Faculty Spotlight – Ms. Martin
How many years have you been at Brebeuf and in what capacities?
Twelve years as French teacher and Coordinator for the French exchange program at Brebeuf and thirteen years before that in the public school system.
What’s your favorite thing about the role you play at Brebeuf?
My absolute favorite thing about my role at Brebeuf is that my position isn’t limiting. By that I mean, Brebeuf gives me the opportunity to get to know and work with students in a variety of contexts: as a teacher and exchange program coordinator, through service work, mission trips and diversity dialogues, as their fan at sporting events, theater and musical performances, etc. And without a doubt, the best part of my job at Brebeuf is being with the students.
What makes Brebeuf different from other area high schools?
That’s a great question and since I spent 13 years teaching in the public school system, I feel strongly about my response. For me, Brebeuf is about finding God in all things. When you can find God in everything, you don’t see the division between you and the other. As such, you want equity and ultimately justice for others and you are willing to work for that.
Describe a memorable moment from your time at Brebeuf.
I can’t single out just one, but I can unequivocally state that my most memorable Brebeuf moments are the ones in which honest dialogues between people of different opinions and thoughts take place. Those are hard conversations to have. It takes courage to show your vulnerabilities to someone you don’t know well, but it is only through those discussions—ones that take you out of your comfort zone—that you learn.
Brebeuf Jesuit is currently hosting French Exchange students right now (they are leaving us tomorrow). Can you tell us more about the program and how it positively impacts both our school community and our host families?
We are entering into our 11th year of an exchange with Le Caousou Jesuit high school in Toulouse, France. The idea behind the exchange is to foster relationships between people in an effort to promote inter-cultural dialogue, tolerance, and respect for diversity—all principles on which a Jesuit education is based. The majority of the families involved in the exchange still remain in contact and I think that is a testament to the friendships that have been formed.
If one of your friends was considering sending their child to Brebeuf, what would you tell them?
That’s an easy one. I would say that if you truly want your children to be challenged to think critically and to take action with respect to issues of justice and equity, Brebeuf is a great place for that to happen. But as a parent, you need to be prepared to allow your children to spread their wings and to allow them to fail from time to time because it is through that process that they will learn the most about others and about who they themselves are. It is also in that process that your children will truly develop their God-given talents and gifts.
What’s something that challenges you, and how do you navigate that challenge?
I struggle with saying no when I perceive a need somewhere and that can lead to me forgetting to enjoy each moment. When I notice that this has happened, I call on my mindfulness training to bring me back to the present moment so that when I am with my students, I am 100% there. It is then that I can be authentically me.
Who inspires you?
My sister inspires me. She has been through some incredibly difficult moments professionally and personally, yet she has not let that impact how she sees people. She is someone who goes out of her way to help other people when they are in distress, never questioning or judging them. She is also an animal rescuer—she has 15 disabled dogs—and will not think twice about taking on another if the need arises. To top it all off, she doesn’t seek attention to all of the help that she provides because, as she says, “it isn’t about me.”
What do you like to do in your spare time, when not working at Brebeuf?
I really enjoy volunteering with my son at Dayspring family shelter, and baking or reading. I love to bake for my students!
Tell us something about you that most people don’t know…
During my college years, I worked as a camp counselor teaching disabled children and adults how to white water raft and rock climb/repel.