Walking into Accepted Applicants Night for ACE 24, I am not sure what I expected. I did feel one thing for certain–a slight sense of trepidation. I received an email a week earlier from my principal at Holy Names High School in Oakland, California, so I knew where I would be living, but a huge piece was still missing. Who exactly would be living with me? Who are my community members? Will they be down for random Hamilton jam sessions at odd hours of the day? Will they be willing to look at countless pictures of my baby niece and still feign interest every time? Are they nervous like I am? Did they have to look up where exactly in California Oakland is like I did? Do they love board games? Are they coffee or tea people?
I made my way to the poster boards in the back of the room and looked at the pictures of my future roommates. Surprisingly, their photos answered none of my questions. I still had no idea who these people were, but I made eye contact with Elena Silla, one of my future community members, and she gave me a huge hug. Her excitement and pure joy overwhelmed me, and for the first time since walking into the room, my nerves began to ease. A few minutes later, we all sat down, and Fr. Lou DelFra, CSC, welcomed us with this scripture from the Gospel of John:
“So, during supper,
fully aware that the Father had put everything into his power
and that he had come from God and was returning to God,
he rose from supper and took off his outer garments.
He took a towel and tied it around his waist.
Then he poured water into a basin
and began to wash the disciples' feet
and dry them with the towel around his waist.”
As he read these verses, I felt a profound sense of pressure build within me. What had I gotten myself into? Fr. Lou explained how God was calling us, as teachers, to follow in the actions of Christ, to humble ourselves for our students, and to “wash their feet.” The way we were being called to serve was not in some great cosmic way; rather, it was “simple.” It was to teach and to love our students as Christ loves us, which is a challenge I was not sure I am cut out for.
But then I listened to my future classmates’ names be read along with their placements. I watched their pictures flash up on the screen, and this time their pictures offered a little more clarity. It did not matter whether or not my community members were versed in the greatness that is Hamilton or whether or not they were tea or coffee drinkers. What mattered was that deep sense of joy and excitement that Elena was able to express to me in a simple hug. What mattered was that they were taking up the call to serve Christ and their students, and they would be with me on this journey. They will be there when I have a bad day and everything about my lesson plan fails. They will be there when seeing a picture of my niece only makes me miss her more. They will be there when I don’t think I am cut out for the job and feel that profound sense of pressure build within my heart again, and they will be there for me, everyday, as witnesses to Christ’s beautiful sacrifice.
Interested in becoming an ACE Teacher? Visit ace.nd.edu/teach and request more information.