Spirit of Continual Improvement
“There is literally something for everyone here. Think about it, we have a club devoted to the show Survivor," Jake says. Sarah adds: “That is one of the main reasons why we build a real sense of community at BSM.” Later in the conversation Anna suggests, “we should find ways to offer more language immersion experiences for the students.” These are actual comments from a few of our seniors at Benilde-St. Margaret’s as they enjoy Jimmy John’s freaky fast sandwiches in the company of a small group of peers.
This past fall, I began to have lunch discussions with small groups of seniors pursuing two main goals – to learn from them and talk to them about the alumni relationship. By the end of the year, I will have had the opportunity to converse with the entire Class of 2018. The quotes offered earlier are responses the question, “What has BSM done well, and what would improve the experience moving forward?” In the spirit of continual improvement, these conversations have been incredibly reflective and valuable. Of course, that is what I would expect from our seniors. Their thoughts will influence our thinking about the needs of our students.
After the reflective conversations conclude, the agenda shifts toward graduation. It is easy for a senior to move into their collegiate life without spending much time thinking about their role as a BSM alumnus/alumna, and that can be a lost opportunity. My goal is to help each of these soon-to-be graduates begin to think about the relationship they would like with BSM as their lives change. The value of a Benilde-St. Margaret’s education extends well beyond the curriculum and instruction; it also offers access to available networks of Red Knights around the world. I am constantly reminded of the value of these networks as I hear stories from our graduates through the years. Being an engaged alum matters.
On May 1, many of our graduates, ranging in age and professional experience, will gather with our current seniors over breakfast. They will hear a few speakers, share stories, offer advice, and laugh together. Some will forge lasting connections as they start of continue building their network of Red Knights.
At the end of the year, once all of the lunch conversations have concluded, our school will have learned from the Class of 2018, and the Class of 2018 will have learned a great deal as well. Their education at BSM may be complete, but as we say: “Once a Red Knight, always a Red Knight.”