In a way, you really can’t miss the values of St. Lawrence Seminary, because they are everywhere. Literally. They are printed in every copy of the Student Handbook, a framed copy is enshrined in every meeting room, study hall, classroom, and even the wall of the Welcome Center (main entrance) lists the values written in letters over a foot tall.
So what are these core values?:
Spirituality, Diversity, Social Skills, Humble Commitment, Knowledge, and Safe Community.
Note: For more information on St. Lawrence Seminary High School’s values, visit our website and read up on our mission statement.
These are the values. But what do these values mean? Are they just nice words, or do they make a difference in the day-to-day lives of those associated with St. Lawrence Seminary?
The meaning of these values in the everyday lives of those associated with St. Lawrence Seminary is very dependent on each individual’s life experiences. They mean something quite different to a teenager than they do to an adult. They even mean something different to a young teenager who is just beginning at St. Lawrence as opposed to an older teenager preparing for graduation.
To see what the students think of the values, some of them were asked about what the values meant to them.
The value of “social skills” is one that students have no trouble identifying in their lives. One student said, “Social skills have affected me very deeply during my time at SLS. I was always a respectful kid, but the skills we are urged to use daily have now become instilled in my everyday actions.”
Some students see this value in very practical terms. A student reflected that, “The social skills I have learned at St. Lawrence are extremely important to me. Not only is it the correct way to behave, it has helped me in my summer job. I work as a caterer, and the people I serve at weddings are always impressed by my manners and use of social skills. They have told me on several occasions that it is rare to see a young person who knows these behaviors. Learning social skills has helped me outside of St. Lawrence immensely.”
Another value that students can easily discuss is “spirituality.” When one student was asked what spirituality had to do with his life at St. Lawrence, he looked a bit surprised at the question and answered very simply, “Everything. Everything we do here is influenced by our spirituality.”
In a why, there really can’t be a better answer than that. But another student said, “Before attending SLS, I was not a very spiritual person. Sure, I went to Mass on Sundays and prayed here and there, but it wasn’t until I came here that I realized the importance of my spirituality. It has become an essential part of my time through morning and evening prayers, Masses, and adoration time. My spiritual direction meetings also helped me to get in touch with Christ outside of these mandatory events.”
In a way, the value of “knowledge” is sort of a given in a school atmosphere. But one student expanded the idea a bit when he said, “The school’s education system is wonderful, because it provides me not only a good academic preparation for the future but also helps me to develop the social, moral, and spiritual aspects of my life as well.”
Another explained, “At SLS we learn and we play. Although one of these is more fun than the other, learning is fundamental. Education is special here. With small classes, you can learn more efficiently.”
The meaning of the value of “safe community” for the students depends a lot on where they call home. When asked what this value meant to him, one student said, “The area I come from is not very safe. Walking home from school often scared me because of the violence in my neighborhood. At night at home, I am often not allowed to go outside, but when I am at SLS, I always feel safe no matter the time of day. SLS has the safest environment and community that I have ever experienced.”
For another student, it was a different kind of safety that impressed him. He stated it this way: “The value of a ‘safe community’ means being able to show my uniqueness and express what I know without being mocked or treated badly by others. The safe community allows for us to grow because we know everyone here is our brother. Rather than bring each other down, we support one another.”
The value of “diversity” is another one of those concepts that seems pretty obvious. One look at the student body, and you can see the diversity. But students appreciate being able to not only live with people from different backgrounds but also to be able to participate with them in their special celebrations. One student observed that, “We get together to celebrate other cultures all the time, even singing in Mass in several languages. Through this diversity, we really experience other ethnicities in a positive way. We are so accustomed and attached to each other, it is as if we do not see any racial barriers. To each other, we are the same – like brothers.”
When asked about “humble commitment,” one senior said that he shows this value “… by tutoring freshmen in academics, by taking leadership positions in my activities, and by being an example to others (for example, during work crew).”
Others think immediately of the off-campus opportunities. A student said, “My favorite ministry is housing rehab where we fix and repair homes for the less fortunate.”
The values of St. Lawrence Seminary High School are not only words posted on the walls. But just like they can be seen in the words of the students themselves, the values are also etched into the hearts, thoughts, and actions of the SLS students.