Monday, January 30, 2012

No Senior Slump Here!

I am acutely aware, having taught and worked with high school seniors for these three years, that one of the niggling issues students face is the temptation of the "senior slump." Having been accepted to college and feeling the tassel of the graduation cap within his grasp, the student is apt to coast through the semester. Entering my sixth and final semester of regency, I am aware of such a temptation.
Le Cordon Bleu need not fear their applications. 

I am doing everything within my power to fight it.

First, we had a great dinner on Saturday night for the parents who bought the "Dinner with Mr. Duns and the Student Senate Officers." Beginning at 10:00 am and finishing with the dishes at 11:40 pm, it was a long and tiring day. In case you're curious, here's the menu:

  • Appetizers: Prosciutto-wrapped cantaloupe; Apricot-Pecan Baked Brie; Bruschetta
  • Main Course: Tomato-Basil Soup with Pancetta; Winter Salad with Belgian Endive and a Walnut-Dijon dressing; Grilled Polenta; Turkey and Artichoke Stuffed Shells in a tangy Arabiata Sauce
  • Dessert: Belgian chocolate cups with a French Mousse and a Homemade Brown Butter Cake with Dark Chocolate Filling and a White Chocolate Buttercream Icing. 
And, in case you are wondering, we did make just about everything from scratch (with the exception of the shells and the bread). 

Now, I'll be totally transparent: I think I'd rather herd up a pack of ferrel cats than cook with five teenagers. I used to think directing Jesuits in a kitchen was difficult until working with them. After about two hours where they cut a lot of basil, sliced tomatoes, and did a marvelous job stirring the tomato sauce, I bought them pizzas and had them eat while I continued to cook. At 4:30, they left for the basketball game, giving me enough time to pull the meal together. Upon their arrival, they took turns "announcing" the courses to our guests and even devised a little clap to summon the other servers into the room. 
David Obia, Pat Vecellio, Anthony Shallal,
Isaac Piepszowski, and Brian Cleary 
I went to bed exhausted, a bit hungry (I forgot to eat), but happy that my guests and the students had a fun evening. 

Today, we made plans for a Dance this Saturday (Cupid Shuffle), a Chili Dog Night for the Freshmen on February 7th (right before the varsity basketball game), and perhaps most special of all, today we kicked off an RCIA program here at school.

It has been an amazing grace to have students ask how they can become Catholic. This year, we have managed to work in conjunction with a local parish to offer a more formal course of catechetical instruction in order to receive the students into the Church at the Vigil Mass. I have taught each of these students and I am so proud of their willingness to take ownership of their faith lives. To be sure, this involves a lot of work (on all of our parts) and a lot of prayer, but if these guys experience even a small iota of the joy I have felt in my own life of faith, it will be worth it. 

It is obvious, then, that things are quite busy around here. I'm still teaching five courses, running the Senate, playing feiseanna, reading books (I'm on a Heidegger kick right now), and I'm trying to figure out how to spend this summer. I am resolved, however, to make the most of these waning days of regency and as I once heard in a homily, I regard it far better to burn out than to rust out. 

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