The true mark of a Brebeuf Jesuit education is students that care – care about their peers, the school, and the world around them.
While the youngest generation today is often described as inward-focused, Brebeuf students push back against the generalizations and stereotypes by wanting a better world and constantly striving to educate themselves and those around them on what is right and just.
It is no surprise that the world of late has been rocked by acts of hatred and terrorism towards marginalized groups. From the synagogue shooting in Pittsburg to vandalism at Shaaray Tefila in Carmel to the recent mosque attacks in New Zealand, our students are growing up in a world where such events are, yes, terrifying, but also common place. And, for many, it’s almost easier to build up an immunity and state of ignorance towards such hatred. But, not at Brebeuf.
Jocelyn Swan, a current senior, grew up in a Catholic family in Zionsville, IN. She admits that her world was fairly homogenous until starting at Brebeuf her freshman year. Here, she learned about different cultures, religions and backgrounds. She was encouraged to explore worlds outside her own. While taking Genocide and Holocaust with longtime Brebeuf teacher Franklin Oliver, students were assigned with an open-ended project to choose a topic and “run with it.” At first, Jocelyn struggled deciding on a topic, but after a nudge from Mr. Oliver, she decided to attend the Jewish Community Relations Council Symposium on Antisemitism and build her project from there.
Jocelyn said that despite her Catholic faith, she was very interested in learning more about anti-Semitism, especially given her own knowledge that anti-Semitism is alive and well in today’s age of social media.
“That’s why I love brebeuf, because it gives you these opportunities to go and experience these things. Having a teacher as great as Mr. Oliver pushes you to realize this is really important, and he wants you to extend the learning outside the classroom, which is so cool and so necessary for today’s world.”
The Symposium featured five main speakers, with individual break-out sessions available to the attendees, including ‘Social Media and Antisemitism’ and ‘Antisemitism in Schools,’ among others. While Jocelyn admits that she was initially hesitant to attend, she realized afterward how glad she was that she went. The symposium showed her how important it is to be aware that these are still relevant issues that happen all around us, whether we see it firsthand or not.
When asked about her greatest takeaways, Jocelyn said she learned to never again hesitate to learn more about a topic, as well as how important it is to continue to stay educated on this and all areas of social justice. But, most importantly, Jocelyn learned to speak up when she sees injustice happening around her.
“No change was ever made when you were silent.”
Click here to see Jocelyn’s full presentation.