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Alumni Service Corps embrace spirituality, community

By Tyler J. Scott ’12

Photo by Kevin Cabano '12 - Matt Williams '07 sits working at his computer in his shared office in the Office of Faith and Justice.
Photo by Kevin Cabano '12 - Matt Williams '07 sits working at his computer in his shared office in the Office of Faith and Justice.

This year Brophy debuts an Alumni Service Corps similar to those found in many Jesuit high schools and universities around the nation.

According to the Brophy website, this program is a “post-college service program for Brophy graduates, and graduates of other Jesuit high schools.”

Alumni volunteer for the corps and serve as teachers and substitutes for Brophy and Loyola Academy classes.

This year, there are four members who were selected to be a part of the ASC from a group of nine who applied.

The volunteers this year are Mr. Caleb Alpaugh ’07, Mr. Matt Williams ’07, Mr. Matt Moore ’07 and Mr. Matt Smith ’06.

Mr. Alpaugh works primarily in the OFJ but he also teaches Latin to 6th graders at Loyola Academy.

Mr. Moore and Mr. Smith teach at the Loyola Academy and Mr. Williams primarily deals with the OFJ but also teaches an AP Psychology class at Brophy.

Mr. Ted Skowron was one of the faculty members who helped interview and select members of the group.

He helped to structure the interviews and went on a two-day retreat in California with the volunteers.

Currently he is there almost every Monday night to help them with any problems they might encounter.

On Monday nights, they have a “community night,” and Mr. Skowron occasionally attends those.

“It’s an in-house service program,” Mr. Skowron said. “(They) work as faculty members, live in the community and they’re also doing a spiritual journey.”

Mr. Skowron also described the three main facets of the ASC that administration looked for in the candidates as community, service and spirituality.

Along with Brophy Principal Mr. Bob Ryan, Mr. Skowron helped select the four candidates based on a few different qualifications.

According to Mr. Skrowron, they stressed the qualification of service.

“One (thing we look for) is a true desire to serve,” Mr. Skowron said. “Not just looking at it as another job but looking at it as a spiritual journey. They’re here because God wants them to be here. Another is making a commitment to living in community with other guys, it’s not just sharing a house but it’s talking about ‘what’s our mission together.’”

ASC members Mr. Alpaugh and Mr. Williams found out about this unique opportunity very much by chance.

“Freshman year of college I started to really want to come back to Brophy, and the summer before my senior year I called Mr. Ryan to try and see if there was anything available for me to come back, but it didn’t sound like it,” Mr. Alpaugh said. “ … and then in March I saw this either on Facebook or my email or something and I got really excited because this was exactly what I wanted to do so I jumped all over it.”

Mr. Williams also discovered of the ASC from a third party.

“I found out about it kind of by chance,” Mr. Williams said. “My parents ran into Mr. Ryan at a social event and he told them about it and they told me about it in the spring. When I heard about this I was really excited because it’s one year, which is great … so I wanted something to do for a year and this sounded awesome.”

The four members of the ASC all live together in a group home that Brophy bought and refurbished.

The house is on 3rd street and Elm, which is within walking distance of Brophy.

For the volunteers, returning to Brophy was one of the main reasons for applying.

“When I graduated from Brophy I really missed it a lot, I loved college but Brophy is just a really special place and I wanted to come back to Arizona,” Mr. Williams said. “It’s great being back here and getting to know the faculty in a different way: as more friends than teacher-student relationships. It’s such a great community to work with. It energizes me, gets me up in the morning and gets me excited to go through the day.”

Volunteer Mr. Alpaugh views this experience as a way to jumpstart the profession he wants to go into.

“Eventually I want to get my masters in education; I want to teach, preferably in a Jesuit school,” Mr. Alpaugh said. “Brophy would be awesome but I’m still trying to figure out how that will all come together.”

Mr. Williams on the other hand, is looking towards medical school.

“I’m still applying and I took the MCAT. I’m applying for Fall 2012 and I’d really like to go in state, hopefully UofA, but we’ll see how that works,” he said.

Regardless of the future, volunteers said the three pillars of service, community and spirituality ring true now.

“It’s been great to be a part of the community again; working in the OFJ has been great. I like how much more of an emphasis they’ve put on service here now and the new experience of teaching at Loyola academy is invigorating,” Mr. Alpaugh said.

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