Religion Teacher, Grades 7 & 8
Education: B.S. History, Marquette University; B.A. in Architectural Studies, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee; Graduate of CT ARC Program; Master of Arts in Catechetics and Evangelization (in progress), Franciscan University of Steubenville.
How long have you been teaching at Greenwich Catholic School?
I came to GCS two years ago, after spending time as both a Director of Youth Ministry and a Religious Education teacher at another Catholic school in the Diocese. I had many varied careers and interests before becoming a Religion teacher-- marketing, accounting architecture, even playing in rock bands-- so I often say that the journey that brought me to GCS could only have been planned by God.
How do you structure your class to keep students engaged?
My classes involve a lot of discussion and opportunities for students to express their opinions and ask questions of me and each other in an open environment. In 7th Grade, we focus on the Gospels, and in 8th Grade we work through Church History, Christian morality, and the Mass. Both the Gospel and Catholic Doctrine provide a platform for discussing how Christianity and faith play a role in events throughout our world.
What are some overall themes in your classroom?
My primary goal is to bring students into an encounter with Jesus Christ - what does it mean to know Jesus, and how it can change our lives. We talk a lot about how we can look at the world through the lens of the Gospel and Christ’s love, and how we can radically alter the way we look at the world.
Are there any cross-curricular opportunities for your classes?
We cover 2000+ years of Christianity during the year, and certain topics complement Social Studies, and even Foreign Language. For instance, my class just completed a project on church architecture, and some students incorporated stained glass designs in their French class based on their church designs from Religion class. As the year progresses, we’ll also talk about Christianity in the 13 colonies, which relate back to the Social Studies curriculum for 7th and 8th Grades.
Can you tell us about the Praise & Worship Group?
Many of our Upper School students have musical talents to share, both vocal and instrumental. Last year I started an informal group to give students a way to perform contemporary music together while giving glory to God. This year we expanded the club to start recording, and have led the congregation in song at Mass. I’m trying to give the students an authentic recording experience, so we’ve started to build out our studio with acoustic panels and hope to eventually add upgraded keyboards, microphones and PA equipment.
What keeps you busy outside of GCS?
As a father of three, I love spending time with my family and also spend much of my “free time” with my coursework for the Masters degree I’m pursuing. I have always loved history and originally came to teaching wanting to be high school Social Studies teacher before God made other plans for me, so I feed my interest in that by participating in Revolutionary War Reenactments and other activities with the 5th Connecticut Regiment. It’s a great way to talk about faith with people in an unexpected context, while fostering my love of American History.