of Calcutta and St. Ignatius of Loyola:

“Do small things with great love.” – Mother Teresa

“Lord Jesus, teach me to be generous; 
teach me to serve you as you deserve, 
to give and not to count the cost, 
to fight and not to heed the wounds, 
to toil and not to seek for rest, 
to labor and not to seek reward, except that of knowing that I do your will. 
Amen.”
– St. Ignatius Loyola

I am fulfilled in knowing that I am doing God’s will. 


A graduate of Rockhurst University, Garrett Loehr is one of three Alum Service Corps (ASC) volunteers serving at Regis Jesuit this school year. He teaches Spanish and works in the Pastoral Office in the Girls Division. He also helps coach soccer for both the boys and girls. Following his volunteer year, Garrett will stay on at Regis Jesuit, teaching French full-time for the boys.

Jim Broderick King ’87: When ‘More’ is ‘Less’
3/16/2018

When I was studying my nerdy Greek philosophy in college, I became enamored with the pre-Socratic philosopher Heraclitus. Often, I will tease my students with some whack-to-the-head in the form of a short, but perplexing fragment handed down from his philosophy. For example, “You cannot step into the same river twice,” “Donkeys prefer garbage to gold” or (one of my favorites) “The barley-wine drink falls apart unless it is stirred.” Heraclitus was always pointing to paradoxical truths in seemingly simple but really challenging ways.

I write and speak a lot about the paradox of my Lenten experience—it is joyful and sad simultaneously, it is a season I anticipate with excitement and dread. This year, a new paradox has been haunting my thoughts. I was reading an essay by former Superior General of the Jesuits, Fr. Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, SJ. His essay The Passion According to Saint Ignatius delves into the intricate dynamics of the “Third Week” of the Spiritual Exercises, where a person doing the retreat prays deeply, slowly and methodically over the passion of Jesus from the Last Supper to the Cross. One line of Fr. Kolvenbach’s has repeatedly come to mind for me this Lent:

“Ignatius presents the gospel account of the passion as a paschal journey of mysteries which all proclaim, in the last analysis, that the path of the magis is that of the minus – ‘to be accounted as worthless and a fool for Christ’ [Sp Ex 167].” Kolvenbach, The Road from La Storta

In our context with Jesuits, we often think we know the magis—“the Ignatian more.” Maybe we think of it as a call to more engagement, more activity or more investment. Maybe. But we have to be careful to remember that the magis is a qualitative more—deeper, better, further, greater. We should often remember it as the root of striving for a “greater good.” That’s the basics; but I continue to turn in my head this idea of Kolvenbach’s—the way to the magis (the more) is the same as the way of the minus (the less). How can this counterintuitive statement be true? Kolvenbach reminds us that Ignatius and Christ want us to know and trust that the true path to the greater good is to become less. We will find spiritual freedom in humbling ourselves to wash others’ feet and being servant to others. We will find resurrection from the crucifix. We will know God’s embrace in the rejection from others. We know the All-Powerful in becoming powerless and empty.

I still don’t know what this means for me or how I can bring this contradiction into focus. But I know God keeps calling me to find truth in this paradox this Lent. And my college friend Heraclitus may have been previewing this when he wrote: “The road up and the road down are one and the same.” 

May you have a blessed journey on the road toward Easter!

Peace!

Upcoming: See the calendar of the Ignatian Spirituality Program of Denver for details on a five-week Easter retreat series.


Jim Broderick King ’87 is Regis Jesuit’s Ignatian Identity Coordinator. He also teaches Latin, theology, English and even Ancient Greek in the odd year. He is in his 23rd year of teaching at his alma mater and 25th year overall. His posts for Inspire & Ignite appear the third Friday of every month during the school year.

Bernie Sauer ’97: The Power of a Song
3/9/2018

Out of his strength I now have life
Out of his tears I now have joy
Out of his soul I now see God
Heart sing softly, softly to me

- Homage by Z. Randall Stroope

B Sauer 2017-18Since its publication in 2007, Homage has been performed by hundreds of honor choirs around the world, receiving several different interpretations of its message, especially of the word, “his.” When I first introduced the song to the Canta Belles in 2008, our accompanist discovered that “his” was referring to the three fathers of students at the Cypress Lake Vocal School in Florida who had suffered tragic, unexpected deaths. According to the school, Stroope composed the song as a meditation to “help us transcend our sorrow while we observe the spirit of humanity in this music.”

I will always remember when one of our sopranos connected “his” to Jesus Christ and the sacrifices he made throughout the Passion. Because the connection was so relevant and inspiring, we ended up using the song in our Easter Vigil. There wasn’t a dry eye in the Blessed Rupert Mayer Chapel that evening.

In 2012, I was recovering from a very dark and challenging period in my life. A small group of friends, family members and coworkers came to my support; one of them was Gretchen Kessler. Gretchen’s grace and caring support transcended boss/administrator to friend/role model. It had been four years since Homage was last performed at that time, and as the Canta Belles filled the echoic ceilings of the chapel with the song’s melody, I thought of “Gretch” and how much she gave me life and hope.

This year, I’ve unearthed Homage from its six-year hiatus to have the Canta Belles perform it at this year’s Easter Vigil on March 22. It’s only fitting that this is Gretchen’s last year as principal of the Girls Division. My hope is that this song reminds us of anyone in our lives who made sacrifices for us. Through the words I share with you here, you only get a sense of this song’s power through its lyrics. Wait until you hear the music! Please join us.


Bernie Sauer ’97 has directed the Canta Belles choir since its inception. He also directs the other two girls choral groups, Regis Chorale and Girls Chorus, as well as the co-divisional Concert Band. This is Bernie’s 15th year teaching music at Regis Jesuit. 

 

 

David Card ’87: Welcome New Raiders!
3/2/2018

David A. Card '87By the time you read this, we will have welcomed over 400 new Raiders to the Regis Jesuit community during New Raider Night, which took place last night. For some, it will no doubt represent the night that students and families have been hoping and dreaming for; for others it will represent a leap of faith! In either case, it’s an exciting night that I look forward to each year.

To be honest, I can’t recall whether we had any kind of New Raider Night way back in 1983. That’s when I would have been approaching Regis Jesuit as a matriculating eighth grader, but I surely would have been in the former category. For me, coming to Regis Jesuit represented the culminating moment of a lifetime–short as it was to that point. For as long as I could remember leading up to that moment, my Friday nights revolved around whatever Regis game happened to be on the schedule that week. With my dad being athletic director and a coach here, that’s just what we did as a family. I even collected autographs of the players. I loved it! 

Of course, as I actually became a Regis Jesuit student myself, the star-power of the athletes began to fade. Don’t get me wrong, as a 92-pounder on the freshman wrestling team, they all seemed big to me, but maybe not as big as when I was a star-struck second grader. More importantly, they became my fellow students, my friends, my brothers. They provided as much to my education as any other part of the experience.

As I traveled deeper in to the journey, Regis Jesuit became about so much more. When commencement finally arrived, my gaze backward was startling, really. I remember thinking, “Wow, all of that just happened.” And I remember feeling completely and totally prepared for that next step.

As a Regis Jesuit parent myself, New Raider Night took on an even deeper dimension over the last two years. More than anything, I want my children to grow up to be well rounded, faith-anchored adults. I want them to be presented with opportunities to discover themselves more deeply and to become practiced in discerning their interests, gifts and talents as a primary sign of their own calling. I want them to be loved and to be happy. 

My favorite things to talk about with my young Raiders is the formation activities we present to our students—our retreats, our service experiences and our theology courses. We think we know our children, but these types of conversations always feel like unwrapping a new gift to me. It’s why I wanted them here, among so many other incredibly important reasons, and it’s so gratifying to watch it unfold.

As president, New Raider Night represents the beginning of the aspirational journey we have proposed to new students and families. We have a vision of an Ignatian education and the graces it can provide to a young person for a lifetime. This night represents the first step of fulfilling that. 

It’s also that night where we simply turn on the porchlight, swing open the front door and exclaim, “WELCOME!” I love it.


This is David Card's '87 second year as Regis Jesuit's President. His posts for Inspire & Ignite appear once a month, generally on the first Friday, throughout the school year.  

 

José Chalit ’13: God in Diversity; God in the “Other”
2/23/2018

Since graduating from Regis Jesuit in 2013, I have had the opportunity to see and experience the world from vastly different places and perspectives many of us do not get the fortune of knowing--especially compared to what I was first exposed to during my time at Regis. I say this, of course, with an abundance of gratitude for my educators, peers and community at RJ because if it weren’t for the experiences I had there, I would not be able to share this reflection and prayer.

Today, I hold a bachelor of arts in film studies and theology from Seattle University. Through these disciplines, I have been able to draw significant wisdom from my experiences at RJ to pursue my passions for social justice and art professionally in the years since graduating. I’ve had the great fortune of creating award-winning films that hone in on issues like migrant farmworker justice, gender inequality or environmental justice since graduating RJ. Yet, this was not a career path chosen out of thin air.

It wasn’t until the end of my sophomore year in high school that I became truly invested in the “cultural clubs” and service opportunities at school. I specifically remember going on the Homeless Plunge, thinking it was strange that students willingly paid money to participate in this when we could have given our money directly to people on the streets, or to an agency that provided direct relief services to people in poverty. But it wasn’t until after this experience, enduring the cold, sleepless night on McNicholas Green that I learned to empathize and understand deeply what it meant to live in a world full of complexities and contradictions—I began to think about the societal problems that cause these conditions for people living on the streets.

Later, I became more deeply involved in DAG, the student Diversity Action Group. The events we helped put on, like Diversity Day, turned into some of the happiest days I saw on our entire campus (other than the last day before summer break, obviously). This was the day where students and teachers alike could learn about anything we wanted to, from folks we might not always hear from in our day-to-day curricula. Whether it was a workshop on hip-hop dance lessons, a presentation from athletes with disabilities or an African drum circle performance, this was the day where it felt that God was most at work at our school with the gifts of our complex world. 

In a world filled with so much love, yet often plagued with evil and injustice, my experience being involved in DAG taught me to always be open and overflowing with love for “the Other”—the people who might seem different or even strange to us in life. I’ve learned that the only way to practice the Jesuit core values of social justice, the magis and service is with a heart committed to being open and transformed by others, particularly by the poor and marginalized in our society. This, to me, is the essence of diversity. 


José attended Seattle University and graduated in June 2017 with a degree in film studies and theology. He has since continued to work on independent films focusing on a variety of social justice topics and volunteers with a local labor union advocating for worker's rights in the workplace. 

 

 

Jim Broderick King '87: How Shall We Bear the Burdens of Lent?
2/16/2018

Anyone who knows me well already knows that I absolutely love Lent! I won’t repeat my previous Inspire & Ignite entries on the season, but it would be uncharacteristic of me not to acknowledge this time of year.

This week of Ash Wednesday I am spending five days at Ignatius House, the Jesuit retreat center outside of Atlanta, Georgia. I have the privilege of being with 20 other Jesuit educators from around the country deepening their understanding of Ignatian spirituality and how it supports their work as leaders, administrators and teachers. I get to spend a total of 20 days over two years with these folks, and we have built very close relationships beyond the professional development setting.

I mention this because my Ash Wednesday experience was really enhanced by one of these educators. He is a young theology teacher from an elite Jesuit school on the East Coast. I was struck by his intention to share his leadership journey in the context of the liturgical day; he did a masterful job of weaving the themes of Lent into his personal story. The tales he told emphasized his history of teaching in a wide variety of settings: teaching English in Palestine, working in a middle school in the inner city and leading preppy adolescent young men through religion studies at their upper-echelon school. What struck me most was the way he told the hard stories of the students in all of these locations and the profound challenges it brought to him personally. He talked of guilt leaving impoverished Palestinian children he struggled to get to know but finally connected with just as he had the opportunity to return to the U.S., noting his distinct privileged status. He shared about a poor young 8th grader who missed his mentorship as her family faced turmoil. He told of a teenage boy from a family of status who deeply questioned his self-worth.

I was moved by the way this friend spoke of the burdens he carried through all of these experiences—not these young people as burdens, but his own helplessness as heavy weights that he had to sustain as guilt, regret or emptiness. Yet, he shared that he always finds relief in the Lenten experience, such reminders as a cross of ashes on his forehead that memorialize a much greater burden than his with the promise of coming resurrection as relief.

This Lenten season, I pray that you will shoulder your own burdens well, not for the sake of penance alone, but so that you all may know the joy of Easter rebirth to come and bear those burdens away.

Peace!

Upcoming: See the calendar of the Ignatian Spirituality Program of Denver for details on a Lenten day of prayer and a five-week Easter retreat series.


Jim Broderick King ’87 is Regis Jesuit’s Ignatian Identity Coordinator. He also teaches Latin, theology, English and even Ancient Greek in the odd year. He is in his 23rd year of teaching at his alma mater and 25th year overall. His posts for Inspire & Ignite appear the third Friday of every month during the school year.

Erin Cassidy-Cernanec: Lenten Sacrifice
2/9/2018

Erin Cassidy-CernanecColloquially speaking, sacrifice is the process of recognizing the “good” and choosing to relinquish whatever is holding us back from the “good.” St. Ignatius of Loyola teaches his friends in the Lord that we are to “assume the good” in others. What am I sacrificing when I assume the good in other people? I am giving up any preconceived notions I have of the other. I am letting go of any stereotypes I have about this person. I am taking away any resentment or bitterness I have for this person due to pervious negative interactions with him or her. This internal battle of what I think of as justice and what is actually a punitive internal response is hurting me more than the other person. But this is the sacrifice Jesus is inviting us to participate in. 

Yes, Lent is a time for sacrifice. But what does that actually mean? What is the purpose of sacrifice? How is Lenten sacrifice countercultural? 

My experience of Lent has changed over the years. When I was a child, I thought I was supposed to give up chocolate as a sacrifice (the struggle is real). As an adolescent, I gave up…well, not much of anything being I was an immature, self-indulgent teen. Growing out of that phase in college led me to take my faith more seriously and to study more deeply the meaning and purpose of Lent. My Lenten sacrifice was more about doing things that I may not want to do for the sake of another: to sacrifice my desires to be more attentive to those in need. 

As I ponder what Lent means for me now, I think about dismantling the ramparts I have built around my true self and how that affects my relationships with my family, friends, colleagues, students, and strangers. Recently, I heard a podcast from Creighton University that mentions that sacrifice is a reconnection to the sacred. As I think about my Lenten sacrifice this year, I consider this time to be a way for me to return to my true self: a return to the sacred. I am considering fasting in the material sense, of course, but also in the spiritual sense. What can I fast from to dismantle the ramparts protecting my heart? I am taking into consideration this quote from Matthew Becklo, “The Christian sacrifice is an inversion of all sacrifice, one which tilts the scales back against the community by mirroring the violence back on itself.” 

Suspicion, anxiety and pessimism only breeds more suspicion, anxiety and pessimism. I fall into this trap, as well. But what if we choose to be people who recognize the good, relinquish whatever is holding us back from the good and seek the good in others? How would this vulnerability lead to better, happier, sacramental living? What would it look like if we fast from suspicion to be free to feast on assuming the good; fast from anxiety to be free to feast on Eternal Truth; fast from pessimism to be free to feast on hope? 

My friends in the Lord, what a joyful celebration the Easter season would be! 


Erin Cassidy-Cernanec is the mother to three beautiful children, a wife to an amazing husband and has had the pleasure of teaching some fantastic students over her 16 years at Regis Jesuit.

 

 

JENNIE SCHAAF: THE IMPORTANCE OF CATHOLIC EDUCATION WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY DAVID CARD ’87
2/2/2018

David A. Card '87From David Card ’87, President of Regis Jesuit High School

This month, I am delighted to cede my blog space to Regis Jesuit parent Jennie Schaaf. It is National Catholic Schools week after all, and this reflection simply says it all. Presenting Jennie Schaaf…


The Schaaf Family

Uniforms. Weekly Mass. Extra homework in religion class. For younger kids, Catholic school may seem like a drag. There are memes about “You know you’re a Catholic school kid when...” What there aren’t memes for are the gifts received from being a Catholic school kid. What sets us apart and yet unites us all. 

What adds up, in the end, from surviving the uniforms, attending weekly Mass together and studying Christ’s Word is an identity, an integrity, the knowledge of our personal Origin, Mission and Destiny. There is no greater education. 

I’ve witnessed these 16 years of our oldest daughter’s life, being educated in Catholic schools since preschool, a huge surge in personal growth. The accumulation of this growth has peaked during her time at Regis Jesuit, and I feel blessed to regard this. To say that her father and I are tremendously proud of who she has become is an understatement. And we know that the Regis community has played an integral role in that development. To study academics within the framework of a theological foundation and practice it all through the service of others is a tremendous education received. This is the gift of a Jesuit education. 

This year has been a struggle for our family. Our eighth grader has been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease and has really been battling. We have been challenged, as individuals and as a family. I have witnessed God at work this year perhaps more than ever before. Our Regis family has enveloped our oldest daughter, and our Ave Maria family has carried our other two daughters. There is strength in prayer, and there is strength in the knowledge that there is something greater than us, that brings us all together. In this experience of having a child fight through an illness, I have truly lived; we all have. We’ve learned to fully appreciate the good times and find good in the bad times. 

The personal growth of our eighth grader has also been a sight to behold, and there is much more to come. We have watched her lose some of her childhood and have to grow up very quickly. To question why God allows suffering in a very personal way when you are a teenager is tough. To be able to ask those questions in school and to experience the good that God brings from the bad is a gift of attending Catholic school. In her essay of application for Regis for next year, We had to answer “Why do you want your student to attend Catholic school?” To learn all these lessons, receive God’s love and support through the community and to learn to grow as a person within this framework; this knowledge of one’s Origin, Mission and Destiny; that’s the why. 
My own education has been placed on hold during this year of struggle. I was studying to become a theology teacher, earning my masters at the Augustine Institute. I’ve never felt a greater calling than when I became a mom. Having to stop and turn all my efforts to studying a disease and changing our lifestyle has been hard. What I have learned is to turn daily to Mary and offer up all of my frustrations, fears and anger to her, as no mother has ever experienced suffering as she did. This year has made me stop and question things; our growth as adults doesn’t stop and the gifts received of being Catholic educated has to kick in. I’ve been forced to re-focus, remembering that God has a plan and trusting that all things happen in His time. The knowledge that I’ve received from my three years studying have been put to good personal use during these hard times. And perhaps the day I begin teaching, I will have knowledge from a personal experience that a student and family may need to lean on. 

God places us exactly where we are supposed to be. It may not be the plan we have for ourselves, but if we are open to His calling, we will receive great gifts along the way. I feel blessed that my husband and I were called to send the girls to the Catholic schools, and that we were given the means to do so. My prayer is that they will take all that they have been given and give back great things in this life, placing Christ at the center—AMDG. We’ve already seen that happening and the greatest moments are watching that all unfold. And of course, we hold the moments of hearing them laugh about the Catholic school memes close to our hearts as well. 


Jennie Schaaf and her husband Dave are the parents of Morgan ’19 and future Raider hopefuls Maddie (age 13) and Mollie (age 11). We are pleased to feature Jennie's reflection as the second parent post for Inspire & Ignite.

Nick Fagnant ’02: We Rise Up—The Impact of Service Projects
1/26/2018

“And so the voices at the margins get heard and the circle of compassion widens. Souls feeling their worth, refusing to forget that we belong to each other.” –Fr. Greg Boyle, SJ

I am not the author of this post for Inspire & Ignite as much as I am the compiler. My goal was to share stories from our recently completed Boys Division Service Projects, while our community eagerly anticipates those upcoming for the Girls Division. However, I quickly realized that these stories are best told by those who have lived them. While I have edited a few of the following quotes and stories for grammar, the relationships, reflections and impacts belong to the authors. My hope is that you can open your heart to these stories and insights, and then invite others during and after Service Projects to share their own.

These stories center on The Rise School of Denver, which “provide[s] the highest quality early childhood education for all children, including children with developmental disabilities.” Each classroom is intentionally comprised of 50% of the children experiencing cognitive and physical differences and 50% of children who are typically-developing. 

Regis Jesuit sends four students to the Rise School during each of the division’s Service Projects. My three-year-old nephew, Diego, is one of the children served in this intimate and compassionate community. Regis Jesuit junior Tomas Montoya ’19 spent his last two weeks in Diego’s classroom. I loved dropping by to witness all four of our boys interact with Rise School kids and reflect on everything from their personal vulnerabilities, to sinful social structures, to finding Christ in the eyes of a child who can’t walk or talk. These two weeks are filled with grace, as you will see in the reflections shared here. 

Meghan Klassen, M.Ed. – Director of The Rise School of Denver

The Rise School is an inclusive preschool—meaning we have students with and without disabilities learning side-by-side in the classroom. We have been partnering with Regis Jesuit as a service site for nearly 10 years. As a former Jesuit Volunteer, sister of four brothers who attended RJ, the aunt of a nephew who attends the school and the wife of an alum, who teaches theology at RJ, I already valued the integration of service into RJ's curriculum. I have always been struck by the impact that Service Projects had on my husband and my brothers. More than 20 years later, they can all still tell you where their respective sites were, and how each site opened their eyes to marginalized populations. 

Although we have much to celebrate at the Rise School—our students take their first steps, say their first words, make their first friends, and work toward overall independence here—we know that many people have not had the privilege of working (or in our case, playing) with individuals who have disabilities. This partnership with Regis Jesuit as a service site allows us to expose young men and women to people who have differing abilities. To come to understand in a very tangible way that every child and person is unique, created in God's image and likeness, possessing different challenges and strengths. And that those differences don't have to be intimidating. We can meet each person where he/she is, appreciate her for who he/she is, celebrate the diversity that exists in our classrooms, and learn to recognize and appreciate that diversity out in the greater world.

I am grateful for the opportunity to work with RJ students, to watch them learn and grow from our students, and hopefully carry this experience with them, as my family members have, to remind them to embrace diversity and treat each person they encounter with respect and dignity. 

Tomas Montoya ’19 – RJ Student Serving in the “Ladybugs” Classroom this Year

Over the past two weeks I have worked at the Rise School of Denver assisting in the classrooms and helping to entertain and watch over the students. Those in my specific classroom were three- to four-years old. 

The first day, I was pretty nervous. The first kid to come into the classroom was a little boy named Wes. He could hardly talk and wasn’t able to walk by himself, but I played with and helped him and showed him kindness and patience (both virtues that I usually struggle with but grew into over my time at my service site). By the end of the day, Wes wouldn’t move more than five feet from me. I believe that this was all due to the growth in my patience and kindness that affected him, and all the other students that I encountered, so significantly.

The thing that made the most significant impact on me, that will stick with me as long as I live, is the way all the teachers and students at my site showed love and kindness to each other no matter what their differences were. I hadn’t had much experience with special needs kids, and little kids in general, before my Service Project. When I started paying attention to how kind the teachers, and even the little three-year olds, were to those who may have been so different to them, it made me think about how I have lived my life, and to wonder if I had been kind enough to those different than myself. In my junior theology class, we discussed a concept called “Sacramental Vision,” which is the ability to view all people as gifts of God’s grace. I believe that in seeing how purely kind those little kids treated one another, I recognized that I should be easily willing to put the effort in to view all those different than me as gifts of God’s love.

This realization is what I believe Service Projects are about. They give us the opportunity to give back to those who are in need of our help, while also giving us the opportunity to think about our privilege and how we can better ourselves to best live a Christ-like life and grow our relationship with God and with our fellow people. I will remember these two weeks as long as I live, and I thank my school, my teachers, my service site directors and teachers and the little kids (who probably won’t remember me next week), because they have given me so much joy and so much knowledge on what it is to grow as a man with and for others.

Diego Tejada – Three-year Old Student in the “Ladybugs” Classroom
(Interview with me; pictured right with Tomas)

Do you like your new friend, Tomas? Yes!”

Why? “Because he play with me.”

What do you like to play with your friend Tomas? “Legos!”

Tomorrow is his last day in the Ladybug classroom. Do you want to draw him a picture? “Yes! A car! But why he go back to your school?”

Because he has to learn too. But don’t worry, he’ll come back to visit. “Good.”

Megan Gallagher, M.Ed. – Lead Teacher of the “Ladybugs” Classroom

As a teacher, sometimes it can be difficult having an extra body in your classroom, especially when that extra body is a high school student who oftentimes doesn’t have much, or any experience, in working with young children. In all honesty it’s a lot of work—telling them what’s happening when, what kinds of things would be helpful, which kiddos need extra assistance (but not too much, because we are looking for them to gain independence in a variety of skills), exposing them to age appropriate language…the list goes on. It’s a balancing act—holding the volunteer accountable for being helpful, while also allowing them to sit back and learn about Rise and why what we’re doing is so important.

This is my third year teaching at Rise and having said all the above, I really do enjoy having the Regis volunteers in my classroom. This time was no different. Tomas was eager to help, completing each and every task I asked of him. These tasks varied from cleaning tables and floors, pretending to eat pizza, tacos and muffins, building sandcastles, reading book after book, to being an extra set of hands during our integrated therapy sessions. Tomas tried his hand at everything, and more times than not, succeeded. I thoroughly enjoyed watching him become increasingly more confident within the classroom, asking many different questions about children’s development; though, I especially loved watching him form friendships with my kiddos.

By the time two weeks comes to an end, I’m always sad to see the volunteers go, due to the great amount of help they are, but mostly because I know my kids will talk about them in the coming weeks… in fact, one of my kiddos today said, “Hey look! Mr. Tomas is in one of our books!” I’m not sure the volunteers know the impact they have on our kiddos, but with each one that comes and goes, I am grateful to have given them the opportunity to make these kinds of connections. 

Nick Sangalis ’19 – RJ Student Serving at The Rise School Last Year with Children now in the “Ladybugs” Classroom

During my two weeks at the Rise School last year, I saw God in places I had not expected. I quickly began to understand that, deep down, these kids are not much different than me. Their lives, too, are fueled with passion, and, unaware of their differences, they view life with unfettered vigor. I was especially inspired by Brady, one of kids with whom I worked closely. He emanated such positivity, not despite his disabilities, but because of them. He taught me the most valuable lesson of all: Godliness lies in such an attitude. Life’s meaning comes from living everyday with the joy of Brady.

Carissa Tejada, LCSW - Mother of Diego Tejada and Co-chair of The Rise School Gala

[Our son] Diego liked to tell us about his friend Tomas and what they did that day at school. I appreciate how Tomas and Nick felt comfortable jumping in to the classroom and playing with the Rise students. I love that Service Projects with Regis students give Diego the opportunity to have a diverse type of role models with boys and girls. The more caring people in our son’s life, the better! I hope that Tomas, no matter the career path he chooses, will remember his time at Rise School and the importance of inclusion.

Evan Case ’19 – RJ Student Serving at The Rise School This Year

Over the past two weeks at the Rise School, I have encountered many things I did not expect. Mainly how quickly I would form relationships with the kids, but also on how I perceived things. During our second week, one of our daily reflections asked me how I saw Christ in my Service Project. I started to reflect during the day and think how I could see Christ. Soon I started to realize the likeness between what we were doing and Scripture. A particular passage came into mind while I was thinking of this. That passage being when Jesus cleanses a leper. In the time of this story, lepers were “the others,” “the outsiders.” The lepers were on the borders of town so they couldn't hurt other people, and they had a mark to let everyone know they were lepers. Everyone either feared, scorned or ignored these people, but Jesus without a second thought approached a leper one day and healed his affliction. 

Although we may not be able to heal the disabilities of the kids at this school, we can't just shove them to the side and ignore them. We must let them pass through our “borders” and not just shove them into a special needs classroom. That is how I've seen Christ in my experience personally, and in the Rise School itself.

I teach theology in the Boys Division. In December, we help prepare our juniors for their first Service Projects by beginning to read Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion by Fr. Greg Boyle, SJ. I will let him have the final words: 
“God is compassionate, loving kindness. All we’re asked to do is be in the world who God is. Certainly compassion was the wallpaper of Jesus’ soul, the contour of his heart, it was who he was. I heard someone say once, ‘Just assume the answer to every question is compassion.’”


Nick Fagnant ’02 teaches theology to sophomore and junior boys and English to girls in the Summer Ignatian program, is the moderator of the Rowdies and coaches cross-country. In his nine years at Regis Jesuit, he has also taught Spanish and led the Pastoral and Service Offices in the Boys Division. 

JIM BRODERICK KING ’87: SNOW DAYS--God’s Intrusive Grace, Bidden or Unbidden
1/19/2018

It’s dry. I’m not using the term as Ignatius would to describe bad prayer. I literally mean, Colorado is dry – no precipitation, record aridity, sinking water table, ski resorts losing money, the land is parched. It’s not new to us in the high altitude desert, but we usually can count on a few snow storms this time of year to perk up the thirsty earth. This year is dry. What’s the worst part of it? A scientist will say impact on climate cycles, vegetation and runoff. A civil engineer will think of burdens on reservoirs. The Chamber of Commerce can quote economic impact on tourism. All important. Students and teachers think: snow days.

Are you familiar with the app/website Snow Day Calculator (or one of its many imitators)? Started by a student many years ago, it’s the place we go to get a “scientifically” calculated probability of a snow day or late start during an impending storm. Sure, it may not really be too accurate, but it’s a place of HOPE.

Students not paying attention in class on a Thursday afternoon as skies grow dark outside have a certain edge in their psyche for an unplanned three day weekend—all because they keep refreshing the Snow Day Calculator to see if conditions have changed in five minutes for the snow total the next day. Maybe students don’t know, but some teachers (Who has two thumbs and is typing these words? This guy right here.) are also refreshing the website every two minutes, plus having local news weather websites live streaming and the Weather Channel and the National Weather Service on call.

Honest teachers want that snow day so much more than the students. Teachers shouldn’t bully other teachers, but the closest you’ll come to seeing it is in the faculty room as the snow comes down and some new teacher whines, “How am I going to get through my curriculum if we have a snow day tomorrow?” I don’t know the answer to that question young one, but I’m pretty sure I can answer the question, “Why is my mailbox packed full with wet paper towels and glue?” 

Those of us who have been around RJ for a long time will reminisce about the great ones: the epic of 2003 or the time 20 plus years ago we started the phone chain (before email) to tell everyone on a second consecutive snow day that we were just shutting it all down for Spring Break to be extended to 14 days, or the time we got two snow days while a Kairos group was snowed in at La Foret. How about that feeling when principals, in their undaunted wisdom, call the snow day at 8:00 pm the night before? Glorious! I’m not saying it’s real, but there’s a rumor that one teacher keeps notches on the corner of their desk memorializing snow days in their career.

Why say all this? Because we haven’t had any snow days this year, and I’m thirsty for one. But for me there’s something else operating. Regis Jesuit has a well-earned reputation for gratuitous cancellations. When my friends outside try to insult me for this reputation, I proudly own it…because God loves us. I am generally not one to expect God to answer prayers when I ask really hard or to believe that God answers some prayers and not others just out of spite. But you’ll see many of us resort to the most primitive superstitions and religious rituals and imprecations to conjure a snow day: flushing ice cubes down the toilet, putting a statue of Mary in the window staring outside, sleeping with a spoon under your pillow, wearing pajamas backwards/inside out, etc. And I exhort students not to jinx snow day prospects with their behavior or to tempt fate by looking longingly out the window. I might lead a Latin class in a simple chant: nigat nigat nigat, Deo volente - let it snow, let it snow, let it snow, God willing. Many students and alums know my mantra for many years: SNOW DAYS ARE A MANIFEST SIGN OF GOD’S GRACE – We should not offend God’s desires by doing schoolwork on a snow day; homework is officially cancelled if we get one.

Sure, some silliness! Honestly, though, I have never experienced a snow day that didn’t truly feel like God’s unbidden grace infiltrating our lives like a thief who breaks into our house at night to leave us piles of money and cook us a huge breakfast for the next day. My memories of snow days past are like prayers. There was the time in graduate school when the rare university-wide shut down came and my roommates and I trudged through three feet of snow and total emptiness on busy streets to go to the arcade (adults, explain that to your children) for endless hours and unlimited quarters of Tempest and Joust. In 1998, my wife and I navigated over a mile to a Blockbuster (Remember those?) to rent a movie. (Duh, it was closed.) Snow forts, sledding, cross-country skiing, lazy reading by the fireplace, … Savor it!


c. 2005 The very young Mighty BK girls (Amelia '21 and Madeline '18) catch air in a sled during a great snow day

And somehow, in it all, God knows when we need it the most. We need to slow down. We need the surprise assault of unexpected and compulsory silence. Like throwing a net over us, God buries us in snow and immobilizes us to soothe the anxieties, to relax our physical and mental strains and to embrace us in a tight hold, like a parent trapping a manic child’s flailing arms during a tantrum. Maybe we need that holy paralysis – at home, at school, at work, in our hearts.

Gracious God, it’s dry – literally and figuratively. Force us to stop and abandon our plans. Loving God, send the snow!

Upcoming: See the calendar of the Ignatian Spirituality Program of Denver for details on a retreat for young adults in Sedalia, a Lenten day of prayer and a five-week Easter retreat series.

Bonus: For the three or four people who read this blog every month, a copy of Fr. Greg Boyle’s new book, Barking to the Choir to the first person who emails me with the subject line “I read your dumb blog, now give me the book!”


Jim Broderick King ’87 is Regis Jesuit’s Ignatian Identity Coordinator. He also teaches Latin, theology, English and even Ancient Greek in the odd year. He is in his 23rd year of teaching at his alma mater and 25th year overall. His posts for Inspire & Ignite appear the third Friday of every month during the school year.

David Card ’87: The Search is On
1/12/2018

David A. Card '87In November, Regis Jesuit’s Board of Trustees approved an exciting plan to restructure our administrative organization. This announcement was the result of ten months of study and discernment by the Organizational Assessment Steering Committee (OASC), which formed recommendations for the Board. You can read more details about this announcement and process here.

Recommendation number one is that Regis Jesuit will have an overall, cross-divisional principal reporting to the president, and our search for this position has begun. To be sure, the principal will play a key role in the implementation of our plan and in helping us realize its goals, namely: to streamline the organizational structure to enable clear communications and sound, timely decision-making; to protect and foster the individual learning and development needs of girls and boys; to ensure that students have primarily a single-gender educational experience; and to sustain or improve the quality of education our students receive. A key foundational principle is that we expect to achieve a stronger identity for Regis Jesuit overall than those of the divisions.

Today, the Principal Search Committee has been named. I thank these individuals for the service they will give to this important search. I will rely on this group to extend my vision in identifying and hiring this key position. As I consider the qualities and characteristics I am looking for, here are a few descriptors that come to mind:

  • Someone who has demonstrated that they can provide leadership for mission
  • An experienced and excellent educator who can lead comprehensive program evaluation
  • Someone who lives and is able to promote our Catholic/Jesuit mission and identity
  • A person of integrity and excellent communication skills
  • A person who is able to cultivate leadership in others and empower them to use it
  • A person who is ready to accentuate the opportunities afforded by our unique, co-divisional model
  • A person of vision who can ensure ongoing excellence and relevance to an increasingly diverse student body

I imagine several of these characteristics are highly valued by many in our community, but we don’t intend to simply wonder about this. Within the next two weeks, the search committee will invite our community to help us focus our search by participating in a survey in which they can give input on the qualities and characteristics we need to have in our new principal. I hope we will have broad participation. With this input, we will clearly articulate the qualities and attributes we are looking for. It is our goal to have our principal in place by this summer.

Additionally, as this message arrives in your email box, our Transition Leadership Team will be in the midst of its kickoff retreat. It’s a big day, and I’m looking forward to it. This group will advise me on the best way to implement the new organizational structure’s essential hypotheses and help us carry the work of the OASC to implementation. They will be a great help to me and to our new principal in being ready to sustain the programs and quality we all expect as the transition occurs. RJ community members are encouraged to bring their questions to any of these members along the way, and we will continue to post frequent updates to our Regis Jesuit 2020: A Sharper Vision site.

So there is plenty of activity going on, and we are blessed with many leaders on our campus who are committed to this ‘Sharper Vision,’ and to sustaining and building upon the tradition of excellence at Regis Jesuit High School. I thank each of them for committing to the effort and I hope you will join me in giving them your encouragement. I know we all look forward to arriving at the destination.

AMDG


This is David Card's '87 second year as Regis Jesuit's President. His posts for Inspire & Ignite appear once a month, generally on the first Friday, throughout the school year.  

Remembering Ken Bostdorff
12/22/2017

On Monday, December 18, 2017, our community lost a dear friend, colleague and administrator. Boys Division Academic Assistant Principal Ken Bostdorff passed away after a long and hard-fought battle with cancer. 

Ken worked at Regis Jesuit for 12 years. Prior to that, he had been an administrator for Sheridan Public Schools. Under his sometimes gruff exterior beat a heart of gold. He was an educator to his core and strong advocate for students. That is evident in the testimonials and memories those who worked closely with Ken over the years shared for this post for Inspire & Ignite

Friend and educator. Ken always focused on the academic and personal needs of each student as he helped them create an educational plan for success. He had the ability to elicit the desired response from a student without stating it himself. Everyone respected his opinion, his insight, his thoughtfulness, his friendship. We will miss you, my friend.
- Charlie Saulino, retired RJ boys math teacher and administrator

Working with Ken for seven years has been a blessing. He was a great mentor and the best advocate for students in the building. I will always remember him telling me to “slow down,” for making time for the counselors and working with us in such a supportive and respectful manner. His honesty, guidance, funny jokes and knowledge of the educational system will be missed!
- Dana Bauer, chair of the Boys Counseling Office and acting Boys Academic Assistant Principal

Ken and I served as academic assistant principals for Regis Jesuit from 2006-14. We developed a good working relationship over the years. Ken, in many ways, was a mentor to me. More importantly, Ken and I developed a friendship; one I really valued. Ken was an extremely generous and big-hearted person. Without fail, each time we would get together, Ken would ask how Kim and Cecilia [my wife and daughter] were doing. His interest in my family was genuine and sincere. Ken and Yara were especially wonderful to Cece. I am so very grateful for that. God bless Ken Bostdorff!
- Peter Reiser, co-chair of the Girls Counseling Office and former Girls Academic Assistant Principal

“Refresh my memory…your name again?”
“SLOW DOWN…”
“Think…”
“Easy button!”
“Boys….Take care of business!!!”
These are all the sayings that were Ken and made us love him so. He was loving, caring and hard on all of us, but we always knew that he cared. Ken was such a special man and saw the potential in everyone he encountered. He will be deeply missed by his extended family.
- Ann Eazor, Boys Main Office Administrative Assistant

I am deeply grateful for Ken’s leadership and service to the Regis Jesuit mission. Ken animated the Ignatian vision everyday though his guidance and counseling of our students on their academic journeys, coordination of massive amount of moving parts to academic schedules and his example of living as a man for others with and for his colleagues and our students. He faced his illness with the courage and indifference, knowing that he was in God’s hands. We can’t fully express our sadness over the loss of this humble Ignatian leader, and we will miss him dearly. Rest in peace Ken, and thank you.
- David Card ’87, RJ President

I worked with Ken close to 20 years at Sheridan High School and then again at RJ. I still remember the day I got the call from Regis Jesuit High School and Ken was on the other end of the line asking me if I would like to help him with the master schedule. Eight years later I had tears in my eyes as I left for retirement for the second time. Ken and I agreed on our educational priorities—the students must always be first. We became close friends, celebrated the good times and leaned on one another during some struggles. I will miss him dearly but I will work hard at recalling so many of the fun memories we have made together.
-Marsha Caldwell, retired boys counselor

When I was pregnant with my first child, I was due on August 10. Ken would joke with me that I should just hold out until August 16 because that was his birthday. I was determined that I would not deliver late! Wouldn’t you know, my son was born on August 16. Every time he came in the office, Ken would remind him that they were birthday buds and make him feel so special. God speed, Ken.
- Amanda Shepherd, Communications Coordinator

One of the best parts about our current structure is that I got to work so closely with Ken. Whenever the principals tasked us with coming up with a special schedule or the CollegeBoard announced new rules for administering AP tests, we were able to work together and help each other out. Ken never once hesitated to help when I asked, and I appreciated his experience and perspective. In every conversation I had with him about curriculum or policies, his first concern was always the impact on students, and his tireless advocacy on their behalf is an inspiration. One of my favorite memories with Ken is being at the after-prom, with Ken dealing hands of blackjack for the other administrators until nearly dawn, sharing stories of his time in education. You are missed, friend.
- Ryan Williamson, Girls Academic Assistant Principal

Ken was a great decision-maker and a man filled with compassion and care. This was evident to me by the many people who came to him for guidance, advice and help. He cared deeply for his friends, his work family and the students here at RJ. It was wonderful to see alumni return to school to thank him for his direction and the “tough love” he showed them.
- Tina Schaaf, Boys Registrar

Ken the Problem Solver. If a student or a teacher had a problem, Ken would help him look at it squarely and take positive steps to improve the situation. This approach—honest, direct, and practical—is part of what made him an effective administrator. His strong desire was to help students become better students and teachers become better teachers. He cared about them—not just in terms of their performance but as human beings. Many of us learned much from Ken. We appreciate his tutelage and are grateful for his friendship. We’ll miss him.
- Mike Buckley ’63, retired Boys Assistant Principal for Faculty & Curriculum

JIM BRODERICK KING '97: YOU WANT TO ANIMATE THE IGNATIAN VISION? THEN ASK FOR THE GIFTS OF THE SPIRITUAL EXERCISES
12/15/2017