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Matt EmersonMay 21, 2014

Today was awards day, the day that my school -- Xavier College Preparatory High School, in Palm Desert, CA -- honors our students based on the criteria of the Graduate at Graduation, or as Jesuit faculty call it, the "Grad at Grad." 

I don't think many readers know about these criteria. The Grad at Grad is a list of five characteristics that all Jesuit high schools hope their graduates will embody. More than that, for many schools they function (in the language of accreditation) as "ESLRS": the expected schoolwide learning results, aka the things we hope to do, the overall goals of our academic, athletic and spiritual programs.

In introducing the five themes of the Grad at Grad (in 1980), the authors of the original profile noted:

In one sense, the graduate is a threshold person: he or she is on or rapidly approaching the threshold of young adulthood. The world of childhood has been left behind definitively. The movement from childhood toward adulthood has involved anxiety, awkward embarrassment, and fearful first steps into sexual identity, independence, first love, first job, and sometimes first lengthy stay away from home. It has also involved physical, emotional and mental development, which brought out strengths, abilities, and characteristics which adults and peers began to appreciate. . . . In describing the graduate under five general categories, we chose the qualities that seem most desirable not only for this threshold period, but those which seem most desirable for adult life. 

These are the five characteristics:

  • Open to Growth
  • Intellectually Competent
  • Religious
  • Loving
  • Committed to Doing Justice

When representatives of Jesuit secondary institutions gather at colloquia or symposia, many of the activities and presentations are focused on the Grad at Grad or some component of it. A fuller description of each can be found at the Jesuit Secondary Education Association web site. 

For readers: What do you make of this list? If you had to develop your own grad at grad, what qualities would you list? What qualities would be most suitable for this "threshold period" and for a mature Christian life?

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