First CREST Gathering Energizes Secondary Educators

BY ISN STAFF | May 17th, 2024

In late April 2024, 33 high school educators from across the country gathered at Villa Maria del Mar retreat center in Santa Cruz, California, to experience the first Cultivating Renewal Engaging the Signs of our Times (CREST) gathering. Through speakers, networking, and reflection opportunities using the lens of Catholic Social Teaching, CREST gathered secondary educators who are guiding young people to recognize and respond to the realities of injustice and inequity in their respective communities and the world. More than a technical conference, the experience allowed educators to go deeper within themselves and cultivate relational and leadership skills to continue accompanying young people on their faith & justice journeys.

Theology/religion teachers, mission and ministry staff, a DEI director, campus ministers, and service and immersion directors were some of the educators who attended the three-day gathering. Speaking about the intentionality around planning, Education for Justice (EFJ) director, Clarissa Aljentera, mentioned that “we really wanted a place that was not only going to be restful so that folks could feel like they ‘got away’, but we also wanted a place that was going to be inspiring; a place to find God’s presence throughout. It gave participants a chance to be in conversation with colleagues and with nature. Waking up to the ocean and the sound of waves allowed participants to be in awe of God’s beauty and gave them a nourishing and reinvigorating way to finish off the school year.”