As longtime Prep faculty members Ana Garcia, Jack Campion and Kathy Rowan look ahead to their retirement at the end of the school year, the last day of classes provided an opportunity for their colleagues to celebrate their outstanding dedication to Jesuit education. With tributes from their friends and colleagues – John Irvine, '83, P'11; James Coviello, '99; and Jordan Roldan, '03, respectively – and the thanks of the Prep community, the three soon-to-be retirees received a well-deserved sendoff.
Ana Garcia joined Prep's modern language department in 1972, as one of the very first women on Prep's academic faculty (read more in the Spring 2012 Prep Magazine). For two generations of Prep men, her classes have been a window not just into the Spanish language but into Hispanic culture around the world, and into an entire way of seeing the world. As John Irvine, '83, P'11, now Prep's director of admissions, put it: "Ana taught me Spanish in my sophomore year, but it was the lessons that she carefully intertwined with the language classes that stayed with me long after the final exam.
"She taught us to be respectful, she taught us to be prepared and she taught us to take responsibility for the positive and negative results that came from our work. Like most teenage boys I didn’t recognize those gifts until many years later, but that is always the fruit born of good teaching. And I am not alone; so many alumni still keep in close contact with Ana thinking of her more as family or friend than former teacher."
Jack Campion, known around Grand & Warren as "Sir" – his favorite way of addressing his students and colleagues – has been a fixture of Prep's English department since 1981. Those who have studied Beowulf, Hamlet or The Canterbury Tales with him are often grateful for having learned not only the classics of British literature, but also an approach to critical reading, thinking and writing that has shaped their lives in college and well beyond. The chair of Prep's history department, James Coviello, '99 further expressed the rewards of knowing Mr. Campion as a colleague – one whose wit, inimitable style and drive for academic rigor is an inspiration to his fellow teachers and to administrators alike.
In accepting these accolades, Mr. Campion expressed gratitude of his own, for a profession that gives meaning to the lives it touches, as well as to the lives of its practitioners. "We all care about the students whom we teach," he said. "We want to stimulate their intellectual curiosity and critical thinking. In other words, we want to make our students think and analyze. We want to awaken a joy in their creative expression and their acquisition of knowledge. Alexander the Great says, 'I am indebted to my father for living, but to my teacher for living well.'"
But perhaps it was Kathy Rowan, who has shaped thousands of young lives in her 27 years as a Prep guidance counselor, that said it best. She received a tribute from her former Prep colleague Jordan Roldan, '03, who is now a guidance conselor at Boston College High School. He praised her as a professional, a mentor and a friend, citing her meticulous organization and her tireless dedication to the behind-the-scenes work that allows each student to know he is in good hands. Her response was as meaningful as it was simple: "Thank you. That's all there is to say: Thank you!"