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placeholder September 18, 2017   •   VOL. 55, NO. 16   •   Oakland, CA
Catholic High School Information Guide

Bryan Lorentz, left, and Mary McInerney, social justice teachers at Moreau Catholic High School.
COUrtESY PHOTO

Moreau Catholic Students incubate social justice ideas

Bryan Lorentz and Mary McInerney, social justice teachers at Moreau Catholic High School, forge new space on campus for students to become social entrepreneurs as they create capstone service projects guided by Catholic social teaching and Holy Cross values.

"We are calling it the Incubator Space," McInerney said, referring to the new design area on campus where the best and brightest minds share a space fitted with the right tools to match millennial creative intellect.

"The architectural inspiration for the Incubator Space, which is more of a design center than a classroom, borrows from building design insights in Silicon Valley and Pixar's Emeryville campus, designed by Steve Jobs," Lorentz said. "Pixar's building was made for open-space collaboration and unplanned interactions between different departments."

Following suit, Moreau's Incubator Space is shared by students in digital photography, yearbook, multi-media production and journalism. This spill-over conversation between groups of students and different faculty leads to innovation and new ideas that would not normally happen in traditional, industrial-style classrooms.

In this new space is Moreau's social justice program. The program provides academic workshops and guidance from faculty mentors as the foundation for students to create original capstone service projects in their senior year that are practical responses to the most pressing needs in society.

"In one project, a student is bringing virtual reality technology to residents at a senior center as a novel way to encourage physical activity, recreation and relaxation," McInerney explained. "Another group is developing an app to help smaller non-profits and Catholic charities get more visibility and improve their online traffic."

"We don't want students simply counting service hours as seniors — that's not the point. As a Catholic school, we want them counting real-world problems solved, meals served, lives saved," Lorentz added.

Another project uses social media marketing to focus on women's health and education with a club called "The Future of Medicine." The students aim to eliminate stereotypes used by their peers on campus, advocate on behalf of women living in poverty, and educate fellow students about injustices that women face across the world.

"The stage still needs some work, but when our students reach their senior year they will be ready to present their capstone projects and new ideas in a 'TEDx-style' format to the whole school," Lorentz said. "We want our freshman class to see these senior projects in action, be inspired to take up the great work left by their forerunners, and carry the Holy Cross torch out into the world."

 
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