In the last book of the Bible, God says, “Behold, I make all things new” (Rv. 21,15). This echoes an earlier assertion of God urging the people not to “dwell on days gone by” because God is doing “a new thing” (Is. 43,19). Both of these passage came to mind when I looked back on the first weeks of Verb’s 2019-2010 school year and realized how accurately “new” captures so much of Verbum Dei today.
In late August, Verb received a large batch of new students, a sizeable cohort of new faculty, and several new Jesuits. Verb is not pining over “days gone by,” but enthusiastically welcoming new people, new programs and new possibilities. Over 100 freshman have settled into campus life and some of them are participating in a new course designed to equip them with keyboard skills, excel mastery and basic web competence—all skills that our corporate partners highly value and have long desired in prospective employees.
Six new faculty members—3 from LMU’s credential program—will be teaching math, science, writing, and Spanish. We warmly embrace new faculty, not simply because they fill teaching positions, but because they also bring new energy, different perspectives and fresh ideas. Among our new staff members is Melanie Guerrero, who will be the face and voice of the front office. Jesuit Bro. Frederico Gianelli is also new to Verb Dei, where he serves as director of faith formation programs and working with campus ministry. Another new Jesuit at Verbum Dei is Fr. Roger De la Rosa, who comes from the Provincial Office in Portland to teach physics and chemistry. Verb hit a new Jesuit high with four among its faculty/staff. Brittany Bradley, formerly of is our new College. Verb enthusiastically welcomed Brittany Bradley as its new Director of College Counselling. Ms. Bradley hit the ground running with an engaging presentation to faculty on the college selection and application process.
Those of us who were part of the crowd at the opening of the football season on Friday, August 23 at Pius-Mathias’ new field saw new coach Marquis Bowling’s energized Verb squad in their new uniforms turn in a stellar team performance to defeat Firebaugh 34-16. Aug. 31, 1pm at Pius Mathias is your opportunity to see Verb’s football team in action against St Monica’s.
This year we introduced a new curriculum for Freshman that includes two English courses, one devoted exclusively to writing skills and the other to literature and reading. We are confident that this intensive language arts focus will better prepare students for college, where writing is critically important for success. The Principal, Dr. Odom, has introduced a new administrative team structure to provide strong support for teachers and a data-based approach to learning that will chart the progress of each student in verbal and quantitative areas as well as identify areas where students need additional instruction. Verb is putting all the pieces in place to make sure it lives up to its new vision of being “most successful at preparing young men of color to graduate from college and lead Spirit-filled lives of purpose and meaning.”
“New” occurs at least 20 times in the above reflection. It may be overused but it certainly gives you a sense of how much has changed here and how enthusiastically and confidently Verb embraces a future rich with promise for its students, their families and the communities they will ultimately serve.