One of my biggest responsibilities this year is organizing and directing the Freshman Breakaway program. My first task regarding the program was to examine the experience of the Breakaway and determine what I wanted to keep and what needed to be reworked. After looking over the way the Breakaway had been run in the past few years, I decided to put a greater emphasis on reflection throughout the day.
To do this, I decided to shorten the day, which accomplished two things: 1) it allowed me to bring the students back to Brophy for a meaningful reflection before they had been drained of all their energy, and 2) it allowed students to go home and have a meal with their families where they can discuss their experiences throughout the day. These changes have been an overwhelming success, as students have been more engaged in the day knowing that there is a clear end in sight. The added reflection time has also helped the students be truly thoughtful about the work they have done. In fact, I am always amazed at the change that occurs from the morning reflection (where little to nothing is said by the students) to the ending reflection, in which every student has something to say about how the day affected them and has made them more thankful for their blessings.
As for the day itself, I truly enjoy leading it every week. And maybe I should elaborate a little bit about what the day entails. Each week, a different group of freshmen goes to St. Vincent de Paul for a day of service and activities designed to enlighten the boys about the struggles of the working poor and homeless. The big service project of the day involves us helping to serve lunch at one of SVdP’s dining halls. Every time I go, it truly breaks my heart to see the vast number of people who walk through the door to receive a meal.
But you might be wondering if I am getting tired of doing these things. Well, during the morning reflection at the beginning of each Breakaway, I always mention that this is my “n”th time going (the number is 14 now), and at some point my faculty partner for the given day will always ask me if I am getting tired of doing Breakaways. The answer is honestly, “No.” I really do enjoy leading the days and watching the students change throughout the day. It’s also just nice to get out of the office each week .
Until next time,
Caleb Alpaugh ’07