High School Students Enjoy Catholic Immersion Program
August 1, 2007
Eighty-seven high school students came from 25 different states and beyond, including Spain and Malaysia, to experience the engaging classrooms and the truly Catholic culture at Christendom College’s High School Summer Program. All were enthralled with what Christendom calls “a way of life.”
Instructed by Christendom College faculty, the students were immersed into the heart of Catholic tradition and thought, taking courses in Theology, Philosophy, History, and Literature. The courses, coupled with the engaging cultural and recreational activities, gave the students a taste of what it would be like to be a student at Christendom, that is, to live in a truly Catholic culture.
“The classes were phenomenal! The best I’ve ever taken!” Mary McMahon of Schoharie, N.Y. said.
Andie Smith of Culpepper, Va. enjoyed the classroom experience as well, “You could tell that the teachers were really into their subject and loved teaching us.”
Daily Mass, Rosary, and Benediction had an impact on the students also. “I learned to grow stronger in prayer—to actually talk to Jesus—and to truly revere and honor the gift of the Eucharist,” Daniel Terle of Lawrenceburg, Ind. said.
While the chapel and classroom are essential in the formation of young minds, it does not stop there. During the program, students are afforded the opportunity to not only experience the beauty of the Shenandoah Valley, but also to participate in some cultural and recreational events in the surrounding areas. Highlights include trips to Washington, D.C. to attend Mass at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception and tour the various museums, an evening at the Kennedy Center, an exciting baseball game at Camden Yards in Baltimore, whitewater rafting in West Virginia, and a hike through Skyline Drive. Students are also introduced to some traditions very particular to Christendom, such as swing dancing, contra dancing, and of course, learning the Virginia Reel while attending College President Timothy O’Donnell’s barn dance.
“I really enjoyed this program!” Elizabeth Wagner of Mount Vernon, Ind. said. “I absolutely loved the dances we learned, how Catholicism is the center of daily life, how traditional everything is, and how much everyone bonded. I have made amazing new friends and love that there is a place where being a strong Catholic is not the minority.”
Seth Riggio of Monrovia, Calif. agreed. He discovered friends that supported his faith. “The camaraderie and friendship in Christ was so strongly available. It was great,” he said.
“We’ve been doing this for thirty years and have no plans of diminishing our strong academics, fidelity to the Holy Father and the Magisterium, or the Catholic culture,” College President Timothy O’Donnell said. “There is always something good happening at Christendom College. Whether it’s our summer programs or our regular academic year, students are being educated in the Truth and being shown how to live it.”
“Christendom is a place where people can live their Faith,” Admissions Director Tom McFadden said. “And we want to do everything we can to make sure they continue to grow in their Faith—inside and outside the classroom.”
Many students explained their amazement at what Christendom has to offer.
Kaitlin Kleiber of Alexandria, Va. said that the program was “one of the best experiences” she had ever had—“spiritually, academically, and socially.”
“I loved the overall Catholic atmosphere, which was such a beautiful witness throughout the week. It was amazing to see how everyone’s hearts are turned to Christ in everything,” said Joan Walsh of Owings Mill, Md. “The camp helped me see how little I know about the Faith and how much more I want to learn about it.”
“I didn’t know such great people existed!” Christine Routhier from Reno, Nev. said. “I didn’t want to leave—two weeks wasn’t enough!”
Catherine Marra of Clifton Park, N.Y. had the same opinion: “It truly was one of the most beneficial and spiritual experiences in my life. I was ecstatic to meet other Catholic people my age, attend a reverent daily Mass, and hear teachers speak Catholic truth. What an atmosphere!”The High School Summer Program features two sessions each year, a one-week session and a two-week session. Click HERE for more information about the High School Summer Program.
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