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Ignatian Solidarity Network: The Ignatian Family Teach-In

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Jolie Morrison

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Ignatian Solidarity Network: The Ignatian Family Teach-In

Taken by History teacher, Thomas Larsson

Taken by History teacher, Thomas Larsson

Taken by History teacher, Thomas Larsson

Taken by History teacher, Thomas Larsson

At Xavier College Prep, those students who share an interest in advocating for social rights, as well as an interest in open discussion, had the opportunity to travel to Washington D.C. An application process vetted students for this experience. The students who were accepted traveled to Washington D.C. to the annual Ignatian Family Teach-In, hosted by the Ignatian Solidarity Network. The Ignatian Family Teach-In is a conference designed to bring together Ignatian students and teachers who are willing to discuss the issues of social justices in contemporary society while simultaneously examining them through the lens of the Catholic Faith.

On November 1st twelve Xavier students and two faculty members left for Washington D.C. The group consisted of Juniors: Adele Benson, Savanah Bogue, Janey Castoe, Gabriel Lugo, Dalton Kramer, Jolie Morrison, and Prycilla Sanchez;  Seniors: Griffin Forti, Emily McGowen, Rebecca Phillips, and Kiana Rodriquez, and Faculty Members Ms.Monez and Mr.Larsson. Two of the five days were travel days to and from Washington D.C. while the other three days were spent at the conference attending breakout sessions, and mingling with other Jesuit students from high schools, colleges, and universities from across the country. Students also had the opportunity to lobby Senators about issues important to them.

Ethics and Philosophy teacher, Amanda Montez

Ethics and Philosophy teacher, Amanda Montez, was one of the faculty members in attendance at the Teach-In. As a student at LMU, Loyola Marymount University, Ms.Montez was graced with the opportunity of attending the Ignatian Family Teach-In three times. Now as a teacher at Xavier she accompanies the students interested in going, making 2018 Teach-In her fifth. In an interview regarding details of the trip, she stated, “My favorite part of the trip is the connections that students make with other schools. I loved that we got to spend time with my alma mater, LMU, while also getting dinner with Mr.Larsson’s alma mater, BC High.” One of the key benefits that resulted from the Ignatian Family Teach-In is the amazing relationships built among students, professors, and advocates. Allowing for such a large group of motivated young adults to come together enabled the possibility of change and for the collection of voices. In alignment with creating a collection of voices, Ms. Montez said, “The conference is a really good reminder that student voices can be powerful. I think back to the walkout that happened last school year. That would not have happened had those students not gone to the teach-In.” The Teach-In is a way for students to expand their values utilizing both faith and connections with other attendees.

Adam Jensen, a Senior at Saint Xavier High in Cincinnati, Ohio was among the students who bonded with the Xavier group. While waiting for the Metro, Xavier students noticed the young men from Cincinnati who also sported their Xavier gear and began to strike up a conversation. Nearly an hour later the two groups parted ways but Adam reached out to the group and kept in touch. During a phone interview with Adam, he spoke about his favorite moment from the trip saying, “I really enjoyed meeting new people from other schools. It gave me the opportunity to reach out and potentially make new friends.”

When attending a conference of nearly two thousand individuals, it is inevitable that there will be various and at times differing opinions. Through group discussions, breakout sessions, and reflection periods, students had the opportunity to examine others’ viewpoints. “The most important aspect that I’ve taken away from this whole experience is that I have learned how to better listen to others’ opinions and moral beliefs and see how they may shape mine,” Adam stated. Speaking with students like Adam allowed for authentic relationships to form, even if those relationships may stretch across the nation.

Seniors Kiana Rodriguez and Emily McGowan with Senator Kamala Harris representative.

Kiana Rodriguez, a Senior at Xavier College Prep, was among the twelve students who attended the conference. After first hearing about the opportunity in the early weeks of October, Kiana filled out her application and waited for approval. “I applied for the Teach-In because I was interested in learning more about social issues after completing my Junior service hours with marginalized communities,” Kiana said. Alongside another student, Emily McGowan, Kiana spoke with California’s Senator, Kamala Harris. Kiana and Emily passionately presented to their Senator advocating for immigration reform while sharing personal stories and testimonials. While reminiscing about the trip, Kiana disclosed, “My favorite part of the trip was the last day, Advocacy Day. On this day we directly talked to our Senators and Representatives. It is so encouraging to know that we are already beginning to make a difference in society as young students.” After hearing from students from varying districts, Senator Harris answered any and all questions, alleviating the nerves of many. 

Held annually, The Ignatian Family Teach-In establishes a foundation for the young activist to generate change. The 2018 theme, Discipleship at the Crossroads, reminded attendees that God calls each individual to venture beyond their comfort zones and help those whose dignity has not yet been recognized. The twelve students who attended this year were engaged in breakout sessions referencing a multitude of topics, more fully developed their beliefs and value system, and networked with individuals who may further impact their futures. As stated by attendee Jolie Morrison, “This experience is one of a kind. For any student interested, take this opportunity to gain the information needed to advocate our futures.”

 

 

 

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About the Writer
Jolie Morrison, Writer

I am currently a Junior at Xavier College Prep. For the last three years, I have been on the Varsity track, and, as a Sophomore, I qualified for DVL. I...

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Ignatian Solidarity Network: The Ignatian Family Teach-In