Here are our responses to the Action Statement of the International Congress for Jesuit Education Delegates in Rio de Janeiro on October 2017.
Our Experience of God
1. Examen of Consciousness:
A common Examen is done at midday once a week. We plan to print many copies of a pocket card on the 5 steps of the Jesuit Examen and give one to each student or staff so that each can deepen his or her own personal examination of consciousness.
2. Interreligious Education:
While we are clearly Jesuit-Catholic in our identity and mission, St. Francis Catholic Secondary School eschews religious bigotry and teaches openness and respect to other religious affiliations.
3. Ignatian Spirituality and Discernment:
This academic year, we introduced the practice of silence and reflection for the boarding students every Saturday morning (6:00 A.M. to 6:30 A.M.). We also had communal discernment in preparation of our five-year strategic plan. Each class or department or unit took part in this discernment process, and we had a plenary session during a town hall meeting in December, 2017.
Tradition and Innovation
4. Plan of Innovation:
With our five-year strategic plan, recently approved by the Provincial, SFCSS is already on the path from tradition to transformation. We have started the implementation of smart classrooms and the newly constructed science labs are set for a scientific revolution.
5. Structures and Roles:
In the selection of student leaders, we balance roles. For example, we have a female library prefect and a male library prefect. Our staff population is also relatively balanced. We actually have more females to male.
6. Parents and Families: We emphasize to parents that it takes two to tangle. Even though the staff act in loco parentis, we cannot give quality and transformative education without the collaboration of parents. Consequently, we have open/visiting days, during which parents come and interact with their children, and their children’s teachers and form teachers.
7. Human Excellence:
While we promote academic excellence, we constantly remind our students and their parents that our education is wholistic. We train their minds, their hearts, their bodies, their souls, their emotions, and their characters. The four Cs are known to the students and staff, and we expect all of us to strive to live in the paradigms of conscience, compassion, competence, and commitment. We strive to create a synergy between moral excellence and intellectual excellence.
Caring for Our Common Home
8. Environment and Social Policy:
St. Francis is our patron saint and also the patron saint of ecology. Our new building, the Loyola Jesuit Jubilee Building, was built with the vision of Laudato Si and energy sustainability. The building optimizes the inflow of natural light and natural wind. Thus we have no need for air conditions in the hall, labs, and offices, and we can use the building with natural light during the day. The roofs of the building are equipped with 162 solar panels for the trapping of solar energy, which is abundant in our latitude of the earth. In response to the Provincial’s call to ban plastic materials in our apostolates and communities, we are already planning on the use of special stainless steel bottles for each student and staff for water consumption.
9. Education for and with the Marginalized:
While our school is relatively expensive for many Nigerian families, we launched the Jesuit Scholarship Endowment Fund last year October. The plan is to build the fund over the years. This year, interest from the fund will be used to assist some students in fees. Only interests of the fund can be used annually. We also open our gates to children in the neighborhood every Saturday for free academic lessons. These lessons are organized by our own students as their voluntary service to others in need.
Sent in A Global Network
10. School Visits and Reviews:
SFCSS is open to assessment and assistance for better networking with local and global schools. We want to start at the local level, but insecurity and challenges to safety on our highways have been discouraging us and our sister schools. Flights are expensive, and so we currently do networking through the sharing of ideas via the internet or occasional meetings and interaction.
11. Training for Global Networking:
While our staff are conscious that Jesuit Schools have a global network, we desire for a global exchange program—albeit it is capital intensive.
12. Training for Global Citizenship:
Some of our alumni study and live outside of Nigeria. While we are conscious of the negative impact of intellectual hemorrhage caused by brain drain, we are also aware that the world is increasingly a global village. Hence we educate our students to be able to study and live anywhere in the world.
13. Use of Educate Magis:
Recently through the intervention of the Provincial Assistant for Secondary Education, students of St. Francis Catholic Secondary School participated in the Educate Magis international interaction of students (via the internet) in honor of the feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola organized by Ciara from Ireland. We hope to continue to use technology to stay connected with other students of Jesuit schools.