Sophomores: No longer freshmen or newbies, but definitely not upperclassmen. Who are they?
At CRJ, the end of sophomore year is a time when students really work on figuring this out. They do so by participating in a tradition of self-reflection called sophomore conversations.
During these conversations, each student meets with a teacher or staff person who asks them about themselves, their goals for their future, and how they think they are doing in six different categories, called the “Graduate at Graduation.”
Those categories are: open to growth, religious, intellectually competent, loving, committed to justice, and a seasoned, responsible worker. At CRJ, we expect our students to have all six of these qualities by the time they graduate. Sophomore conversations are one way to make sure students will.
“This is them taking ownership of who they are and who they want to be during the rest of their time here,” theology teacher Ms. Christine Gallagher said.
Here are some of the questions that sophomores are asked.
What do you remember from your first days at CRJ?
What role does faith play in your daily life?
Do you feel like you are preparing yourself for college?
In theology class, they prepare sample answers and write letters to their future selves.
“I have developed a better work ethic because CRJ really pushes you. I’ve also matured a lot,” one student wrote.
“My grades don’t reflect my true potential I want to work harder,” another said.
“I spend a lot of time wondering what college would be like when I’m there,” a third admitted.
The conversations are the opposite of the stereotypical “sophomore slump,” theology teacher Ms. Christine Gallagher said. They are tradition that speaks to the nature of CRJ and the nature of Jesuit school, because they allow the students to see how they are growing up and how they are learning.
“This is them taking ownership of who they are and who they want to be during the rest of their time here,” Ms. Gallagher said.
“Faith plays a big part in my life. I like helping people. I really want to see my classmates improve and I enjoy helping them,” according to one student.
“Teachers have made me realize I can come out of my shell and they encourage me,” another said.
The students don’t gloss over their truths “I used to get in a lot of trouble. I could have gotten in more trouble or gotten better. I think God had a lot to do with me getting better. The way I think about God has changed. I’m definitely a strong believer.”
They also reflect on their internships and the roles they play in the students’ lives: “My CIP job showed me that you should all be connected. It’s easier to work with someone you know than a complete stranger. In my job, everybody is connected. They strive for a family-type environment. If something happens to someone in the firm, everyone is there for each other. We can get back on track faster.”
Teachers enjoy participating in this tradition because it’s a chance to talk individually with a student and get a glimpse of our school community through his or her eyes.
It’s also a chance to be reminded of lessons we all need to hear from time to time: When one student reflected on his plan to be more committed to justice, he wrote, “Start by treating everyone else the way you want to be treated. Be aware of your own actions.”