This past Tuesday, I started my day learning about the film industry's historical portrayal of mental illness and the impact of that portrayal on teenagers. Then, I learned about the geopolitical, sociological, and economic causes of Mexican immigration to the US. It was a full start to the day and Cristo Rey Jesuit seniors were the instructors!
As part of the final exam for our seniors' Advanced Placement (AP) Research class, students were responsible for presenting to adult panelists their theses, research methods, data collection processes, analyses, and conclusions. I was so impressed to hear about the topics our students were researching. Students were passionate about the topics they chose and spoke about their topics from an informed, research-based perspective. Clearly, the critical thinking, communication, intellectual curiosity, unique research, and personal experience made these projects more than a grade. They were opportunities for our students to experience the intellectual exploration and depth that is at the heart of our Jesuit mission.
When our team set out to open Cristo Rey Jesuit in Milwaukee six years ago, our baseline objective was to craft an academic experience that would prepare our students for college and careers. Missionally, we aspired to achieve much more with our academic program, however. We hoped that our students would have the opportunity to ask and pursue life's "big questions", search for truth, and spark an intellectual curiosity that would promote a disposition towards lifelong learning to be used in service with and for others. This AP Research class achieved this bold vision and demonstrated the intellectual virtues of our Jesuit identity in an inspiring way. With our seniors just days away from graduation, these research projects are designed to showcase what our seniors learned from their experience at Cristo Rey Jesuit. Equally, they are reminders to me about all we learn from them!