Mount Saint Joseph has undoubtedly changed over the years, but change is inevitable. After 145 years, Mount Saint Joseph has gone through many changes along its path, but has continued to stand strong all these years later. Some significant recent events that have changed Mount Saint Joe could be the rise of technology, and the current pandemic that changed learning forever. Mount Saint Joe was built on the Xavierian values, and even with all of the changes that have occurred in the 145 years of Mount Saint Joe’s existence, the values and overall message of the school haven’t changed.
I Interviewed the longest tendered Mount Saint Joseph community member, Mr. Jerry Naylor, who has been a staple at the Mount for 41 years. After finishing college with a political science and geography major, Mr. Naylor decided to get a license in real estate but decided to start taking night classes for a degree in accounting. In the 41+ years that Mr. Naylor has been at Mount Saint Joseph, he believes the most significant change with Mount Saint Joe was moving away from an open campus model. The open campus model allowed students to have a lot more free time during the school day.
As of now, the schedules are broken into specific requirements; for example, freshmen are supposed to take seven or more classes during their first year, while seniors get a lot more freedom in how many, and which classes they take. Another massive change for the Mount has been the evolving campus over the years. Not surprisingly, the school has gone under massive renovations to the buildings and the addition of facilities, such as the Smith Center. With the iPad being implemented in the classroom seven years ago, teachers have had to adapt to using the technology each day in their classes. The iPads have been great additions for students and teachers, but they have caused some problems as well. Mr. Naylor believes that “iPads should be used for researching information, sharing, and projecting information to the students.” Mr. Naylor states that “technology has created a challenge to interact with the students on a more personal level.” Virtual learning was one of the most challenging things teachers and students have had to overcome. It was a fundamental change of environment, in which teachers and students were forced to teach and learn virtually.
I also interviewed Mr. Jody Harris, the 2nd longest-tenured faculty member at Mount Saint, as he has been at Mount Saint Joe for 37 years. Mr. Harris, a political science major, left school and got a job selling electric security for Wells Fargo, but didn’t enjoy it. He was hired in 1985 without really having any teaching experience, and he has been a teacher at Mount Saint Joe ever since. “Teaching felt pretty natural to me, so I stuck with it,” said Mr. Harris. Through the years Mr. Harris has been at Mount Saint Joseph, he has seen the changes that have occurred to the school. He says that the essence of the school hasn’t changed, as we still follow the message and the mold of the brothers, but he says that the renovations to the campus are the most significant.
The iPad has created a challenge, but they have allowed the school to take advantage of the digital link between teachers and students. Mr. Harris believes that iPads can be a problem because they are significant distractions and are constantly misused from their original purpose. Covid also forced schools to begin an entirely virtual learning model, which has not ever been done before. Covid moved teachers out of their comfort zone and challenged them to use things they would have never used before. “Covid has also changed teachers’ expectations, and understanding of the challenges that the students were facing,” Mr. Harris added.
Mount Saint Joseph has changed in so many ways since it was first established in 1876. The most significant change that has occurred to the Mount during the times of Mr. Naylor and Mr. Harris are the dramatic changes to the campus. The entire renovation of the school and the addition of athletic facilities have changed the school considerably, and encouraged more students to attend each year. Teachers have also made significant changes to some of the challenges that came their way, such as how teachers and students have adapted to the technological advances that have happened in education. With all of these changes that have occurred during the 145 years of the school’s existence, the overall message of Mount Saint Joe hasn’t changed, and with so many teachers that hold on to their memory of their times as students, hopefully, that won’t change any time soon.