On Thursday, September 13, education majors from the Class of 2018 gathered inside Saint Joseph’s grotto on the Standish campus for the Junior Blessing Ceremony. This annual event, a longstanding tradition at the College, marks the halfway point in an education major’s degree program and offers teachers and mentors the chance to wish the juniors well before they embark on their first internships.
“In the junior year, education students step into more significant roles in their school placements, taking on greater responsibilities in the classroom. We celebrate this milestone with a ceremony to show our support as they take strides toward becoming a professional teachers,” explains Joan Flagg-Williams, PhD, an assistant professor in the education department who organized this year’s event.
Michaela Lothrop ’18, an elementary education major, kicked off the ceremony with a recitation from the Book of Sirach [6:32-37]: “If you wish, you can be taught; / if you apply yourself, you will be shrewd.” Her peers Lauren Anderson ’18 and Erin O’Brien ’18 proceeded to each lead the group in another prayer, while the audience followed along in pamphlets and responded when prompted with prepared praises to God.
Next, teachers in attendance were given the opportunity to address the junior class as a whole. Among them was Kathleen Clements, EdD, assistant professor and chair of the education department, spoke to the students about their role in molding future educators.
“That we are proud of you is a given. That you are prepared is a given. That you represent Saint Joseph’s College is a given. But you also represent yourself. Please remember why you are really at the school. It is not to prepare the lesson plan, it is not to worry and stress about your supervisor coming in. It is about being there for children every day. So, you can make this a habit for the rest of your career…just pause before you walk through that door, breathe, and remember that you are going to be with children who need you.”
The ceremony concluded with a brief blessing from Fr. John. In total, the event lasted only about fifteen minutes, but it was still ample time to impart onto the junior class the community they have supporting them as they take their next steps.
For more information on the Junior Blessing Ceremony, contact Joan Flagg-Williams firstname.lastname@example.org.