Going to a Catholic high school has many great benefits (too many to name!), one of which is the Office of Campus Ministry. Campus Ministry at Calvert Hall is responsible for Masses and prayer services, community service, service immersion trips
, retreats, and managing the student peer ministers. Along with these responsibilities, each campus minister also teaches classes.
I’ve been a graduate of Calvert Hall for a few weeks now and I find myself reflecting on my time at the Hall on a daily basis. My greatest memories at Calvert Hall were all brought about because of the Office of Campus Ministry. In fact, if it weren’t for the three campus ministers at the Hall, Mr. Parisi, Ms. Tracey, and Mr. Nagib, I wouldn’t be who or where I am today.
Evan pictured with Ms. Tracey
Ms. Tracey originally introduced me to service. I had the pleasure of going to Virginia with her and some of my classmates along with a group from Notre Dame Prep the summer leading in to my junior year. We spent a week working on a Habitat for Humanity home build and learning about migrant workers. My experience on the trip was so great that it lead me to explore the other service opportunities available at Calvert Hall. Ms. Tracey also acted as a counselor to anyone who walked in to the office. She was available to help anyone with things ranging from social life to schoolwork. If it wasn’t for her, I probably wouldn’t have been so passionate and involved in service at Calvert Hall.
Evan with Mr. Nagib to his right
Mr. Nagib took me and a handful of classmates on an immersion trip in Baltimore called “Baltimmersion.” We spent the weekend learning about hunger and homelessness in Baltimore City and we even had the opportunity to serve those less fortunate in the city. Mr. Nagib is the type of person that anyone, and I mean everyone, could connect with. His energy and love for students brought tons of students in to the Campus Ministry office. If you needed help with a tough homework assignment or term paper, he would be there to offer you great advice and assistance. If you needed a little push to get you going on the athletic field, he would be there to help you out.
Evan with Mr. Parisi after graduation
Mr. Parisi is the one who helped break me out of my “shy shell” as well as become a better photographer…even though he has no photographic experience. He acted as a mentor for me at the Hall and really pushed me through my later years of high school. Mr. Parisi took me on service trips to Montana
along with some smaller service opportunities and he also got me involved in the peer ministry program. My trip to Montana not only left me with greater knowledge of the Blackfeet Indian’s and poverty on their reservation, but it introduced me to the state where I will be attending college
for the next four years of my life. When I went to Haiti with him and some classmates this past spring break, my eyes were opened to the issue of global poverty and the true beauty of Haiti.
Without the Office of Campus Ministry at Calvert Hall, I wouldn’t be so strong in my Catholic faith, I wouldn’t be more outgoing, and I wouldn’t be as passionate about service. Without the guidance and support given to me by Mr. Parisi, Ms. Tracey, and Mr. Nagib, I wouldn’t be who or where I am today.
June 27, 2013 10:32
By Evan Zimmer
Calvert Hall College High School had the privilege of hosting Admiral Samuel J. Locklear III on March 15, 2013. Admiral Locklear currently serves as Commander, U.S. Pacific Command. Admiral Locklear has been to nearly every country in the world and currently manages Navy personnel and equipment in the Pacific. His visit wasn’t aimed at recruiting students, rather to discuss current event topics as well as the importance of leadership and good decision making. During his presentation he reminded students, “You are the innovators. The world values men of integrity. The world values men of humility and compassion. The world values men of service.” He then asked students “So, how will you serve your country?”
I had the opportunity to sit down and talk with Admiral Locklear for a few minutes after his presentation to discuss his profession, advice for high school students and a debated topic recently brought up in the media:
Q: Why did you choose a career in the Navy?
A: “Well I think the Navy, in the U.S. military, chose me. I was a young 17 year old that was looking for something more than what I saw developing on my plan. I had the opportunity to join the Navy and I knew that it could open up opportunities for me if I chose to take them. Then, once I got in I had really good mentorship that led me towards a leadership position.”
Q: Does faith play a role in your profession?
A: “Of course faith does. I’m a Christian faith and I find it hard to believe that people can actually see all that’s in the world and not believe that there’s a God that created it. It’s just too amazing. So, absolutely, faith plays a big role.”
Q: What is the most rewarding part about your job?
A: “The most rewarding thing is I get to lead hundreds of thousands of people. I get to have a say, in some degree, in the future of this country and I hold that very dear. And certainly I feel a deep responsibility for the safety and security of all Americans. They trust you as military, the American people do - they don’t trust just anybody - they trust us. So making sure we don’t violate that trust is important. "
To view a slideshow, navigate the arrows below:
Q: What lessons did you learn as a teenager that you carry with you today?
A: “Don’t underestimate your potential. Don’t think that the world has predetermined how good you can be. You determine how good you can be, and to be as good as you can be you have to make sure your integrity is in the right place, that you have a certain amount of humility and compassion for people, and that you choose a life of service rather than someone else serving you.”
Q: If there was one tip you could give to high school students, what would it be?
A: “Make good choices. Think about your choices before you make them, and don’t let others make them for you. I think in high school, even when I was a student, the peer pressure to do things and to make decisions that aren’t going to be in your best interest is very high. Sometimes people make bad decisions and they get through them because they’re lucky, some don’t because they’re unlucky. The best way to do it is to learn how to make good decisions and that means you have to be able to say no to things, to wait on things, to be patient on things, and to seek advice from people who made the mistake before. “
Q: What was your ultimate goal as a high school student?
A: “I’m not quite sure. At the time I was just trying to get through the next week or test or social event and all those things that you do when you’re a high school student. I tended to have a short term view in those years, so my ultimate goal I guess was to graduate high school. And that’s what kind of set me on the path to being in the Navy was that my ultimate goal wasn’t a very good one. But I guess when I look back, I wasn’t very smart, but I was smart enough to recognize that the ultimate goal I set wasn’t working so I had to change it. You can’t be afraid to change your perspective. Most people when they graduate don’t end up doing what they planned on doing. God takes you to different places if you let him take you there, but you can take yourself other places if you want to and he’ll let you.”
Q: Is there anything you learned as an adult that you wish you had learned as a kid?
A: “No, I think there’s a value in going through the process of learning. So to say ‘I wish I had known this when I was 17’, I don’t think I would change anything. I don’t think I would change anything I learned, the way I learned it, or any experience I had, even the bad. When you string them all together it’s what makes your life anyway. It makes it interesting I guess.”
Q: I know global warming was recently said to be on the top of your list of issues…
A: “Yeah, I know…I sort of got misrepresented a little bit. It’s not the most important thing. It certainly doesn’t top things like nuclear weapons in Korea. But for a long range perspective of things that will impact people and their lives, since 80% of seven billion people live within 200 miles of the ocean, you have to think about what’s happening to the weather change. There’s no question. I don’t know what’s causing it – that’s a scientific debate and I’m not a scientist, but it is changing.”
Not only does his advice apply to just kids, it may also apply to adults. What are your thoughts on Admiral Locklear’s comments?
Thank you, Admiral Locklear, from the Calvert Hall students and staff. I would personally like to thank you for taking your time to answer some of my questions after your presentation.
March 18, 2013 01:18
By Evan Zimmer
When I was a little kid, I didn’t seem to grasp the real meaning of Christmas. Christmas just seemed like a day to receive gifts.
On Christmas Eve I headed over to St. Margaret’s Church in Bel Air for their 4:00pm Christmas Eve celebration before going to a relative’s house for dinner. When I walked in to the church I noticed a few little angels sitting in the front pews and a little Mary and Joseph standing in the back. Everything came together when it was time for Msgr. Michael Schleupner to give the homily. Instead of him speaking to the congregation, he used the young kids to tell the story of Jesus’ birth. At the end of the performance, Father called all the children in the church to gather in the front of the altar and asked them questions about Christmas. Every answer was spot on. One kid even asked to say something into the microphone and said “I like getting presents but Jesus is more important.”
Needless to say, I was extremely impressed with the answers given to Father’s questions and the performance of Jesus’ birth.
December 26, 2012 11:53
By Evan Zimmer
Last Thursday, Catholics around the world celebrated the feast of All Saints.
As a school community, Calvert Hall gathered to reflect on sainthood and the call for each of us to be holy. As Ben Capone, a senior at Calvert Hall, shared with us at Mass, "The call to holiness begins with us first believing that God could choose us despite our weaknesses and our flaws … that we are that good and that holy that God would choose us to be among this saintly group of people."
As you can see in my photos, we covered the stage in different saints and were challenged by both Father Jerry Francik (Pastor of St. Mark in Fallston and a Calvert Hall alumni) and Ben to consider this call to holiness and to work toward saying yes to God much like so many others before us did.
November 07, 2012 01:50
By Evan Zimmer
I often hear adults say things like “you’ll remember where you were when _______ happened.” One of these times for me was Sept. 11, 2001.
On the day of the terrorist attacks I was in first grade at St. Margaret School in Bel Air. I can remember standing in the parking lot outside of school being dismissed shortly after arriving then standing in the family room of my old house asking my mother “what happened?” I vaguely remember her response of “something bad.”
Before asking her what happened, all I knew was that we were getting out of school early that day, but I didn’t know why. I don’t remember the drive home from school or what was showing on the TV screen. I don’t even remember if we went back to school the next day. My mother told me that for a couple days airplanes didn’t fly over our house, but I don’t remember that either.
Last year I went and photographed an annual flag waving event on Rte. 152 over I-95. From talking to the friendly crowd I learned that this event has gone on every Sept. 11 since the attacks. The energy brought by the participants and the overall atmosphere of the event brought me back to photograph it this year.
September 14, 2012 11:46
By Evan Zimmer
As school quickly approaches, my time working at the beach has drawn to a close. Before I left, I decided to take a trip to the boardwalk with my camera. My goal was to try and find pictures relating to the topic of “Jesus on the boardwalk.” When I set out to take pictures for fun I like to set a goal or choose a topic to center my images around and this topic seemed open but challenging.
After about a five minute walk from the start of the boardwalk I stumbled upon some sand sculptures. The sculptures fit, near perfectly, the topic of “Jesus on the boardwalk;” after all, they weren’t on the boardwalk, but about 15 feet away. After a little bit of research it appears that the sculptures are crafted by Catholic-raised Randy Hofman.
August 25, 2012 12:16
By Evan Zimmer
This past weekend at the O’Dwyer Retreat House in Sparks, I enjoyed a weekend long Calvert Hall peer ministry retreat. The agenda included reviewing what peer ministry is about, attributes of good peer ministers, practicing our “witness talks,” and how to lead junior retreat, small groups and prayer.
The retreat gave us a lot of hands-on learning opportunities such as simulated small group discussions and giving our witness talks to faculty members and other peer ministers. If you’re wondering what a witness talk is, it’s basically a talk centered on a designated topic that explains how we became who we are. The talks are given during junior retreats that peer ministers lead throughout the school year.
On Friday evening we started with ice-breaker activities followed by group discussions, small group demonstrations, and a guided meditation to end the night.
Saturday opened by learning how to lead things like prayers and guided meditations. We also took photos with frames around our heads with things we are involved in at Calvert Hall. Around mid-day we had a prayer service which was fueled by quotes that were distributed to us. We were asked to relate the quotes to leadership and our roles as peer ministers. My quote was by Ben Franklin: “He that cannot obey, cannot command.” To me, this quote means that to be leaders, we need to lead by example; if we want to preach God’s word, we need to live by it.
Sunday morning was predominantly reflections and group discussion. The morning closed with mass attended by all the peer ministers and some faculty members.
August 17, 2012 04:35
By Evan Zimmer
If you can remember my first blog post you’ll know that my grandfather passed away in the beginning of the year. He loved fishing and traveled all over the world to pursue his passion. One of his favorite places to go was the Gourmet Salmon Lodge in Gaspé, Quebec, Canada to catch salmon. He would reserve the lodge for a month over the summer for the past several summers. I was fortunate enough to go with him on one of his last expeditions with my uncle and cousin for a few days.
My grandmother wanted to visit the place my grandfather loved so much so we planned to go up for a few days. For Christmas my grandfather gifted my cousin and I the opportunity to go to Canada with him this summer. This short expedition would fulfill our opportunity. The last time I went we drove with my grandfather (about 21 hours) then flew back while he stayed a few more weeks.
This time, we would fly there and back. We only planned to take three flights there and land on the same day; that wouldn’t be the case. The first two flights to get us to Quebec City went flawless. No problems with security, customs, or flight delays. The adventure began when we boarded the flight from Quebec City to Gaspé. About 20 minutes away from landing we were told that there was heavy fog and we would circle around in hopes that the fog would disappear; it didn’t. The next stop for the plane was the Magdalen Islands (Îles de la Madeleine) so that’s where we headed. The pilot came on the speaker with the same fog message. Frustration began developing from most people on the flight. It was about 11p.m. at this point and we were running low on fuel. Our “alternate [airport]” was Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada. About an hour later we landed there to be greeted with confusion. We thought we were staying there for the night and leaving in the morning but it turned out that they had to refuel and leave because the airport and surrounding areas were all closed. Next stop: Montreal, a two hour flight back, passing where we originally came from.
In the morning we boarded a flight from Montreal to the Madgalen Islands and minutes before landing I saw something that seemed to tie everything together. A lone, white cross stood atop a large, grassy hill. I wasn’t able to grab my camera to snap a picture but the sight brought comfort. It was like a sign that said “this was God’s plan.”
About an hour later we landed in Gaspé and spent most of the day driving around the town. The following day we fished in the morning, and though we didn’t catch any salmon, I did have a bite and my dad caught two trout. Nonetheless, we had a great time and much needed relaxation from day-to-day activities.
Many thanks to Norbert, Doug, Ivy, Lorn, and Al for providing us a great couple days and reminding us of the countless days you spent with my grandfather.
July 25, 2012 06:43
By Evan Zimmer
How do you respond to a friend’s death? As teenagers most of us don’t know what to do or how to respond because losing someone at a young age isn’t supposed to happen.
This past week the St. Margaret and Calvert Hall communities lost a member and I lost a friend. Jack Levee, or as he liked to spell it “Jak,” passed away July 3 from a bad allergic reaction. I had the pleasure of spending my entire time in elementary and middle school with him at St. Margaret as well as three years at Calvert Hall. Jack was a rising senior at The Hall.
According to his closest friends, Jack was a very caring person and a true friend. Jack was a very upbeat, happy, unique and energetic person. In fact, the only way I can remember him is with a smile on his face. He would always have a joke to share and he’d find something positive in every situation. Another way to describe him is crazy (in a good way!). Whether it be carrying a slurpee into exams or dying his hair “Monster (energy drink) green” he would follow the saying “you only live once.” Jack even closed out the eighth-grade fashion show at St. Margaret’s in his fencing uniform – a sport he was said to be very good at.
During Jack’s struggle, social media played a large role in updates on his condition and a basic location for voicing concern. A common post on Jack’s Facebook page was “praying for you”. A “hashtag” was even created on Twitter (#prayersforJack) by his sister, John Carroll student, Abbey Levee.
A few days before his passing a prayer vigil was held at St. Margaret Church. Father Doug Kenney estimated about 175 were in physical attendance. I say “physical” because a live video stream was hosted by John Carroll student Jon Yantz for those unable to physically attend. The Levee family took advantage of this opportunity by watching and listening to the vigil on a laptop. I was on the way back to Texas from a college visit in Oklahoma so I unfortunately wasn’t able to attend. Thanks to Jon and social media I was able to pray with my peers via a cell phone hundreds of miles away.
So how do you deal with the passing of someone so young? You find strength in your family, friends, school community and of course your faith. We can cherish the relationships we have now and know that even at difficult times we have each other to lean on.
Jack Levee (center in the black shirt) was a friend and classmate of Evan Zimmer. (Evan Zimmer | CR photography intern)
July 09, 2012 08:46
By Evan Zimmer
This past weekend I photographed my first wedding. Stressful, yes; Fun, absolutely! I was really nervous going in to it because I knew that I was in charge of documenting what could be a couple’s happiest day together. I haven’t really been to too many weddings before and the last one I can remember was when I was in first grade and the ring bearer at my aunt and uncle’s wedding.
The bride is my second cousin so that brought a lot of my extended family to the wedding. It was nice to be able to see people that I don’t get to see that much at such a happy occasion. Unfortunately, there was one person missing: the bride’s father. He passed away several years ago but the father-daughter bond is still very strong. Appropriately chosen, the wedding date was her father’s birthday and the first dance with her step-father was to the tune of “Dance With My Father.” Based on the sunny day and beautiful sunset, it was clear that he was looking down on her and shaking his head with approval.
June 25, 2012 01:33
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By Evan Zimmer