I have to admit that I was nervous the first time I drove up to Guilford Elementary Middle. Not only was I running late because I had gotten lost and then trapped in the parking lot between unmoving cars waiting for their children to come out but I was in a whole new environment. Which is strange to think about, really. The school’s proximity to York Road is about equal to that of my house in Rahner Village. The difference, however, is that Guilford is not teaming with Loyola Campus Police or college students roaming around. There is a different feeling. You can almost feel the pop of the bubble as you step outside and every time I feel that I feel like I am getting closer to Kolvenbach’s idea of the conversion of our global society.
The pop of the bubble that I felt walking up to Guilford was like a child’s bubble bursting on a wand compared to how I felt crossing North Ave. and approaching the Caroline Center. The building down in East Baltimore is on the end of York Road that no bar would lure Loyola students to. Stepping out of the car felt more like having dozens of balloons popped in my face than bubbles but what an awakening feeling that is! Although Guilford and Caroline Center are completely different institutions they share so much in common.
The first thing I noticed upon stepping over the threshold of these two unique schools was that everybody was overwhelmingly friendly and personable, from one woman telling me I shouldn’t stay outside too long in the cold while I was waiting for school to let out to the women at the Caroline Center, both the students and the instructors, immediately accepting me as one of their own. While Guilford is for children and the Caroline Center is for women their goals are the same, and really the same as our goals as an institution of higher education: to obtain the tools, attitudes, knowledge and proficiencies necessary to succeed in the 21st century. The visions of both centers say a variation of just that. All of us are students and we are eager to learn. The 6th graders want to memorize Newton’s Laws just as badly as the women want to learn verb forms exactly how we want to understand the main themes and ideas in a novel to make a coherent argument. We all have a similar goal in mind and we are all lucky enough to have the opportunity to take the steps toward it. It is with all these ideas that Kolvenbach’s reference to the Pope’s call to educate the whole person of solidarity through contact rather than through concepts becomes most obviously relevant and connects directly to what the speaker in the video that we watched in class says about reading (34). Through contact with others, be it through direct volunteer work or through the arts, it makes the lives of others more real to you and increases your own sense of personal destiny (video). I don’t feel that I am going in to these schools to help them; we are really all there to serve each other and realize our individual destinies.