Entering into a new community can be an intimidating experience. But sitting in ACE Chaplain Father Joe Carey’s family room at the beginning of the year, I felt at home with the other ACE Interns as we talked about our discernment processes. Talking to FJ, surrounded by my incredible classmates and ACE community leaders—some I knew and some I had just met— we all laughed, listened, and spoke with one another as if we had been long-time friends. I vividly remember feeling so profoundly struck by each person’s vocational journey that guided them to say “yes” to ACE. Inspired by that night and the passionate responses of my ACE community members, I came up with the seven (my lucky number) reasons, factors, and motivators that guided my vocational discernment:
My faith plays an instrumental role in every aspect of my life. Throughout my discernment process, my faith and relationship with God gave me clarity and security. I feel confident that by teaching in a school grounded in the Catholic mission, I will be able to use my faith as a tool to create community, show my students God’s endless love, and encourage my students to live a life of service.
Engaging in service has always been a priority for me and something that brings me true peace and fulfillment. ACE gives each Fellow the chance to serve with the support of a loving community. As an ACE teacher, I am hopeful that I can serve through daily classroom interactions, community involvement, and being a part of the educational and spiritual formation of my students. It is my greatest hope that I will positively impact the lives of the children (and their families), the community, and the school.
I will never forget that in FJ’s family room that night, the most frequent response to the question, “Why ACE?” was hands down, “the people.” The people who form the ACE community are among the most loving, selfless, welcoming, authentic, and brilliant individuals I have ever met. The ACE community supports each teacher, student, professor, and staff member and makes a conscious effort to ensure that each person is loved. I feel so fortunate that I will be able to participate in this community and surround myself with these individuals who uplift, challenge, and love one another and every person they encounter.
4. Changing the Narrative on Education
I hope I can work as a positive force of change in creating an education system where all children, regardless of their immigration status, gender, learning differences, socioeconomic status, or gender, are included and seen as OUR children. Each child deserves an education that empowers them to be the person they are meant to be and to serve others. ACE teachers have the unique opportunity of cultivating classrooms that welcome all children and their families. These micro-level changes have a powerful impact on changing the educational narrative in our country and world.
5. Aligning Myself with the Margins
Father Greg Boyle of Homeboy Industries encourages us to confront and erase the extreme marginalization in our society by going to the margins and standing there together. As a teacher I feel called to provide this educational service, and more importantly, stand with the community and not tolerate the perpetuation of dehumanization, marginalization, and discrimination. God calls us to stand with others in different ways, but I personally feel called to stand as an ACE teacher with students and parents who are underserved and feel voiceless. In the margins, I want to serve, stand, share, teach, live, love, and understand those who are most in need.
6. Embracing Obligation
In one of my courses, Professor Ernest Morrell invited us all to embrace our obligation, not privilege, and ask ourselves, “How can I leverage my gifts to help others?” As a student receiving an incredible education, supported by my family, I have received many gifts, and these gifts are meant to be shared. By saying yes to ACE and a career in education, I am embracing my obligation and using my gifts to serve our children—a truly invigorating proposition!
As the daughter and granddaughter of teachers, my family has provided me with unfailing support throughout this process. I could not be more appreciative of their love and guidance as I pursue my vocation in education. Their lives and dedication to service inspire me and I hope to honor them in everything I do.
As an ACE teacher, I am confident that my passion for education will align with what I do in the classroom. In my heart, I know that I am called to serve through education as a positive force changing the educational narrative for our children. I hope that through my work as a teacher and community member, I will be able to widen this circle of compassion and help re-establish the belief that we belong to each other. By participating in ACE, I know I will be fulfilling my vocation, and I can hardly wait for this journey to begin!
Interested in becoming an ACE Intern like Caroline? Visit ace.nd.edu/internship for more information!