Happiness and Gratitude

Happiness and gratitude is what I feel when I reflect on my seven year journey at Verbum Dei. I never imagined I would be working in a school so close to the place I called home as a child. My passion has always been teaching and helping others. As a child I would take every opportunity to teach – teach my siblings, my neighbors, I even gave my babysitter English lessons.

Today, as a counselor I’m given the opportunity to teach my students skills – skills to succeed in high school and beyond. During the fall semester I visit my freshmen twice a month during bridge class, and facilitate guidance lessons to support their transition from middle school to high school. I give them tools that will help them succeed and reach their goals and their academic potential. During my time with them we discuss time management, organization, communication skills, and study skills. In addition, several lessons focus on topics related to personal/social issues such as stress, anxiety, bullying, and mental health. The goal is to prepare students to cope with daily stressors and learn how to problem solve.

The greatest reward is when students celebrate their success with me. The other day a student walked into my office with the biggest smile on his face “Mrs. Rodriguez, have you seen my grades?” His hard work paid off and he got rid of some F’s on his progress report. Another student surprised me with an appreciation email, “I just wanted to thank you for being part of my journey here and at Verb and for listening to all my problems when I’ve had them”.

Happiness and gratitude! Thank you parents for allowing me to teach your sons, thank you students for allowing me to support you and guide you, and thank you Verb for allowing me to live out my passion.

 

School Update

Greetings! We have had a great start to the academic year, and have just completed Interim Assessments week! Verbum Dei scholars have been studying, reviewing and taking their exams all week.

Verbum Dei High School has been very fortunate to collaborate with Seattle Prep in Washington for the 3rd year along with the Jesuit Virtual Learning Academy (Seattle University) in an online course entitled, Arts & Cultural Identity. Ten Verbum Dei students and Ten Seattle Prep students take this course taught by Seattle University professor, Carol Kelly, and earn college credit in the process. We are very proud of the young men who sign up for this course for the extra effort, hard work, and self-discipline it requires of them. Not only do they enjoy a college course experience, but they also get the opportunity to interact through video and online with students from a very different cultural experience.

As VDHS junior, Carter Samuels, stated when asked about the course, “It’s impacted my learning because if I’m writing a response to something, or I am answering a question, usually I only hear what I’m answering, and being able to talk directly to the Seattle Prep students gives me new perspective in what they saw in the response or how they saw the question.” Students of the class also learn to critically analyze a diverse array of art medium. In his response, junior, Ty’on James, remarked, “It has made me see art in a more critical way. I see now how artists think, and what their motivations are when they are making their art.”

Our students are experiencing a rare opportunity to engage with peers from a very different cultural and socio-economic background in discussions surrounding important, current, and relevant issues on culture and identity. Exactly the type of academic experience that not only prepares our students, but Seattle Prep’s students as well, for future engaging post-secondary experiences.

Thank you to Seattle Prep for underwriting the costs of this course for our students, and to VDHS art teachers, Ms. Kennedy who generously gives her time to proctor the course!