Theme of the Year: Who’s Your Neighbor?


Joseph Trombecky '18, Staff Writer

Each year Saint Peter’s Prep’s community diversifies its teachings by following varying “themes” that allow students to engage in topical social issues and further explore the school’s mission, while also staying true to its core beliefs: the guidelines of the Grad at Grad. Last year the theme was “A Place at the Table” to highlight inclusion of diversity within the community as well as to reach out to the marginalized and oppressed. This year the theme further expands on its predecessor, alerting students to the issues within and around the environment by asking a pensive question: “Who’s your neighbor?”   

Jesuit schools outline their year according to a theme, but Prep follows a separate path. After interviewing the renowned Mr. Dougherty of Campus Ministry, he described the process of determining the theme. In around May, the Campus Ministry and the Arrupe committee (for Arrupe week) consult and coordinate themes to reflect an ideal of the community. This year’s Arrupe discussion of refugees ties into to the overall theme, where Prep identifies a global view of welcoming people from anywhere in the world in an effort to show mercy to those in need.

To enforce this theme, the community will constantly be engaged in reflections and ongoing conversations regarding inclusion. As one of, if not the most, racially diverse Jesuit high schools, Prep ensures not to carry this badge superficially and distinguishes itself by creating a tight brotherhood founded upon the Jesuit ideals ingrained in the minds of students. Not only are the students expected to be well-informed, but the faculty are oriented in the theme as well, undergoing anti-racism organizing and training sponsored by “CrossRoads,” a program involving a series of seminars analyzing structural racism.

Further painting a picture of the new theme, Mr. Dougherty referenced The Parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37. In this parable, Jesus states that loving one’s neighbor as oneself is crucial to life and written in the Holy Law. He recounts the story of a robbed traveler, left half-dead and ignored by a passing priest and Levite; finally, a Samaritan finds him and cares for him until he is fully rejuvenated. Jesus then finishes the parable expressing his desire for all: “Go and do likewise.” By referencing this passage, Mr. Dougherty wishes to emphasize that Prep calls all members of the community to strive for the Magis and following to follow the teachings of God. As students are trained to be men for and with others, the process of encompassing this goal requires self-reflection and discovering the will of God.

Personally, I look forward to participating in the creative and engaging activities the community will partake in as the year progresses. I have ended each of my first three years at Prep with a solid understanding of the background of the year’s theme and its application to topical issues. Not only have I improved my character through retreats, but the engaging discussions among the community have always allowed me to incorporate varying perspectives into my own viewpoint. I look forward to finishing my Prep career immersed in another thought-provoking subject.