Nigel came to JPII in an unconventional way. He was about to graduate from high school and was feeling down about life. In a moment of grace,
he opened up an old notebook and out fell a JPII brochure. He decided he would take the chance and sent in an application. This step in a hopeful direction lead to an unexpected journey for Nigel, and we are so grateful he took that first step.
Since beginning at JPII over a year ago, all can see how much Nigel has grown. When Nigel first arrived at JPII, he kept much to himself and did not engage much with others. Now, even he himself says he has grown more confident and comfortable. This change happened thanks to classes like Humanities and Philosophy, which challenge our students to think about important questions in life, then discuss the conclusions they have come to.
Nigel’s growth is also in large part due to his authentic friendships with his classmates. Nigel says that the friendships he has made here are different from any others he has had in the past. He truly feels like he is part of a family - a good one where he is received as a gift, not as a burden.
It was beautiful to witness Nigel on a trip JPII students and staff took to San Pedro this November. Eight students set out to see a new part of Belize, serve those on the island, and help with Youth Night at San Pedro Roman Catholic Church. Nigel was asked to speak on the topic of mission, and how it has impacted his life.
Nigel began his speech by saying, “can everybody please close their eyes…and keep them closed because I am shy and don’t like people looking at me.” This got a good laugh, but thankfully the audience did not comply and all were able to witness Nigel speak about the opportunities he has had to lead and how stepping up and into those leadership roles has changed his life. Nigel said that the experience helped him grow a lot. Now he feels confident speaking in front of crowds, even without much practice. This wraps well into his rhetoric class, where giving speeches is a key element.
Nigel’s story is unique, but not an anomaly for JPII students. In only two years we see students blossom time and time again. We are excited to see what lies ahead for Nigel and the rest of his classmates as they near graduation in June.