"ACE is unique," says Emily Lazor of the STT community in Jackson, MS, "because it allows you to perform a much-needed civil service while also furthering the Church's mission of evangelism—a combination I found difficult to find in other long-term service programs."
This high school Spanish and Religion teacher has thrown herself into both service and mission this year—and speaks eloquently about what she has gained.
Being an ACE teacher is challenging, she says, but she deeply appreciates her students' excitement about learning Spanish and growing in their faith. "It is wonderful to see the world opened up to them, or to see their confidence grow as they can suddenly speak to you in another language," Emily says.
She continues, "Teaching in a school where prayer is not only accepted but also encouraged has taught me a lot about how acutely aware these students are of others' needs - both locally and around the world. They care deeply for one another, but also for people they have never met and will never meet, and I think a lot of that has to do with the formation they are receiving from a Catholic education."
While she's not been teaching long, Emily testifies to how she has grown from the experience—academically, professionally and spiritually. Much of the credit goes to her students, who have brought her deep joy both in and outside of the classroom. "I try my best each day to offer them something meaningful," she says, "but I am always humbled that more often than not they are teaching me about what is important, true, and beautiful about life. Being able to thank them and in turn affirm them for that is truly a gift."