Seminar satisfies seniors

Tatiana Gutierrez
Editor-in-Chief

Senior Kathryn Yu eases into her Monday morning as she grabs a seat in the middle of the semi-circle of desks lining the Duchesne Room, stretches out her legs on top of her backpack on the floor and leans her head back against the wall, while she watches the second half of “Good Will Hunting” during theology class.

The words “test” or “quiz” do not appear on the Senior Theology Seminar syllabus. Instead, class periods often include a student-led seminar about a the film or text assigned that week, pertaining to the Sacred Heart Goals and Criteria.

“Before, I didn’t really pay attention to the Goals and Criteria of our school,” Yu, after leading a seminar on “Good Will Hunting” with two other classmates, said. “Having a better understanding of them after these seminars, I see why our school places an emphasis on them.”

Senior theology teachers Kate McMichael, Paul Pryor Lorentz and Rachel Bundang revised the class last year, referencing a course required by a college where  Bundang previously taught.

“It was a required course for all their students regardless of what their major was,’” Bundang said. “They were asked to take essentially that school’s version of the Goals and Criteria and mix it in with whatever their coursework was. So that if they were going to be in nursing, or if they were going to be an English major or a poli-sci person, they had to answer how do these goals and criteria fit into how you’re preparing yourself to be in the world.”

The seminar style was chosen to prepare the seniors for potential seminar courses offered in college and this style also allows for deeper self-reflection, according McMichael.

“The way to really take something in and make it your own is to have to teach it,” McMichael said. “We were hoping that by the end of your time at Convent, all students would have this opportunity to reflect on who they are and how they’ve been formed — whether they’ve known it or not — by the Goals and Criteria.”

Students leading the seminar must submit a lesson plan the night before class, explaining how they plan on filing the 75 minute class time with discussions, activities and related content, connecting to a Goal of their choice.

“It’s tough finding videos and quotes that relate to the goals because they are unique and specific,” Yu said. “You also don’t have that much time to put together an hour and 15 minute seminar, since there might only be a day in between the class where we finished watching the movie and the seminar.”

Although planning for the class may be difficult, this style promotes a reflective environment, according to Alyssa Viscio (’14).

“It felt more like a meaningful discussion than a class,” Viscio said. “It was laid back and everyone had a chance to speak. It was nice to take a break from any stress or major work to watch films and talk about our Sacred Heart experience.”

The theological component is rooted in the Goals, which themselves are based off of the teachings of the Society of the Sacred Heart, according to Pryor Lorentz.

“The theological connectedness is that the Goals and Criteria are certainly based in the history of the Sisters of the Sacred Heart and Madeleine Sophie Barat’s personal mission to educate young women and now young men,” Pryor Lorentz said. “It’s also based in the Gospel message of love and forgiveness and understanding.”

For the first three quarters, seniors will write a reflection on her growth and present a summary, as well as discuss her reflection to a panel of faculty members.

“We want our seniors to have an opportunity to reflect on who they are having been formed by anywhere from four to 13 years of Sacred Heart education,” McMichael said. “Such as, what difference does that make in who you are, and what difference will it make in the world as you step off the marble stairs, change out of your white dress after graduation, and move on into your future.”

Seniors Sarah Niehaus, Christina Berardi, and Alex Wood (left to right) take notes during a  seminar style senior theology class.
Seniors Sarah Niehaus, Christina Berardi, and Alex Wood (left to right) take notes during a seminar style senior theology class.
Senior Kathryn Yu eases into her Monday morning as she grabs a seat in the middle of the semi-circle of desks lining the Duchesne Room, stretches out her legs on top of her backpack on the floor and leans her head back against the wall, while she watches the second half of “Good Will Hunting” during theology class.
The words “test” or “quiz” do not appear on the Senior Theology Seminar syllabus. Instead, class periods often include a student-led seminar about a the film or text assigned that week, pertaining to the Sacred Heart Goals and Criteria.
“Before, I didn’t really pay attention to the Goals and Criteria of our school,” Yu, after leading a seminar on “Good Will Hunting” with two other classmates, said. “Having a better understanding of them after these seminars, I see why our school places an emphasis on them.”
Senior theology teachers Kate McMichael, Paul Pryor Lorentz and Rachel Bundang revised the class last year, referencing a course required by a college where  Bundang previously taught.
“It was a required course for all their students regardless of what their major was,’” Bundang said. “They were asked to take essentially that school’s version of the Goals and Criteria and mix it in with whatever their coursework was. So that if they were going to be in nursing, or if they were going to be an English major or a poli-sci person, they had to answer how do these goals and criteria fit into how you’re preparing yourself to be in the world.”
The seminar style was chosen to prepare the seniors for potential seminar courses offered in college and this style also allows for deeper self-reflection, according McMichael.
“The way to really take something in and make it your own is to have to teach it,” McMichael said. “We were hoping that by the end of your time at Convent, all students would have this opportunity to reflect on who they are and how they’ve been formed — whether they’ve known it or not — by the Goals and Criteria.”
Students leading the seminar must submit a lesson plan the night before class, explaining how they plan on filing the 75 minute class time with discussions, activities and related content, connecting to a Goal of their choice.
“It’s tough finding videos and quotes that relate to the goals because they are unique and specific,” Yu said. “You also don’t have that much time to put together an hour and 15 minute seminar, since there might only be a day in between the class where we finished watching the movie and the seminar.”
Although planning for the class may be difficult, this style promotes a reflective environment, according to Alyssa Viscio (’14).
“It felt more like a meaningful discussion than a class,” Viscio said. “It was laid back and everyone had a chance to speak. It was nice to take a break from any stress or major work to watch films and talk about our Sacred Heart experience.”
The theological component is rooted in the Goals, which themselves are based off of the teachings of the Society of the Sacred Heart, according to Pryor Lorentz.
“The theological connectedness is that the Goals and Criteria are certainly based in the history of the Sisters of the Sacred Heart and Madeleine Sophie Barat’s personal mission to educate young women and now young men,” Pryor Lorentz said. “It’s also based in the Gospel message of love and forgiveness and understanding.”
For the first three quarters, seniors will write a reflection on her growth and present a summary, as well as discuss her reflection to a panel of faculty members.
“We want our seniors to have an opportunity to reflect on who they are having been formed by anywhere from four to 13 years of Sacred Heart education,” McMichael said. “Such as, what difference does that make in who you are, and what difference will it make in the world as you step off the marble stairs, change out of your white dress after graduation, and move on into your future.”
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