THE GRAD AT GRAD
The Strake Jesuit graduate is approaching the threshold of young adulthood. Leaving the world of childhood behind has involved anxiety and embarrassment, and taking fearful first steps into sexual identity, independence, first love or first job. It has also involved physical, emotional, and mental development that brought out strengths, abilities, and characteristics adults and peers began to appreciate. During the four years prior to graduation he began to realize he could do some things well, sometimes very well, like playing basketball, acting, writing, doing math, fixing or driving cars, making music, or making money. There have also been failures and disappointments. Even these, however, have helped the student to move toward maturity.
Fluctuating between highs and lows of fear and confidence, love and loneliness, confusion and success, the Strake Jesuit student at graduation has negotiated during these years many of the difficulties of adolescence. On the other hand, the graduate has not reached the maturity of the college senior. During his senior year of high school, especially, he is beginning to awaken to complexity, to discover many puzzling things about the adult world. He does not understand why adults break their promises, or how the economy "works," or why there are wars, or what power is and how it ought to be used. Yet he is old enough to begin framing the questions. And so, as some of the inner turmoil of the past few years begins to settle, he looks out on the adult world with a sense of wonder, anxious to enter that world, yet still unable to make sense of it. He is more and more confident among his peers; he can more easily read the clues of the youth culture of which he is a part. Furthermore, he is independent enough to choose his response. As for the adult world, he is still a "threshold person," cautiously entering adulthood.
In describing the graduate, we chose qualities under six general categories that seem desirable not only for this threshold period but also for his adult life. These categories sum up the many aspects or areas of life most in accord with living a Christian life as an adult. Whether we conceive these qualities under the rubric of a "Man for Others" or simply as a developing Christian, they appear to be qualities that characterize the kind of person who can live an adult Christian life in the twenty-first century. By graduation the Strake Jesuit graduate is (I) Open to Growth, (II) Intellectually Competent, (III) Physically Fit, (IV) Religious, (V) Loving, and (VI) Committed to Doing Justice. All of the characteristics described are in dynamic interaction; the division into the six categories simply provides a helpful way to describe the graduate.
I. OPEN TO GROWTH
At graduation, the Strake Jesuit graduate is moving toward a greater awareness of himself and his role in the world. He has assumed ownership of his emotional, intellectual, social, physical, and religious progress within a larger community context in which he can learn as much through failure as he can through success. And while he grows to a greater sense of responsibility for himself and others, he also understands the need to be flexible, truthful, and willing to listen and respond to his neighbor. He may be a risk-taker, but he measures his opportunities within a spiritually-driven and Christ-centered context. The well-rounded Jesuit graduate is reaching out to embrace his God, his neighbor, and his world. The graduate:
♦ is beginning to understand his obligation to himself to actively pursue his own growth as a person; he is developing a desire for integrity and excellence in multiple facets of his life.
♦ in his search for growth is also learning how to accept himself, both his talents and his limitations; his participation in various levels of the school community has assisted this self-acceptance significantly.
♦ is more conscious of his feelings and how they move him, and is more free and more authentic in expressing them; at the same time he is beginning to confront his responsibilities to himself and to others to manage his compulsive or impulsive drives.
♦ is open to a variety of aesthetic experiences and continues to develop the range of his imaginative sensibilities.
♦ is becoming more flexible and open to other points of view; he recognizes how much he learns from carefully listening to his peers and other people who are close to him.
♦ is developing a habit of reflection on his experience.
♦ is beginning to seek new experiences, even those which involve some risk or the possibility of failure.
♦ is exploring career choices and how he wants to shape his life within a framework of values.
♦ is beginning to open himself to broader adult issues.
II. INTELLECTUALLY COMPETENT
At graduation, the Strake Jesuit graduate exhibits an appropriate mastery of the fundamental tools of learning and is well on his way to sharpening his intellectual skills. He enjoys learning about his world from the perspectives of the humanities, religion, and science. He sees the need for intellectual integrity. The graduate:
♦ is developing mastery of logical skills and critical thinking.
♦ is developing greater precision and a personal style in thought and expression both written and oral.
♦ is developing a curiosity to explore ideas and issues.
♦ is becoming more capable of applying what he has learned to new situations and can adjust to a variety of learning formats.
♦ is developing an organized approach to learning tasks and can present a convincing argument in a research report.
♦ is taking pride and ownership in his work and beginning to enjoy intellectual and imaginative pursuits.
♦ has begun to develop a general knowledge of central ideas, methodologies, and the systematic arrangement of a variety of intellectual disciplines of knowledge.
♦ has begun to relate current events to some of their historical antecedents and is growing in appreciation of his cultural heritage.
♦ is growing in awareness of the global nature of many current social problems and their impact on various human communities.
♦ has begun to understand some of the moral ambiguities embedded in values promoted by Western culture.
♦ is beginning to understand the rights and responsibilities of a citizen as well as the strengths and weaknesses of the structure and conduct of government in the United States.
♦ has begun to develop a repertory of images of humanity as presented in literature, biography, and history which are shaping a more compassionate and hopeful appreciation of the human community.
♦ is beginning to enjoy learning about his world from the perspectives of the humanities, religion, and science.
♦ is beginning to develop a critical consciousness by which he can better evaluate the issues facing contemporary society and the various responses to these issues.
III. PHYSICALLY FIT
At graduation, the Strake Jesuit graduate values the ideal of a sound mind in a sound body. He appreciates his physical being as a gift from God and understands the value of working toward the goal of fully developing and maintaining his physical talents. He understands the fundamentals of human physiology and physical development and the fundamentals of maintaining personal health. Finally, he values his body as a treasure that is vulnerable to depreciation and loss if he indulges in inappropriate sexual behaviors or substance abuse. The graduate:
♦ is aware of methods for maintaining personal health and hygiene.
♦ takes pride in his physical appearance.
♦ knows the fundamentals of good nutrition and practices good eating habits.
♦ knows the fundamentals of several lifetime recreational activities.
♦ participates in physical exercise on a regular basis.
♦ knows major local, national, and global health problems and some of their potential solutions.
♦ understands that physical activity helps him cope with stress and tension.
♦ understands and is able to apply basic procedures of accident prevention and emergency care.
♦ understands the biology and psychology of human sexuality.
♦ understands the value of and need for self-discipline.
♦ recognizes the potential danger of using chemical substances and acts responsibly.
At graduation, the Jesuit graduate has been part of a community that nurtures the seeds of religious faith and commitment to spiritual growth. He has received a basic knowledge of the major doctrines and practices of the Catholic Church and has had some exposure to non-Catholic and non-Christian religious traditions. He has been challenged to examine his own religious beliefs and traditions, whatever they may be, with a view to choosing his fundamental orientation toward God. By graduation, the graduate has encountered the redemptive presence of Jesus Christ through community, prayer, service to others, and the pursuit of wisdom. He responds to this encounter not merely in words but in the moral choices he makes throughout his life. The graduate:
♦ has read the Gospels and encountered the person of Christ as he is presented in the New Testament.
♦ has a basic understanding of the Church's teaching about Jesus and his redeeming mission, as well as the sacramental expression of that mission in and through the Church.
♦ has had some exposure to non-Catholic and non-Christian religious traditions.
♦ is becoming more aware of his own responsibility to explore and validate his faith and of the choices which that validation implies.
♦ has had some personal experience of God, either in private prayer, on a retreat, in liturgical prayer, or in some other moving experience; he is learning how to express himself in various methods of prayer.
♦ evaluates moral choices and works his way through moral issues with an informed conscience.
♦ has begun to appreciate how a living community and the Eucharist complement each other.
♦ is learning through his own failures of his need for healing by and reconciliation with friends, family, Church, and the Lord.
♦ is at the beginning stages of understanding the relationship between faith in Jesus and being a "man for others," one who is willing to sacrifice his own selfish interest for the welfare and good of others and has some familiarity with Church teaching on social justice.
♦ has had some satisfying experiences of serving others in need through service projects and has come to a sympathetic appreciation of their desire for respect, justice, and love.
At graduation, the Strake Jesuit graduate has begun to establish his own identity and to move beyond self-interest in human relationships. He has experienced being loved and cared for by others; in response, he has begun to respect, trust, and love God, others, and himself. These experiences have deepened his desire to find joy in companionship and service. The graduate:
♦ is learning to trust the fidelity of some friends, members of his family, and some adults of the school community.
♦ has experienced moments when God's love for him as a person began to be felt.
♦ is coming to accept and love himself as he is; he can laugh at himself now.
♦ has begun to come to grips with personal prejudices and stereotypes and communicates more easily with others, including with peers of other races, religions, nationalities, and socio-economic backgrounds.
♦ has experienced the support of various levels of community in the school, including school liturgical celebrations, and has learned to extend himself in strengthening the school community.
♦ feels more at ease and mature with persons of the opposite sex.
♦ is beginning to integrate sexuality into his whole personality.
♦ has begun to appreciate deeper personal friendships but is also learning that not all relationships are profound and long lasting.
♦ is beginning to appreciate, through service to others, the satisfaction of giving of himself.
♦ is more capable of putting himself in another person's place and understanding what he or she is feeling.
♦ is more in touch with his own feelings and capable of expressing them to close friends.
♦ is more sensitive to the beauty of the created universe and is more caring about life and the natural environment.
VI. COMMITTED TO DOING JUSTICE
At graduation, the Strake Jesuit graduate, aware of the needs of other individuals and communities, has developed a sense of compassion for the victims of injustice. He evaluates those social and economic structures through which human needs, rights, and dignities are denied. Realizing that the values of a consumer society sometimes conflict with the demands of a just society, he considers the public service aspects and impact of his career choices. Recognizing selfless service to others as more fulfilling than individual success or prosperity, he takes his place in communities as a competent, concerned, and responsible member. The graduate:
♦ is more aware of selfish attitudes and tendencies in himself which lead him to treat others unjustly, and consciously seeks to be more understanding, accepting, and generous with others.
♦ is beginning to see that his Christian faith implies a commitment to a just society.
♦ is beginning to understand the structural roots of injustice in social institutions, attitudes, and customs.
♦ has been exposed to the needs of some disadvantaged segments of the community through community service programs and has gained some empathetic understanding for their conditions of living.
♦ has reflected on his experience of working with and for others in service programs, thereby coming to know himself better and growing in his awareness of those alternatives in public policy which govern the services provided for various segments of the community.
♦ is developing both a sense of compassion for the victims of injustice and concern for those social changes which will assist them in gaining their rights and increased human dignity.
♦ has begun to reflect on public service aspects of the career he might choose to pursue.
♦ is beginning to understand some of the broader demands of community building.
♦ is beginning to understand the complexity of many social issues and the need for critical reading of diverse sources of information about them.
♦ is beginning to grasp that many social issues expand beyond the local community and in fact are national, or global in scope; in this way he is beginning to see the importance of voter influence on public policy in local, regional, national, and international arenas.
♦ is beginning to realize that the values of a consumer society are sometimes in conflict with the demands of a just society and, indeed, with the Gospel.