In 2005, Servite debuted the nation’s first comprehensive four-year Formation Program designed to transform boys into men who are powerful, faith-filled leaders in college, their profession, and their family and personal life. The Formation Program weaves academics, athletics, activities and spirituality together in a seamless experience that gives graduates a firm foundation for success. The program begins with an intense and rewarding Freshman Formation Weekend the July before the start of freshman year and concludes with graduation and alumni participation. Servite men are continuously evaluated in terms of their academics, leadership and teamwork, and character and spiritual development.
- Servite Formation
- Who is responsible for the formation of each student?
- What are the Formation Themes?
- Who is responsible for applying the Formation Themes?
- How does formation relate to other areas of a student's life?
Servite Formation aligns all aspects of a student’s life—classroom, sports, activities, arts, faith, family life and friends—to form each student into a good young man ready for success in college and life. The goal is to develop Servite men who have the knowledge, character and wisdom to lead a good life, to lead a good family, to lead in their profession, and to lead others to Christ by their example.
All students are shaped by the people around them and the experiences they have. When a student goes to class, plays a sport, visits a friend’s house or goes to church, he is shaped—he is formed—by the people he encounters and the experiences he has.
For students at most schools, the experiences that form a student into an adult are random and uncoordinated. A student may hear a message or have an experience at home or at church that forms them one way, and then hear completely different, conflicting messages in the media, at school or with friends that shapes them in contradictory ways.
Servite Formation is designed so that all of a student’s experiences in every aspect of his life—classroom, home, athletics, arts, friends—shape him in the same, consistent way.
Servite Formation encourages faculty, parents, coaches, staff, alumni and our community to use the Servite Formation Themes—Primacy of Faith, Mastery of Self, Necessity of the Other and Centrality of Christ—so that each student hears the same messages and has the same experiences whether he is in class, in practice or rehearsal, or at home or with friends. The common themes and lessons give each student a solid foundation for understanding life, and the good habit patterns and character necessary to live a good life.
While most schools focus on the classroom and knowledge, Servite Formation goes beyond that to develop character, wisdom and goodness. Formation is not a separate program at Servite. Formation is the Servite community tying together everything that happens to a student to shape him into a good young man ready for success in college and life.
It is important to note that within the context of the Formation Program, “teaching” is not limited to the classroom experience. All members of the faculty and staff play an active role as a teacher, or guide, in the formation of every student with whom they work. The importance of each member’s active participation cannot be over-stated. As the Sacred Congregating for Catholic Education reminds us in The Catholic School on the Verge of the Third Millennium:
“Teaching has an extraordinary moral depth and is one of man's most excellent and creative activities, for the teacher does not write on inanimate material, but on the very spirits of human beings. The personal relations between the teacher and the students, therefore, assume an enormous importance and are not limited simply to giving and taking. Moreover, we must remember that teachers and educators fulfill a specific Christian vocation and share an equally specific participation in the mission of the Church, to the extent that ‘it depends chiefly on them whether the Catholic school achieves its purpose.’”
Thus every component of the student experience must be seen as playing a unique and vital role in the formation of each student, for the whole student is not limited to any one component but is rather formed and affected by every activity and relationship that comprises their unique student experience.
The Servite Formation Themes are the shared, unifying themes that faculty and staff, coaches, parents and alumni use so that students learn the same lessons no matter where they go: the classroom, athletics, arts, and activities, at home and with friends. A history teacher, a football coach and a parent can all use Mastery of Self to talk about the importance of character in George Washington, in preparing for a football game, and in encouraging a young man to clean his bedroom.
- Primacy of faith - Every aspect of our lives depends on faith. Our society is successful only because we make thousands of acts of faith each day as we trust that our alarm clock works, our water is safe, our money is still in our bank account and that cars passing the opposite direction will stay on their side of the yellow line. What happens to our society and prosperity if we start losing faith in our justice, banking or water systems?
Faith is the foundation for all relationships, community, brotherhood, leadership, success and life. Faith in God, in ourselves and in each other.
- Mastery of self - To lead a good life and lead other people, we must first love, understand and lead ourselves. Mastery begins by recognizing that each of us is unique—unlike anyone else past, present or future. Mastery challenges us to understand and perfect our individual God-given talents, and know our limitations.
- Necessity of the other - No one can make it in life on their own. To be successful, we must work with others who have gifts that complement our own. We are at our happiest when we love and are loved by others. Our success and happiness in life depend on good relationships with others—especially God.
- Centrality of Christ - God is love. Christ is God’s great gift of love to save us. If we make Christ—love—the center of our lives, then we can love and master ourselves; we can love and make acts of faith in each other; and we can love others and—in community—walk the path to God together.
It may be helpful to note that the Formation Themes are not hierarchical or even chronological. In an organic, experiential way, an individual moves through them as they are ordered above, but this movement is rarely conscious and daily life requires application of each theme in unique ways and in an infinite variety of circumstances.
All Servite faculty and staff are responsible for applying the Formation Themes through the medium within which they interact with students.
- Faculty members via the classroom experience.
- Counselors via their guidance and direction.
- Coaches via their respective sports.
- Co-curricular directors and moderators via student programs and activities.
- Campus ministers via spiritual guidance and development.
- Staff members via their modeling and respective interaction with students.
Combined with the inherent formative value of their respective medium (classroom learning, athletic competition, etc.), it is through their application – but most especially modeling – of the Formation Themes within their unique contexts that all members of the faculty and staff are most fully participants in the Formation Program.
By definition, every component of the student experience is an essential part of the Formation Program. The Formation Process is not a separate program that the academic departments, clubs and teams work with, rather it is the unifying vision that all departments, offices and programs share, as together they strive to contribute to the formation of each student.