On May 25, Emmanuel College President Sister Janet Eisner, SND, received the Community Partnership Award from Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Mission Grammar School. Presented by Mission Grammar Principal and Emmanuel graduate Ali Dutson '05, the award was in recognition of Sister Janet and Emmanuel's decades-long support of the school. The presentation, held in the auditorium in Emmanuel's Administration Building, was part of Mission Grammar's "On the Yellow Brick Road to College" fundraising event.
While presenting the award, Dutson lauded Sister Janet's "long-standing commitment to education" and said, "her partnership has made an incredible difference in our school." On a personal note, Dutson said that "Sister Janet has been a mentor to me as someone who is willing to take risks to move an organization forward" for the benefit of students and their families.
In accepting her award, Sister Janet described the bond between Emmanuel and Mission Grammar as "a unique partnership" that extends back to Emmanuel's earliest days as a college. For years, Emmanuel students have worked closely with the Roxbury school's students through days of service, volunteer events, student teaching and internships. These interactions, Sister Janet said, gives Mission Grammar students "an early insight into college life" and encourages them to "achieve their highest potential." And the partnership extends beyond students, Sister Janet noted, explaining that Mission Grammar faculty and staff regularly come to the Emmanuel campus for professional development opportunities through the Carolyn A. Lynch Institute.
According to Deirdre Bradley-Turner, Emmanuel's Director of Community Service and Service Learning, "the partnership has been incredibly important for students at both institutions." For Mission Grammar students, the partnership has provided invaluable exposure to college life. She said that Mission Grammar students frequently come to the Emmanuel campus for sporting events, social and religious activities and educational opportunities. "Some students have never stepped foot on a college campus," Bradley-Turner said. "When Mission Grammar scholars come to Emmanuel, they get comfortable on a college campus and begin to see themselves as college students.
For Emmanuel students, she explained that the partnership has offered countless service and learning opportunities. Over the course of a year, she said, Emmanuel students put in hundreds of hours at the school, helping in classrooms, contributing to building maintenance, staffing social events and more. In many cases, the partnership has led to careers. She reported that roughly 25 Emmanuel graduates have gone on to full-time work at Mission Grammar over the past 15 years. Next year, 11 Emmanuel alumni will be working at the school.
Bradley-Turner said that the Emmanuel-Mission Grammar partnership has endured because "both institutions put real value on education, social justice and community building." She said "For Emmanuel, it's part of our responsibility as a Catholic institution to work with our community partners—and Catholic schools specifically. It's what the Church has called us to do."