Today (4/18/17) was Day One of the National Catholic Educational Association Convention and Expo. This was my first experience attending a national convention, so I was a bit overwhelmed hearing that there would be over 8,000 attendees here in St. Louis for this convention. As I reflected upon the idea that there would be over 8,000 people attending a convention that centers on Catholic education, I began to feel more comfortable. There was comfort realizing that there are so many people giving their time to further their passion…their passion for Catholic education.
The day started with an amazing Mass celebrated by the Archbishop of the Archdiocese of St. Louis. The music, which was provided by the elementary chorus of the Archdiocese of St. Louis, was great. The young students did a fantastic job. The setting for the Mass was beautiful. Just a wonderful start to the day!
Following Mass, I attended the session on “Beyond the Canned Food Drive.” This session allowed me to see new ideas of how to get my students actively involved in service in the community, both school and local. One great thing about this session was giving me the realization that my school already does many of the activities that the presenters were providing. I gained several new ideas, but I also felt positive after knowing that my school is already doing great things.
My second session was “Best Practices to Connect and Engage Your Faculty.” The speaker was tremendous. He had so much energy and motivation that it was inspiring. Even though I am still just a teacher, I know I found several things that I can do to engage my colleagues, but I also found many ideas that I want to share with my principal to engage our staff even more! I know that this session is one that will stick with me for the future!
The keynote address was beyond amazing. Jonathan Doyle gave one of the most inspiring speeches on Catholic education that I have ever heard. We do not choose to be Catholic educators, but rather we were chosen to be Catholic educators. His words and passion for Catholic education and Catholicism overall made me want to continue my career in Catholic education. Mr. Doyle’s words will stick with me. His willingness to show us that our vocation is greater than us was awesome. I can’t wait to get back and share what I gained from his presentation with my colleagues.
Day One of NCEA17 was great. Tomorrow is a busy day, but I know it will be just as motivating! St. Louis has been a great host city! Can’t wait to see what tomorrow holds for me!