CATALYST-MARIA TEACHER TESTIMONIALS
I do see a change in some of the scholars that attend the MKC but not all of them. I know I have had some issues with 1 or 2 sophomore boys in class by being disrespectful. However, I do let Ms. Eckhouse know ASAP so she is aware. She takes action by talking to the scholar and letting them know that what they did was not right and will not be tolerated. The kids are great that attend the MKC. They realize that those who run it care about them and are there for them. The kids know that its better for them to be there getting involved in the activities that are provided for them and they get to meet new people rather than be at home. The leaders of the MKC take pride in what they are doing there and are so proud to walk around Catalyst Maria with their leader shirts on. Those who attend the MKC also that they can go to Ms. Eckhouse with any issues to get it resolved. The scholars also take more pride in the MKC than Catalyst because of what the MKC offers them with the activities and their awesome staff.
I am very supportive of the programs you direct in the MKC.
From my vantage point the milieu is very conducive to fostering a sense of service and leadership which is evident on the girls' basketball teams.
Several of our young women( the Starling sisters, Tamera, Ahvay, Jazime, and Lagena) who regularly participate in MKC programs demonstrate more confidence and a sense of collaboration among team members, which enhances their developing self-esteem and leadership capacity. As for the JV girls team, which I coach, Jazmine Washington and Lagena Sanders grew steadily in their ability to handle challenges both on and off the court. In fact during the girls basketball awards dinner in May Lagena was recognized for her leadership and Jazmine was awarded the Most Improved Player trophy.
Catalyst administrator & Girls’ Basketball Coach
I would echo what Ms. Tanis has said. I don't have a ton of additional context as I don't see the scholars in class as much but I have definitely seen an impact on some of our freshman boys, such as Stacy and Daelyn who participated. They have demonstrated increased respect for adults, ability to self-monitor, and openness for getting to know new adults.
Hope that helps,
I'd be happy to. Last school year, I had the opportunity to teach both seniors and freshmen who attended the MKC. The biggest difference that I was able to see in the kids who attended the MKC--both by their own nature and through the influence of the center--was their ability to function maturely, efficiently, and independently. Those who consistently went, spoke of, or asked for passes to the MKC were more "on top of it" than kids I taught who did not attend or did not consider it as an option. They had better time management skills; the ones who wanted to go to the MKC were the ones who inquired frequently about their grades, made sure they had all of their homework in order before heading down the hall, and generally speaking performed better in class (a broad statement I know, but from those I taught it was the truth). Those who went to the MKC were also more vulnerable than those who didn't--let me explain this one. I noticed that when I had conversations with kids who went to the MKC, they were very in-tune with their emotions and their actions, and how the expression of those emotions and actions affected others. The quality of our conversation was better and was able to touch upon the things that we felt, and these kids were not afraid to "show themselves" to me. That's what I mean by vulnerable. They were and continue to be willing to share of themselves more deeply than many other students are. In sum, those kids were so well-rounded and an absolute joy to be around.
Let me know if you need more--these were just the primary factors I noticed! We are so thankful for the MKC.
Happy Fourth and Happy Summer,
9th Grade SPED Teacher
The kids I've seen at the high school level have developed socially. For example, Vince V. seemed more willing to work with others in class and approach all students in whole class activities. Obviously, Tamara, Dominique, and Danielle were outstanding, kind-hearted leaders. I think they develop kindness and social acceptance. If you could name a few others who frequented, I'm sure I could site more specifics too. The MKC has been wonderful for CMHS. Thanks for all you do, Amy!!!
I have noticed a difference in the kids who attend the MKC in the following ways: I can almost guess which scholars are involved with the MKC before they even tell me because these are the scholars who are noticeably more reflective, thoughtful of others, excited about making a change in their community, and quite honestly, better behaved in class. They take the leadership skills fostered in the MKC and use them to become leaders in our extracurricular programs. It is no coincidence that a majority of the scholars recognized in the exceptional scholars breakfast are active members of the MKC. I wish there was a way to clone Amy so we could have all scholars at each grade level participate in the MKC activities and become the leaders that we have seen our current MKC scholars become.
I see clear examples of strong character as well as a deep understanding of and commitment to being a leader in many of the kids who attend the MKC. I think the kids who attend really appreciate the more nuanced parts of leadership--service, listening, integrity--and feel capable of rising to embody those traits. Many of the kids who attend the MKC also express a sense of belonging and worth at our school at large that I would also attribute to their membership at the MKC. Of course all of the kids who participate in the MKC are at different places, but I do see general trends as mentioned above :)
What does the MKC mean to the Catalyst Maria scholars?
Being a teenager means facing countless pressures with school, family, sports, and friends. Catalyst-Maria scholars are often surrounded by these pressures in addition to many negative influences on their lives including gangs, drugs, and poor role models at home. One of the strongest, positive influences on a teenager is faith. The MKC, at Catalyst-Maria, provides a supportive, caring, and safe environment where our scholars can express their faith and find the positive effects faith has on our lives.
As a product of an all-girls catholic high school education I can attest to the importance of having the type of environment that the MKC provides as we work our way through the tumultuous years of high school. I have found that the scholars who participate in the MKC activities at Catalyst-Maria are more respectful, positive, and leadership driven in class, with their peers and as they represent Catalyst-Maria in the community as well. It is clear that what the MKC provides for our scholars positively influences them to help keep them away from the typical peer pressures that teens face. These scholars are often found to be leaders in other school activities and in the classroom and are generally very respectful to one another as well as their teachers and other adults in the Catalyst-Maria building.