CJ Continues Renovations With 18 Classroom Improvements

While summer time may mean flip flops and sunglasses for students, hard hats have become a “must have” accessory for those working at CJ during the summer. Construction dust and noise - and a “safety first” attitude - are all part of the summer experience of witnessing improvements to the school’s academic building in 2013 and 2015, renovations of the auditorium in 2016, and completing the construction of Roger Glass Stadium - Home of the CJ Eagles in 2016.

Just before the close of school year, CJ announced another summer of hard hats, this time renovations to eighteen classrooms, hallways, and stairwells in building 3, the three-floor area connected to Marianist Hall along Franklin Street.  The classrooms have been home in recent years to language, math, social studies and religion classes. Like the previous modernization projects, this renovation will include air conditioning for this portion of the school.

“We are grateful to our Trustees and the leadership teams of the Marianists and Sisters, who were consulted on this project, for their commitment to continuing the progress we have made toward improving our teaching and learning environment,” said Dan Meixner ‘84, president.

Social studies teacher and football coach Marcus Colvin added, “We’re changing, but not changing who we are. We’re the same school, the same community, we’re just improving the experience.”

The project is set to be completed by Christmas break, though it is anticipated that a portion of the classrooms will be ready to use earlier in the fall.

Karen Emmerich, religion teacher, who just finished her 12th year of teaching at CJ and third year in a third floor classroom, shared this message as she was packing up her classroom:

Thoughts On An Empty Classroom, May 21, 2017, The Feast of the Visitation

It took more boxes than I thought it would for just one room. (I wonder how much Mary packed to visit Elizabeth?) I am grateful for the many hands that helped to a pack and move those heavy boxes. I pray in thanksgiving for the colleagues who helped me with the tasks I couldn’t do on my own. 

Thank you, Creator God, for the incredible diversity of gifts and talents and interests that you place in the hearts of your people.  Alone I can do so little, but together we give each other the gift of community and we can do so much for You.

So many students have sat in these desks. I wonder what it would take to count them all? I am inspired when I consider the places they’ve gone, the good things they are doing, the lives they are’ touching.

Thank you, God my Father, for my vocation as a teacher.  Thank you too, for the gift that every student has been to me, challenging me to be a better teacher, a better person.  Watch over them and shower them all with your grace and mercy as they seek a path in this world that leads back to You.

It’s getting warm in this empty room on this mild day in May.  Without the posters and the people, it’s easier to see the evidence that this room has been well-used. (Today’s gospel speaks of wombs.  I look at this room and am reminded of stretch marks.) I wonder how many hands will touch this space to remake it over this summer?

I pray in thanksgiving for the vocations of architects, engineers, electricians, HVAC technicians, carpenters, plumbers, painters.  I pray for their safety and well-being as they work to renew this space for learning.

I’ve emptied off shelves, cleaned out files, sorted, stacked, reconsidered all these resources, plans, relics, memories.  I feel called to take on a mental remodeling as well.

Holy Spirit, source of all that is good, inspire me this summer as I work on goals, objectives, lesson plans; as I collaborate with colleagues across the curriculum; as I learn about using data to inform instruction; as I ponder differentiated instruction and how to best meet the needs of all my students.  Like your gift of Jesus to Mary, each student is a gift to me from You. May my work with them be my gift in return to You.

I leave this room now looking forward to taking the “after picture”, preparing to receive new students, welcoming students to a space that tells them the entire Chaminade Julienne community cares about them and their education. I am thankful for those who shared the gifts of their vision, time, talent and treasure to make this remodel a reality.

Praise to you Holy Spirit for moving in the minds and hearts of all those who contributed to this renovation. May the example of their openness to You and their generosity and vision inspire my students to look around their world to ask what needs to be done and to feel empowered by You to go do it.

I am bringing home pictures of St. Julie Billiart and Blessed William Joseph Chaminade, grateful for the gifts of their models and charisms.

Fr. Chaminade and St. Julie teach me to look to Mary to figure out how to be a disciple.  Like Mary going to Elizabeth, I’m going to be with family for a few months to rest, reflect and pray. This empty classroom reminds me of the inbetween time of pregnancy. It doesn’t look like much yet and I am curious to watch the progress over the summer.  Laboring over the messy process of emptying out and letting go to get  the room to this point has helped me to refocus as a teacher and as a disciple.

So with a glad heart I leave with Mary’s words as my prayer:

"My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.
(Luke 1:46-48, NABRE)

Posted June 1, 2017