Each year in November, a few students and their chaperones head east to Washington, D.C. to participate in the annual Ignatian Family-Teach In. This year’s theme is “Mercy in Action” in keeping with Pope Francis’ Year of Mercy.
This gathering gives our students the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of particular social justice issues. This year’s advocacy priorities are criminal- justice and immigration reform. Our students, along with students from other Jesuit high schools and universities from across the country, Mexico, El Salvador, and Canada, will gather to learn about the issues in greater detail, and advocate in meetings with members of Congress. We are currently scheduled to meet with Senator Diane Feinstein’s, and Representative Mimi Walters’ offices on Capitol Hill, and our students are busy conducting their research and practice sessions in preparation for these meetings.
It has become a tradition during this trip to fit visits to Verbum Dei alumni who are attending area universities into our schedule. We will be visiting, and taking campus tours, with class of 2015 alum, Nicholas Spates, and class of 2013, Michael Martin, who currently attend Georgetown University, and class of 2015 alum, Clifford Peeples, who is attending Howard University.
Often times, these trips come with a lot of “firsts” for our students; first time in Washington DC, first time speaking with congressional representatives and/or their aides, and even first time on an airplane. It is an amazing opportunity to experience the political process in the role of advocate, in the keeping with our mission of developing men for and with others.