Young alumni are sharing how they are succeeding after high school in our #becauseofCJ series. Through your gift to the CJ Annual Fund, you make this happen for all students. As Cecilia Meadors '18 shares her thoughts and reflections on community service and involvement below, please consider joining others today in supporting the mission of CJ — thank you!
"During my freshman year and through my senior year, I can recall countless encounters with people who undoubtedly cared about my well-being and dreams for the future. Those people were teachers, coaches, various faculty members, peers, and Marianist PULSE volunteers. Some of those people were folks I interacted with many times each day, while others I saw just a couple times a week- no matter how frequent our interactions, God delicately crafted them into the sum of who I was meant to be then, and who I am becoming today.
Preceding my first year at Chaminade Julienne, campus felt like a home. The feeling of it being a home culminated from summer writing, basketball, and volleyball camps, walking through the building with any four of my siblings who graduated before me, and the joy I witnessed when CJ was brought up in conversation between adults and my parents. Campus felt like even more of a home when on orientation day several teachers greeted me as ‘Baby Meadors.’ The family spirit I grew up with in my home was exhibited each day while I attended Chaminade Julienne, and that family spirit instilled a passion in me to share the spirit ever-rooted in faith with those I encounter.
While at CJ I became particularly inspired to create and be a part of many meaningful friendships. One of the very first friends I made was from Our Lady of the Rosary, a grade school I knew no one from during my time at St. Rita and St. Christopher. Our friendship began one day when he, Joe, noticed we walked from the same direction to religion class every day and he asked me if I’d like to walk together. I accepted the invitation not realizing that he meant we would walk together each day. As a fourteen, almost-fifteen-year-old, I never considered the impact one friendship could have on me years later as an almost 21 year-old adult, all because we walked to class together every day.
My friendship with Joe continued during liturgical choir that we sang in together, attending Mass or praying the rosary before and after school, cheering as fans at sports games, and more. Joe inspired me to seek out the possibility of becoming an Intervention Specialist after high school. Once a member of the Cuvilly Program at CJ, his honest feelings and frustrations resonated with me since we were close friends. Joe would share stories with me about his current happenings that highlighted the difference in support every student needs in the classroom and beyond. Because of CJ, Joe remains in my life a prayer partner, ice cream connoisseur, and unconditionally caring friend. Because of CJ, family spirit serves as the motivation behind my love for education as a whole. Beginning in eighth grade, I co-taught with my mom and now individually teach a religious education class at my parish. With my aspirations to become a teacher guiding me through my later years of high school, this volunteer position turned into a prayer experience like no other for myself and the fourth/fifth graders. A special math teacher at CJ wrote the following prayer with inspiration from an awesome God and Holy Spirit moment:
'Lord, help me to find my talents and to use my talents to build the Kingdom of God on earth.
Lord, help me to treat myself with respect and to treat others with respect.
Lord, help me to see You in everyone I meet.
So thoughtfully written and honestly spoken, this prayer has been passed through the CJ walls to many children who may not ever meet this teacher, but now have experienced the epitome of family spirit through a simply beautiful prayer. To me, family spirit cannot be learned as well as it can be felt. Those at Chaminade Julienne encouraged me to explore the role my feelings and spirituality have in the lives of others. Graduating from Western Governors University in the spring of 2021 with a degree in Elementary Education and Special Education, I plan to foster the feeling of family spirit in my classroom and greater school community as a teacher. Because of CJ, unconditional love will inspire my creation of unique support for every child within the future classrooms I hope to teach. Because of CJ, I live with the conviction that every life has a purpose revealed by God through the interpersonal encounters of deep significance and powerful beauty.
Cecilia Meadors ‘18
-- This story was published on Oct. 9, 2020.