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Peter Dowdy (CA ’22)
Peter Dowdy (CA ’22)

Alumni Peter Dowdy (CA ’22) and Katharine Simia (NE ’22) are bringing faith and reason to Catholic schools in Boston, Massachusetts, and — according to the National Catholic Register — Tom Carroll, Superintendent of Schools for the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston, could not be more thrilled. “I’m taking a pretty big bet here that they’re going to be phenomenal teachers,” Mr. Carroll told the Register. “They have deep and abiding faith, intellectual curiosity, high work ethic.”

Mr. Carroll has long been concerned for the state of Catholic education, and thereby the survival of the Catholic Church, in the United States. “If people are not going to Catholic schools, within 20 years there will not be anybody in the pews,” he told students during his first visit to Thomas Aquinas College, New England, last year. “I need talented principals and they, in turn, need talented teachers,” he said on a subsequent visit to the California campus.

These concerns led Mr. Carroll and his colleague Steven Rummelsburg to devise the St. Thomas More Teaching Fellows, a formation program preternaturally suited for graduates of Thomas Aquinas College. Through the fellowship, some two-dozen bright, faithful recruits take part in a five-week summer “boot camp,” designed to teach them the fundamentals of teaching. With that training in hand, the fellows then put those skills to work through a two-year assignment in Boston’s Catholic classrooms.

Katharine Simia (NE ’22)
Katharine Simia (NE ’22)

Among this year’s teaching fellows are Mr. Dowdy and Miss Simia, whom Mr. Carroll recruited on his trips to the College’s campuses. “Our Catholic faith was integrated into the formation program to enable us to express God’s love in our actions and sincere desire for the education of our students,” Miss Simia recalls. “The driving force with this program is to restore what’s been lost in education,” Mr. Dowdy told The Boston Pilot. Its core mission, he continued, is “teaching virtue openly in a relationship with God.”

The Fellows program, however, is not merely theoretical. As Mr. Dowdy told The Boston Pilot, the formation includes plenty of “practical teaching training, and … bringing those higher end goals down into the everyday lesson plan.” Miss Simia adds, “The formation program was the optimal blend of practical and philosophical approaches to pedagogy. We brought our actual class textbooks to the program and were taught the most efficacious methods of developing lesson plans and techniques for engaging the children on the subjects we studied.”

Excited and nervous, the Fellows began teaching early this month. “I find that I learn something new every day,” laughs Ms. Simia. “But I have experienced an immense joy in teaching the children. I could not imagine being anywhere else at this moment in my life.” Mr. Dowdy told The Boston Pilot, “What’s important is to always have in your heart, as you’re looking at these students, is to love them for the sake of the truth, and to want to inspire their hearts toward the Lord.”


UPDATE: From Mr. Carroll: