“We’re going to insult the apple,” said Michelle Sherman, family advocate for Empowering Children with Hope and Opportunity (ECHO).
As the audience called out insults like “stupid,” “fat,” and “ugly,” Sherman banged an apple against a table. At the end of the demonstration, Sherman compared the beat up apple with an unharmed apple. From the outside, she said they looked exactly the same, but when she cut into them, the level of bruising was very different. Sherman suggested educators use this demonstration to explain bullying to their students.
“Show them the inside, how people internalize all of the words,” Sherman said. “It’s hurtful.”
This presentation was part of the sixth annual University of Dayton Catholic Education Summit held on June 22. The Center for Catholic Education, the Lalanne program and ECHO collaborated to design an experience for Catholic educators that focused on the life and culture of their schools.
Peg Dubrowski, motivational writer and speaker, talked about the importance of helping students find purpose in their lives, and discussed ways teachers could help in that process.
“What is their purpose? To love God completely and fiercely, and to love other people in God’s name,” Dubrowski said.
In her presentation, Dubrowski shared with educators how they can get their students to know and understand their purpose in the classroom and feel valued as a result.
The overall goal of the summit was to allow Catholic educators to reflect on and answer the questions: “How can our schools be holy ground for our students, faculty, administration and families? What about our culture welcomes all to come as they are with hope for realizing God’s call to each one?”
Other sessions included a panel on christian meditation, a presentation on mental illness and a talk on Catholic culture within schools. Projects designed by St. Remy Schools and prayer stations from the St. Remy retreat were also available for attendees to view and use throughout the day. The UD Marian Library, The Ohio State University Extension Office and various Catholic school book vendors also attended.
Susan Ferguson, executive director of the University of Dayton Center for Catholic Education, said the summit went well.
“We hope that Catholic school educators left the summit inspired to return to the holy ground of their schools to care for the hearts and souls entrusted to them,” Ferguson said. “We are grateful for our presenters and all who participated in this endeavor.”
Photo credit: Karen Axelrad