Discussing the big bang theory, advanced math problems or constructing formations of planets in space on a summer morning with rising 6th grade boys is just one aspect of the new engaged Loyola Scholars program at Creighton Prep High School. Young students all marked with academic talent and leadership potential are working towards the goal to be prepared for Prep’s freshman year curriculum by archdiocese standards. The Loyola Scholars program is designed to nurture each student’s gifts and form young scholars to grow to be men of faith, scholarship, leadership and service.
The program also engages outstanding Prep students, as Ignatian Brothers, to help the teaching staff lead Loyola Scholars.
“The Ignatian Brothers have allowed scholars the ability to identify with young men who take an active interest in their life,” shared Mr. Utter, a Donne with the Prep Jesuit community and Assistant Teacher. “They have come highly recommended by teachers and staff as quality Prepsters. They have already done a great job welcoming their new brothers to the Prep community by spending time with the scholars daily at lunch, supporting the learning environment and interacting during activities. We’ve seen our Ignatian Brothers grow here - leading for others.”
In traditional form, the scholars are being introduced to Ignatian spirituality in this Catholic Jesuit education. To mature —emotionally, intellectually, physically, socially and religiously, Ignatian Scholars engage in prayer throughout the week.
“Students are beginning to see how to examine their own lives by stretching their minds, imagination, feelings and religious consciousness. It allows them to see God in everything,” shared Father Nathan Wendt, SJ, Director of Loyola Scholars and Assistant to the President.
St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuit order through his many challenges developed a spirituality and way of praying that are instilled in Jesuit schools all over the world. He believed one should take to these Spiritual Exercises, and find a way to live life; “Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam,” - For the Greater Glory of God.
As of June, each of the scholars have committed Saint Ignatius Prayer for Generosity to memory. The deep sentiment of this prayer is known mid-afternoon by all Prep students who take a moment to pause, and pray the prayer together as one school community.
Fr. Wendt, SJ shared, “The Daily Pledge was created for scholars to instill the knowledge that God created us out of love, that we may receive his love, love one another and live to praise, reverence and serve God each day. Through prayer, we learn that God continually seeks us out. It’s the first principal and foundation in the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius.”
Loyola Scholars Daily Pledge
As a Loyola Scholar, I dedicate myself today to grow in faith,
scholarship, leadership, and service by respecting and giving my best to
my fellow scholars, my teachers, my family, and myself.
God loves me and gave me life. All things in my life are gifts from God,
given to me, so I can know God and love God in return. I pledge to use
God’s gifts today to help me love more, grow towards my goals, and
deepen God’s life in me. If I struggle today, with God’s help, I
can do better tomorrow, always grateful.
I strive to remain self-determined, loyal, and true to the mission and
character of Loyola Scholars. I pledge this for God’s greater glory.
(Based on the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, First Principal and Foundation - translation by: Fr. Nathan Wendt, SJ)
“We talk about the life of St. Ignatius quite a bit, and pray for his intercession for us,” shared Fr. Wendt, SJ. “One day we may ask for respect, and another it may be sportsmanship. As growing men for others, we work on building up brotherhood in active sports games, and activities that level the playing field for everyone.”
Weekly, scholars also perform the Examen; another prayer developed by St. Ignatius of Loyola.
“It is a very simple way to pray and opens a pathway for gratitude,” said Fr. Wendt, SJ. “The goal is to see where God is moving in one’s life. All Prep students learn the Examen, we pray it together as a school community during Lent. As students mature, they take to it more often, slowly.”
Summer months have opened more time for prayer service and Mass on Thursdays. The Scholars take an active role in these services by preparing a reflection on the Gospel passage. Three or four students will choose to share what the passage means to him, and give an example of it in his life.
The scholars attended field trips on Fridays to Creighton University and area alumnus businesses such as Le Bouillon, Lexus of Omaha and Dundee Bank. These fun filled trips served to develop habits of intellectual inquiry and open scholars’ minds to possible pathways for growth, models of leadership and a disposition toward lifelong learning. Business alumnus leaders took time during the visits to interact with students and shared their own experiences.
The Loyola Scholars Saturday Institute will continue with twenty more session to be held this fall and next spring. Scholars will meet on Saturday mornings to work together to excel. The program is designed to follow students for three years, share progress reports and grades with parents and school officials, and tailor the instruction to the needs of each scholar.
When asked about his experience of Loyola Scholars, Yoa shared, “The Ignatian reflections had me thinking hard, along with the prayer services that helped me grow in faith. I grew in leadership from the team activities. All the teachers were nice and helpful.”
Fr. Wendt, SJ summarized the program well, “Through the generosity of the Heider Family Foundation, the Inaugural Summer Institute of Loyola Scholars has propelled the first class of 15 scholars academically and spiritually in the Ignatian tradition, growing in brotherhood and in leadership. The scholars have taken a big first step along this three year path towards their goal of being prepared for the demands of Creighton Prep’s college preparatory education,”
Joseph, a Loyola Scholar, concurred.
“I grew in more ways than just leadership. I grew in friendship with all of my fellow scholars and in faith,” shared Joseph.
The Heider Family Loyola Scholarship Fund allows each student the opportunity to earn a full financial aid scholarship to Prep. Prep dedicates itself to extending its mission in Omaha, reaching out and serving an ever more diverse array of elementary school males and their families through the Loyola Scholars formational opportunity.
Creighton Prep will begin taking applications for 15 new scholars next fall. Scholars must be enrolled fifth graders, nominated by a teacher, principal, youth leader or pastor to be considered. More information can be found at creightonprep.org/loyolascholars.
Loyola Scholars prepares talented middle school males, from households of need, for academic and social success in college preparatory education.