Religious Studies Fall2010

During fall 2010, students in the class Latino/Latina Religions are documenting the history of St. Mary’s College for Women and Pre-GED school at St. Matthew’s Cathedral, the Episcopal Cathedral in Dallas, which is experiencing a surge in Latino parishioners. Through work in the archives, interviews with Pre-GED School students and volunteers, and ethnographic work with the parish, the class will produce a history of the church and its programs that will enable the congregation to better understand its multicultural make-up, the historic trends that led to this make-up, and the relationship between the church, its programs and the surrounding community.

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Sitting in on English class

Ahleigh.jpg An update from Ashleigh, a senior business management major, with minors in biology and chemistry:

When I enrolled in Latino Religions last spring, I somehow overlooked that it was a service-learning course. Upon finding this out on the first day of class, I was surprised. I did not know what to expect, but I knew the course would be different from any others I had taken. After spending some time participating in service learning at St. Matthew’s Cathedral and Pre GED School, I knew that the course has presented me with a wonderful opportunity.

Just this morning, I had the opportunity to attend an ESL class at Pre GED School. Before class began, I chatted with the students, mostly stay-at-home mothers. Everyone was very welcoming, and they all seemed excited to start the day’s lesson. A few minutes later, Kathy, their teacher, began class, encouraging everyone to speak in English for the rest of the morning. Some students seemed nervous and hesitant, but they all participated in class discussions despite these feelings.

I admired their courage as they read the paragraphs they had prepared in front of the class. I admired their willingness to help each other understand challenging concepts. I admired their thirst for learning.

Around 10 this morning, I had to leave Pre GED School and head back to SMU. After saying goodbye to Kathy and her students, I was sure of one thing: Through activities like this ESL class, St. Matthew’s Cathedral and Pre GED School are passionately serving the members of our community. Fortunately, service learning has allowed me to be a part of this.

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