Phew! It’s been a long (but really rewarding) couple of days! Despite the 300 mph winds (okay so that might have been a bit of an exaggeration, but seriously the wind is killer) we are all loving Kansas City! For us Montana kids, the big city is a new and exciting experience! The four-lane merge we make every morning to get to Cristo Rey high school is even more exciting, especially when Colleen is behind the wheel. But if you were to ask any of us what the most exciting and most enjoyable part of our days here in Kansas City would be, we would all say without a doubt it is our time spent at Cristo Rey!
We have all created relationships with the students at Christo Rey and its pretty agreed throughout the group that we will be sad to leave. Some students have even made relationships that will extend beyond our week here in Kansas City. As a future math teacher, my favorite part of the day is getting to spend time with students one on one to work on their math skills. As Cristo Rey is a fairly new school in Kansas City (only 6 years old) many of the students have not received the basic math background they need to pass exams to graduate. Having the opportunity to work with these students individually and watch their math skills improve in even just the hour or two we get to spend with them really warms my heart.
Personally, I have a love for math because no matter where you are, no matter what your ethnic or socio-economic background you come from, and no matter what language you speak, math will always be the same. At Carroll College 6 X 8 will always be 48 and at Cristo Rey 6 X 8 will still always be 48. Math can be something that unites us all, no matter who we are. This is something I have really noticed during my time at Cristo Rey. No matter who we are and where we come from, there are a few things that still unite us all as human beings. It has been really amazing getting to make connections with students of different backgrounds and from different cultures. We are reminded everyday of the most important thing that unites us all as followers of Christ, our desire to love and serve the Lord.
Yesterday, Fred, Katie M., and I got to stay after school (while every one else went home to do yard work for the sisters ☺) and help with the “Geometry Recovery” Program. “Geometry Recover” is for seniors a Cristo Rey who have failed Geometry 2 times or more. We had the opportunity to sit down with a few of these seniors and help then to re-learn (and hopefully better understand) the concepts of geometry that they should have learned before. Even in the short amount of time we got to spend with these students, we saw their understanding of geometry improve tenfold. I think that is the most important thing that we can offer to any of the students at Cristo Rey, our time. What most of these students have lacked in their lives is positive role models taking the TIME to help them grow into responsible, intelligent and respectful adults. Giving the students this time is Cristo Rey’s number one mission and the good it has already done is clearly visible in the lives of the students. As much as we may feel that we served those seniors, I know Katie and Fred would agree with me that they served us even more.
Today, we had the opportunity to spend some time at the elementary school run by the sisters. When we first got there, the students were still at recess. We decided to go out to the playground and hang out with the kids. The 5th grade class asked us to play a harmless game of kickball. Being the college students, we decided that we should “take it easy on them”. Well I guess the joke was on us because those 5th graders…. SCHOOLED us in kickball! But we all had a blast regardless. We had the opportunity to spend the afternoon in the classroom with the kids. Being in the classroom with the elementary students was very different than our work at Christo Rey! But the students were just as inspiring! Elyse is an elementary education major and she was most definitely in her element. All the little girls loved her and were very sad to see her leave at the end of the day! Again I have to say, that while we were their to serve the students their enthusiasm and excitement for learning was even more inspiring to us!
It has been a very long couple of days and we are all very tired! However, I wouldn’t trade my experience here in Kansas City for anything! Thank you all for your love, support and prayers! We will continue to keep you updated until our arrival back to Helena on Saturday!