Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Jason Evert empowers youth at Notre Dame HS

By Annette Zaleski
Associate Superintendent of Catholic Schools

Have you ever had those moments when you knew a speaker was truly a gift from God? He or she was so dynamic you could almost see the Holy Spirit directly at work. These were my exact feelings as I observed Jason Evert (nationally renowned presenter and author dealing with topics related to Purity and Chastity) speak to the Notre Dame High School student body on Tuesday, March 9th in St. Catherine of Alexandria Church in Riverside. The church was packed with energetic high school student clamoring for seats of the "sex talk." As Associate Superintendent, I must admit I wondered - just for a second, how Jason was going to pull this off...how would the students hear the message...and most importantly would they embrace the message and live pure and chaste lives?

All my questions quickly vanished as Jason took complete control of over 500 students with is humor, hard facts, and personal stories of people who have lived through and struggled with living a pure and chaste life. There was no need for Jason run down the list of don'ts and shouldn'ts - the students know the lists all too well. Society bombards them with images, ideals, and expectations - all of which contradict the values of our Catholic traditions. The most important message Jason related to the students was that they were too valuable and too precious to carelessly and thoughtlessly give their virginity to just anyone. Virginity is a treasure reserved for the person we choose to marry. He asked students to close their eyes and imagine their future husband or wife - the person God has chosen for them! Jason encouraged the students to pray for themselves and for their future spouse to be strong in purity so that they may one day share their gift of virginity without hesitation or regrets. Realistically, Jason knows that some students may have already stumbled on this journey and given away this precious gift. For them, he encouraged a new start..."Go to Reconciliation - I am sure the priest will not be calling Rome to report any NEW sin category"...and live from this moment on for your future spouse.

Students definitely heard the message. They laughed when it was appropriate...they gasped when it was appropriate...and sighed when it was appropriate. Anyone who has worked with high school students, knows this is a feat in and of itself. The thoughtful quiet upon dismissal was deafening! It was a morning of hope, renewed commitment, and new beginning for the youth present. My hope and prayer is that the youth will continue to support one another in this commitment toward purity and chaste living, and that they find the courage to speak with their parents or trusted adults on the topic as well.

3 comments:

  1. I agree. Jason Evert has an amazing ability to really get the attention of the people he interacts with, not just teens.

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  2. St. Catherine of Alexandria School also had Jason speak to our Junior High classes, and the response was phenomenal. Educators and catechists can sometimes slow down bad behavior and poor choices with the classic negative, "thou shalt not". But for truly changed behavior, our adults-in-training need to visualize and embrace the positive vision of their future lives as chaste men and women of God. Jason went a long way in doing that for our Junior High aged kids.
    Rick Howick
    Principal, St. Catherine of Alexandria School, Riverside

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  3. Our 8th grade students went on a field trip to Notre Dame High School to listen to Jason Evert speak. He was phenomenal. I was a little leery at first as to how this would be received, however, our students were totally engaged and rivited to his every word. Sometimes you see kids, especially middle and high school students that are doing other things instead of listening. This was not the case with Jason. He spoke fast and furious, no time for the kids to get bored or have their minds wonder or you might miss something. This speaker opened up much needed conversation between adults and students, so that they can really make informed choices, not just follow what everyone else is doing.
    Trenna Meins
    Principal, Sacred Heart Rancho Cucamonga

    ReplyDelete

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