Studying the time-tested liberal arts during the college years has, over the past centuries, proven to be the best method to ensure a successful life post-graduation – both in one’s personal life and professional career.  Christendom’s rigorous core curriculum, coupled with its emphasis on written and oral communication, enables its graduates to enter into any field post-graduation.  For many, the idea of entering the field of education, and helping to form the minds of future generations is very appealing. Over the past forty years, Christendom has assisted many alumni in their quest to become teachers.

Alumnus Victor Alcantara speaks to a packed crowd in St. Kilian’s Cafe.

Three of these alumni, who are now working as educators in Virginia, came back to campus to talk to students at the recent Life on Tap event, hosted by the career development office on Tuesday, October 9.

Megan Rolla ‘11, a Good Shepherd Catechist at St. Rita’s School in Alexandria, Virginia, began the evening by mentioning that she originally did not want to go to Christendom for college, but instead planned on becoming a missionary in Russia. Nevertheless, she still applied, and, upon acceptance, had her eyes opened by the school. She learned, through the core curriculum, how to understand the human person, helping her to discover her own place in the world and how to help others discover this as well — something that eventually led her to teaching. Rolla provided helpful tips on how to prepare to be a teacher, encouraging students to take part in Christendom’s teaching practicum course, along with researching what classes they want to teach and what age group they would be most comfortable with.

Being a Christendom alumnus or alumna also helps, according to Rolla, because of the college’s great reputation in the Diocese of Arlington and elsewhere. Further, she advocated starting to network now and find people who can provide a recommendation, and to dress for success — something that should be easy thanks to Christendom’s professional dress code. She concluded by attesting that, since Christendom’s mission is to restore all things in Christ, teaching is a great way to do just that, passing on knowledge and the Faith to younger generations, just as Jesus did.

While Rolla became interested in teaching later, alumna Theresa Lamirande ‘13 began her journey toward teaching much earlier in life. Her mother was an educator, and Lamirande found she had the same skillset as she did. Throughout high school, she continued to want to be a teacher, but found that she did not want to attend college. Her older sister went to Christendom, and recommended that Lamirande at least make a visit. One day in the classroom changed her mind, and Lamirande applied and was accepted.

At the end of her four years, she still had the same career desire, but did not know how to make that happen. Taking Christendom’s teaching practicum changed all that; she was placed at Front Royal Christian School, discovered there was an opening there, and applied before graduation. She was hired soon after, and because of a specific reason: the number of things she did at Christendom, both in and outside the classroom. She encouraged the crowd to continue pursuing the things they love and to be lifelong learners — two traits that helped her find her current job. She finished by saying that teaching is what one does when they want to have an impact on lives for eternity, making it both a crucial and exciting career.

To complete the night, Victor Alcantara ‘05 related his experiences from being an educator in the Diocese of Arlington for the past 14 years. He started by thanking Christendom for everything, including for saving his faith, for helping him to discover his vocation, for the lifelong friendships and the community, and for inspiring in him the desire to become a Catholic educator. Before Christendom, Alcantara did not have the intention of becoming an educator, or of attending the school at all. However, it did not take him long to realize Christendom was special, and he wanted to share what he was receiving with others.

Alcantara wanted to become part of the Catholic education mission, a desire that eventually led him to Saint John Paul the Great Catholic School. He told the students present that, if they are interested in following a similar path, they need to ask themselves whether they are willing to commit themselves to the mission of the Church and educate and form young people in the truth. If they are willing, then Alcantara recommended that students pray about their vocation and network with other teachers. The Christendom education is the perfect springboard towards becoming a teacher, said Alcantara, thanks to the critical thinking, communication, and leadership skills that the school imparts to students.

Watch the video below to see the full talks.

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