Guild Program Enhances Curriculum and Restores Normalcy

This week marks the end of the first cycle of guild classes. Students will transition to a new guild on Friday. This affords an opportunity to assess the implementation of the planned concept. They say every crisis presents an opportunity, and that is certainly fitting in this situation. For several years, both leadership and parents voiced a desire for the school to provide activities that promote healthy social engagement as well as imparting life skills. Putting that vague concept into formal structure was an elusive task until this year. Thanks to the pandemic induced adaptations, the guild class was incorporated into the block schedule. Guilds are where the virtues so frequently discussed are taught through hands-on experiences. 

By all accounts, the guilds have been a boon to the curriculum this year. The two-fold objectives of providing a structured social activity along with authentic fellowship have come to fruition. From cooking to board and card games to gardening and homesteading, each class experiences meaningful breaks from traditional classroom learning every other day to engage in an alternative way of learning. “Many of the students didn’t know how to play these games before,” noted Mr. Dow, who is leading the St. Philip Neri Games guild. “But a student just told me that he visited his grandmother and played the card game, hearts, with her. He learned that game here.”

Ms. McKenna runs the Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati Survival Skills guild. She observed, “Every student had an opportunity to collaborate and exercise leadership through the various types of activities we carried out. It was enjoyable to watch them work with each other on different projects, whether it was water filtration or temporary shelter building, they found untapped skills and rose to the challenge at hand.”

It is often the case that one laments the loss of the status quo when circumstances beyond our control force their way into life. However it pays to remember that just about everything in life is beyond our control except our chosen response to the situation. In this case, it is gratifying that the challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic created an opportunity for new avenues of the classical learning environment to be explored.  

The entire junior high and high school student body will cycle through all five guilds over the course of this academic year. The guilds are as follows:

Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati Survival Skills Guild

St. Philip Neri Games Guild

St. Isadore Gardening and Homesteading Guild

St. Lorenzo Cooking Guild

St. Hildegarde Theatre Guild

St. Genesius Film Guild