Megan Adzima: Finding Joy in Challenge
Written by Lauren Kloser
Megan Adzima was going to do this for Joy. She wasn’t feeling particularly joyful thinking about it; in fact, she was feeling a little nervous and a little awkward. But if energetic toe touches with high kicks and enthusiastic renditions of “Waves of Mercy” with choreographed dance moves for high schoolers was what Joy required, then Megan was going to shed her self-consciousness and dive right in.
Over the two years of her ACE experience at Bishop John J. Snyder High School in Jacksonville, Florida, Megan had seen Campus Minister Joy Pichardo’s exuberant invitation to the faith draw students in and make them feel comfortable talking about their faith journeys. Megan had decided to stay at the school to teach and work in Campus Ministry with Joy, but Joy needed to take some time off for her health, so Megan found herself in the position of trying to create the atmosphere that Joy’s effusive personality had generated. As she continued to work with the students, she found that her desire to help form her students’ faith overcame any nervousness or worry she might have, and she came to understand how Joy’s same dedication to giving back had made her a role model for both the teachers and the students.
Megan’s experience with Campus Ministry was relatively new; it was only her senior year at Villanova when she went on her first retreat. The retreats with her students at Bishop Snyder made her realize how formative the high schools years could be, as students were starting to become more active in the way they chose to live their faith. Megan wanted to stay at her ACE school to keep learning how to connect students with their spiritual development. Her favorite part about working with Campus Ministry was the responsiveness of the office: retreats and programs were not rote or automatic, but instead Joy and Megan worked to provide students with what they needed at that moment and tried to connect the right tools and resources with the right students. Each day, they cared for each individual student while also building community between students at their school.
Megan’s desire to keep learning took her next to ACE in Chile (ChACE), which offered her a new perspective on Catholic education and enhanced her desire to continue working for the mission of Catholic schools. After ChACE, Megan found her next job through the Latino Enrollment Institute at ACE when she connected with one of the presenters who was looking for a director of Hispanic recruitment for the Catholic Schools Foundation in Boston. Once again, Megan took on the task of looking at another perspective of Catholic education: her work for the Catholic Schools Foundation took her out of the classroom and into the world of scholarships and financial need. The Catholic Schools Foundation is committed to providing families with financial need an opportunity to give their sons and daughters a quality education, focused on Christian values and character formation at Catholic schools located throughout the Archdiocese of Boston. Megan provided hands-on support and services to Hispanic families and schools by creating opportunities for language support, financial aid workshops, parent ambassador/Madrinas programs, and professional development.
After two years of building the program for Hispanic Recruitment, Megan took on her current role as Allocations and Partnerships Director, where she oversees the foundation’s funding priorities and finds ways to best help their students in Boston. She now spends a lot more time looking at spreadsheets than interacting with students on a daily basis, but at the heart of all her work still lies the possibility of joy that started her on her path. With each scholarship, Megan helps to create opportunities for students to continue working on their faith and building communities of Catholic identity all over the diocese of Boston.
Megan has worked her way through a number of different roles in the Catholic school system: she has worked with fellow students, as a teacher, with families, in connection with school leaders, in contact with donors, and has seen almost every angle of how the mission of Catholic schools is accomplished. In each of these roles, Megan has found that the challenge to move beyond her comfort zone allows her to keep finding new joy-filled ways that advance the mission of Catholic schools.
Megan served as an AmeriCorps member at Bishop J. Snyder High School in Jacksonville, Florida.
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