St. Aloysius Gonzaga Secondary School: Regis Alumni Group
Since establishing a connection with the Kenyan school, Regis High School has treasured its relationship with St. Aloysius Gonzaga Secondary School. It began in our sophomore year at Regis (2007-2008) when we learned about the great work St. Al’s was doing and raised funds throughout the year to support the school in some small way. The relationship grew further when our school president, Fr. Philip Judge, and assistant principal, Ms. Karen Ross, visited Nairobi and St. Al’s. In June of last year, a group of rising seniors from Regis came to St. Al’s for two weeks and led a Quest retreat for the students here. This was the first time that Regis students visited St. Al’s—a trip that shaped international friendships–but it would certainly not be the last.
In the hopes of continuing this wonderful tradition, a group of Regis graduates from the Class of 2010 decided that after years of learning about the admirable mission of St. Aloysius Gonzaga we too wanted to make the trip to Nairobi and help in any way we could. After a 22 hour flight and a jetlagged first night’s sleep, wearrived at St. Al’s on a Wednesday morning unsure of what to expect. We were greeted by teachers and students who welcomed us into their community with open arms. After a brief orientation, we observed classes to see the dedicated teachers at work and got an opportunity to begin meeting with St. Al’s magnificent students.
Our next two weeks at St. Al’s were largely spent teaching the students on a variety of topics ranging from American history and government, to social justice, and even pop culture. While we were supposed to be teaching the students about American society, we learned just as much from them about Kenyan politics and culture through enthusiastic participation and class discussions. We also had the opportunity to visit the old St. Al’s, in the heart of Kibera, and see the Foundation of Hope, now located at the site. It was an unbelievable, eye-opening experience to learn about the challenges of life in the area, and it provided us with a new perspective on the many obstacles students of St. Al’s face every day. We are amazed at their success and truly blessed for the opportunity to have met these inspiring young people.
This article is being written from a computer at St. Al’s by the group of Regis alumni who several years ago dreamed of solidifying the relationship between the schools with this trip. The entire school community, students and faculty alike, have welcomed us with opened arms and smiling faces. St. Al’s campus is more beautiful than any of us had imagined. It is easy to be inspired by the great work of the school, and feel the love, faith and hope it fosters. I hope that this relationship between New York and Nairobi continues to instill Christ’s love in both countries, and the entire Regis community is honoured to be even a small part of St. Aloysius Gonzaga Secondary School.