Week 4 - Middle School on The Hero's Journey
Updated: Sep 15
This week, the St. Dominic Savio Studio team completed their book study of Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist. In their study, students made connections with the text, identifying details that connected not only to their own lives, but with their Catholic faith. Students also accompanied the protagonist of the story, Santiago, on his hero's journey in pursuit of his personal legend.
Similar to Santiago's quest, our young middle school heroes are on their own journey to discover their personal legend.
# 1: The Ordinary World
Santiago is a young shepherd, raised and educated by his family to be a priest. He likes his sheep, but he also likes to travel. He spends his days in the fields, walking. He wants to find treasure, as he has always dreamed of.
2020 has definitely been everything but ordinary. After having to participate in virtual learning, St. Jose students and many new friends are in the school building. With God's grace, we have been able to adhere to the new Covid protocols to maintain a safe environment. God's hand is at work!
#2: The Call to Adventure
Santiago was called to adventure when he kept having dreams about finding a treasure. He knew he needed to find it, he felt as if it was his destiny.
This new school year has brought a revolutionary idea from the Archdiocese of San Antonio to transition St. Jose into a Catholic Micro School. The first of its kind in the state, our Founding Families were called to form the inaugural primary, elementary and middle school studios. The framework is different and the concept a bit abstract due to its multidisciplinary integration of the subjects. With the perfect interconnection of the Texas standards and real world application, the emphasis is no longer the memorization of facts, but the deep understanding of concepts that provide student with the opportunity to LEARN HOW TO LEARN and to LEARN BY DOING. Critical thinking skills takes precedence over facts that can easily be accessed through a plethora of modern day resources. A new realm of possibilities awaits for all young heroes!
#3: Refusal of the Call
Santiago begins to make excuses of why he can't go. "My sheep will be lonely without me," and so on. He knows he wants to, but he feels like he cannot do it.
While "Refusal" might be a strong word, we have the reality of "unknown possibilities!" All the staff and students are challenged to step outside of their comfort zone and commit to their promises, every day. With faith and a solid master plan, our approach to multidisciplinary blended-learning is uncompromising and sure to take deep dives into real-world concepts and problems. We exist to form missionary disciples. With St. Jose Sanchez del Rio as our model of valiant faith, it is our call to encounter and accompany each young hero on their own educational and spiritual journey.
#4: Meeting with the Mentor
Santiago meets with a gypsy/dream reader and she tells him that he will find treasure. He also encounters the King of Salem, Melchizedek, who gives him one black and one white stone that will help him.
In Luke’s account of Jesus’ pre-crucifixion prayer, after Jesus prays for God’s will to be done, God sends an angel to strengthen Jesus for the trial and agony that awaited him. As Guides, our promise is to encourage every child to discover a "calling" that will change the world. Session 1 (Courage for the Journey) is designed to assist students in understanding their strengths, areas to work on, personality, learning style, talents, and begin their training as young leaders. We will show up every day and stand WITH them, and FOR them. We will stress "learning to learn" and "learning to do", over "learning to know." We must also hold a mirror up when the studio isn't living up to its promises and encourage students to strive to honor God with every action, word, and thought.
#5: Cross the Threshold
Santiago crosses the threshold when he sells his flock of sheep and takes a boat to Tangier in Africa. He no longer has a shepherd's life, he left that behind.
Our young heroes have accepted the call and have crossed the threshold. They are Defenders of the Faith at St. Jose! It takes courage for the journey, and in the process, the young heroes will build character, self-confidence, and self-discipline.
We now find ourselves in the "Unknown World." We will encounter challenges, make new friends, and possibly fail a few times. This is part of the journey. This is how we grow. This is what makes us better than yesterday. Viva Cristo Rey!
I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. ~ Psalm 16:8