St. Patrick Catholic High School Faculty Member Jean Benoit has received the Chris Lary Memorial Award through the University of Notre Dame. This award assists in the fulfillment of deserving, creative efforts of Catholic schools. This award will aid in connecting students to the broader community through service.
Benoit has taught art and social studies at SPCHS for one year. Within her proposal for the award, she wrote, “Whenever we look to the interests of our neighbor, or seek to serve our community, we are — in a real sense — co-workers of the Lord. Christian scriptures are filled with accounts of our Lord Jesus’ loving concern for people and their needs. By promoting a clear connection between service to the community and the classroom, students in the Visual Arts program at St. Patrick Catholic High School will better understand the many ways they can use their talents for the benefit of others. Serving low-income elderly residents of their community will deepen their understanding of the struggles the marginalized face. This type of personalized service will promote the transformation of our students into leaders engaged in learning, faith, justice and service for life.”
She plans to utilize the award winnings in the exploration of ceramics and provide services to surrounding communities. She says, “The approximately 100 students in the Visual Arts program at St. Patrick participate in the exploration of a variety of mediums, including ceramics. As part of their ceramic rotation, students will have the opportunity to use their artistic talents to provide service for the residents of the Santa Maria del Mar center, an apartment complex for senior citizens subsidized by the Diocese of Biloxi. This complex houses approximately 100 residents in this complex. Units are rented to elderly residents with an annual income of less than 50% of the region’s median income. Each student will construct a ceramic cross applying hand-building techniques learned in class. By directly applying classroom learning and their own interest in art to a service project, students will be more engaged in community service and form a lasting
understanding of how to apply their personal talents to the service of others. Additionally, art students will create calligraphy-styled, illustrated prayer cards to attach to the crosses. The school’s religion teachers could be enlisted in developing appropriate, personal prayers for these cards. Art students would then work with the three main service clubs on St. Patrick’s campus — Key Club, Interact, and Student Council — for their assistance in distributing the crosses.”
Congratulations Mrs. Benoit!