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The Value of a Jesuit Education

By Fr. Philip Judge
Jesuit Chaplain

As a Jesuit priest I have spent almost 30 years in secondary education and over 20 of those leading schools. Having applauded (even a little tearfully!) literally thousands of seniors as they walked across varied stages with diplomas in hand, arriving at Georgetown Prep last Fall reminds me again that every school adds something unique to the world of Jesuit education. A mix of nationalities and perspectives here rivals those of Ignatius and the first Jesuits at the University of Paris.

In 1548 the Jesuits opened their first school in Messina, Sicily to help form an emerging middle class of young boys to make strides as good men and productive citizens. Since 1789 that Jesuit tradition of building good men of competence, conscience, and compassion has found a home at Prep at the intersection of Washington, D.C. and a world of possibilities. Here young men from around the globe learn to collaborate with each other in the classroom even as they challenge each other on athletic fields, make music together in the string ensemble and jazz band, and appreciate one another’s daring on-stage performances. Raising good men means offering meaningful role models of service to others, sufficient freedom to develop independent thought and creativity, and the spiritual nourishment required to make a difference.

A single sex environment allows young men the ability to discover themselves and form lifelong relationships with their peers. Individuals can do great things; individuals in networks can leverage skills and connections to make a lasting impact on communities and the wider world. A boy who enters the Georgetown Prep campus finds individual attention and small classes where he is known and encouraged right from the start. Academic challenge, athletic opportunities in a nurturing and competitive program, spiritual formation from campus liturgies and convocations to annual retreats, service opportunities in nearby neighborhoods and international venues push each young man in our care to become the best version of himself.

With twenty percent of our student community made up of national and international resident students and the great diversity that exists in the capital area a young man at Georgetown Prep is part of a multifaceted community. For almost 500 years the Jesuits have called the world their home. At Georgetown Prep the Jesuit tradition makes a home for a world of young men. To be ready for the complexity of the world ahead young men need to know their moral compass, learn to build diverse communities, cooperate with peers to rise to the challenges and overcome diversity, and to celebrate the good they can do together. At Georgetown Prep young men become brothers and together they become men for others.

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