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Finding Community at April Retreat

Friday, May 11, 2018 by Emma Doerfler, ACE 25 - Stockton

ACE 25 April Retreat

A weekend full of prayer, learning, and relationship building came to an abrupt close for the off-campus members of ACE 25. As April Retreat ended on a Sunday afternoon, we waited for the bus to take us from Notre Dame to the Chicago airport. Someone announced that the bus had been cancelled. Before we could panic, the ACE Pastoral Team concocted a plan: we would pile into their cars, race to the South Bend station, and catch the train scheduled to leave in 10 minutes. “When you get to the train, just get on!” they told us. “You can buy your tickets later, but you have to get on board!”

Fighting the Good Fight to Finish the Race

Thursday, April 05, 2018 by Dan Brndjar - ACE 24, Atlanta

Dan Brndjar Marathon

Twenty miles down, three hours into the race, and my left quad starts cramping. This is really hard. This hurts. Why did I sign up for this? How am I going to finish? With these thoughts racing through my mind, a runner passes by me uttering words of encouragement: “This is what we trained for! We can do it! Just keep going!” Spectators on the sidewalk enthusiastically cheer, urging us onward. The negative thoughts start to pass away. Here we go. For the kids. I have to finish. Upon crossing the finish line of the Georgia Marathon little over an hour later, several ACE friends immediately swarm around me, congratulating me on finishing. Limping over to the ACE tent, I began to celebrate with the 40 other teachers who had all come to Atlanta from across the country to run, cheer, and fundraise for St. Peter Claver Regional Catholic School. Time passed, and the pain subsided amid good food and great fellowship. Over these next few hours, I began to reflect on all that had just happened. I began to see that this marathon experience really is a great metaphor for my first year in ACE.

"Window Moments" in Brownsville

Thursday, March 22, 2018 by Kelly Griffith - ACE 23, Brownsville

Kelly Griffith Window Moments

Saying “yes” to ACE was the most hesitant “yes” I have ever said. For the first time, I jumped blindly into something with no way of knowing how I might come out on the other side.

Community in ACE: Stockton, CA

Friday, March 16, 2018 by ACE Stockton

The members of ACE Teaching Fellows in Stockton provide a look into their experiences of living as a community.

Seeking the Living Sacrament in the Classroom: Part Two

Friday, March 09, 2018 by Daara Jalili - ACE 24, LA East

 Seeking the Living Sacrament in the Classroom (Part Two)

I was once told that small acts of love–routine or not–were called “lower-case-s” sacraments, for they brought God’s grace into our lives. My life each day as a math and science teacher at Cantwell Sacred-Heart of Mary High School in East Los Angeles is rich with these small signs of God’s grace. Yet, even as I write this reflection, I find myself hesitant to share the anecdote from the first part of this reflection. After all, we are called during these 40 days of Lent to cleanse body and mind in order to receive God’s ultimate sacrifice. We are called to prepare ourselves for the Living Sacrament–capital S. With an act of such infinite self-giving love on the horizon–one that is the very center of our faith–why would I share such a seemingly inconsequential story?

Seeking the Living Sacrament in the Classroom: Part One

Wednesday, March 07, 2018 by Daara Jalili - ACE 24, LA East

 Lenten Blog

After observing Ash Wednesday to start Lent, we have been thrust into a season of intentional reflection and prayer. As a Catholic educator, I feel called not only to prepare lesson plans and materials for my students in these 40 days but to also curate opportunities for my students to reflect on the season of Lent in the classroom. The first of these opportunities for students was one that is a staple among Catholic school-teachers across this country. I had students write down their Lenten promises on small purple pieces of paper and posted them on a bulletin board.

A Great Decision at First-An Even Better One in Retrospect

Friday, February 09, 2018 by Connor Bliss - ACE 24, Mission TX

connor bliss

As I think back on my decision to say “yes” to ACE nearly a year ago, so much in my life since that moment that has confirmed that I am where I am meant to be. When I started my final year of college, I found myself in a position that is familiar to many seniors with an interest in education: I needed to choose between the countless alternative teacher certification programs that dot the country. In the moment, the only thing that mattered to me was picking the program that would best prepare me to walk into a classroom sometime in mid- to late August for my first day of school. On these grounds, ACE stood out to me based on the qualities that have made it a world-renowned program (intensive summer coursework and practicum placement, excellent academic support from a team of extremely accessible faculty, ability to earn a free Master of Education degree from the University of Notre Dame–the list goes on and on).

"Why is This Model of Learning Not Standard Across the Nation?"

Monday, February 05, 2018 by Elizabeth Anthony

Trustey STEM Teaching Fellows RISE Summit

I recently had the privilege of joining my colleagues from the Notre Dame Center for STEM Education for the third annual RISE Summit in Palo Alto, California. The RISE Summit is an opportunity for Trustey Family STEM Teaching Fellows–some of the nation’s most outstanding STEM teachers who take part in a multiyear professional development program through the Center–to gather, reflect, collaborate, and grow. As if a trip to California in January was not enough on its own, I was overjoyed by the enthusiasm, curiosity, and determination of the 56 Fellows. I learned so much from these outstanding teachers throughout our short workshop on blended learning, and I wanted to share one of the most important takeaways and one of the most interesting discussions from our session.

Why ACE? 7 Reasons, Factors, and Motivators

Wednesday, January 24, 2018 by Caroline Rooney, ACE 25 Intern

Caroline Rooney Why ACE? 7 Reasons, Factors, and Motivators

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:

The Epitome of Perseverance

Thursday, January 04, 2018 by Katie Heussman, ACE 23 – LA South Central

ACE 23 Kaite Heussman Perseverance

I often lament the hardships the we face as educators, complaining to housemates or anyone who will listen, and too infrequently acknowledge the resilience of my students. One student in particular, John, a sixth-grade student at Holy Trinity, displays his perseverance despite his circumstances.

A Few Thoughts on Vocation and Education

Monday, December 18, 2017 by Dr. Ernest Morrell

The following was taken from a presentation given to current ACE Teaching Fellows by Dr. Ernest Morrell at the 2017 December Retreat. 


Vocation and Education Ernest Morrell

The next day John was there again with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he said, “Behold, the Lamb of God.” The two disciples heard what he said and followed Jesus. Jesus turned and saw them following him and said to them, “What are you looking for?” They said to him, “Rabbi” (which translated means Teacher), “where are you staying?” He said to them, “Come, and you will see.” So they went and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day. - John 1: 35-39

“Are Y’all the New ACE Teachers?”

Friday, November 17, 2017 by Patrick Scheuring - ACE 23, Plaquemine

Patrick Scheuring ACE 23 Baton Rouge

One of my first memories of Plaquemine, Louisiana, was the day after I arrived. My community and I decided to go to Mass at the local church, and I remember a feeling of discomfort coming over me as we walked in. Here we were, strangers in an already tight-knit community, and the stares of the parishioners reminded me of that fact. When Mass ended, a middle-aged couple in front of us turned around and asked, “Are y’all the new ACE teachers?” Our cover was blown! In a town where everyone knew everyone, I suppose it was an easy assumption, but what followed felt like the love of Christ shining through this special place.

Collecting Hope in the Wake of Hurricane Harvey

Wednesday, November 08, 2017 by Amanda Walsh - ACE 23, New Orleans

Amanda Walsh Collecting Hope Hurricane Harvey

When my second graders at St. Joan of Arc School in New Orleans heard about Hurricane Harvey, the news struck them particularly hard. Many of them have relatives in Houston, and the images of the flooding and destruction were difficult to comprehend. After my principal asked our classrooms to figure out how we could help, we decided that we wanted to do something besides hosting a classroom food drive. We created a community action plan, which included asking not just our friends and family members for donations, but also asking our neighbors.

A Good Shot to the Ego

Saturday, October 14, 2017 by Thomas Yarcusko - ACE 23, Chicago

Yarcusko Blog

I must admit that I’ve always struggled with being humble. That’s why there’s nothing quite like a good shot to the ego. 

No Longer a New Face in the Crowd

Sunday, October 01, 2017 by By: Adam Farchone - ACE 23, Tampa

ACE Tampa 2017-18

During my second ACE summer, I heard a lot of stories from ACE grads about the second-year teaching experience. Maybe it was because I asked more questions, or maybe it was because these seasoned ACErs saw the curiosity in my eyes and were more than willing to offer a few pieces of advice to an eager almost-second-year teacher.

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