Note: Kathleen Sullivan (‘06) served as the head prefect for women for the 2011 High School Summer Program. Below are some of her reflections on this year’s program, which she wrote in the form of a thank-you letter to the Christianform, which generously provided the grant that paid for the prefects’ stipends.
Whenever I’m asked how it feels to be working as a prefect for the Thomas Aquinas College Summer Program, I always respond “truly blessed.” And those words ring deep, for being able to immerse myself in the rich spiritual and intellectual community of the College during those two weeks has been a wonderful rejuvenation for my body, mind, and soul.
I’ve been working in the program since the summer of 2005, and have always, always given deep thanks for the blessings I receive in those two short weeks of the summer over the past seven years. It never fails that after every program, I have the same thought: “I wish I could sign up and begin as a freshman all over again.” The program never grows stale; every year is fresh and fun; every re-reading of the texts yields new insights; every students offers his or her own delight and energy. It’s a privilege indeed to be a guiding part of it.
I love every aspect of the summer program, and this year was no different.
I loved greeting the students on the first day, meeting the quieter ones with their hesitant handshake, and seeing them a few days later laughing amidst a group of friends.
I loved sharing the beauty of the Mass with them, and the familiar Latin takes on a whole new significance by seeing it through their new eyes.
I loved talking with them at lunch and dinner after classes, conversing about the day’s reading, smiling at their eagerness to defend a point, gratified by their active desire to ask good questions and attempt good answers.
I loved playing volleyball and Frisbee with them, running around and reveling in the joy of a healthy body and fun camaraderie in the California sun.
I loved the quiet evening Rosary, joining my voice with theirs in offering our intentions to Jesus through Mary.
I even loved dressing in the College’s dress code again; seeing the young girls in the formal beauty of skirts and dresses gives me a sense of the young women they will become — beautiful, educated, moral centers of future lives.
I loved rereading the works I encountered as a student myself, and am still amazed by how much the College has influenced my thinking even in the years past graduation.
I loved playing games with the students in the coffee shop in the evenings, laughing and talking as if we’ve known each other for two years instead of two weeks.
I especially loved the one-on-one conversations with students, on the lawn, in the residence halls, outside the Chapel; it never fails to amaze me how earnest and eager those young minds are to engage in seeking the truth. I loved it when they brought me their questions about the College, offering me the chance to share my continual admiration and gratitude for the education I received here.
I loved forming friendships with both the students and prefects, gratified and honored when they asked me to keep them in my prayers at the end of the program.
I loved spending time with the other prefects, especially the ones who were students working with me on past summer programs, and even though I have never been in school with any of them, I found a kindred spirit in each one of them; they brought so much fun and laughter to my two weeks here.
I especially loved working with our Admissions Director, Mr. Jon Daly, whose selfless kindness and joy energize all around him, and whose deep appreciation for the good the College does permeates all he says and does.
To be continued tomorrow!