Class of 2009
Chris Wager recalls the environment at St. Catherine’s as one that encourages self-discovery, which makes students eager to learn. His journey began in Primary with Ms. Janice. Being able to learn without the pressure of grades from an early age kept him inspired for the rest of his time at St. Catherine’s. He developed a spark of interest in his surroundings, beginning with research projects in Lower Elementary to the “Focus the Nation” Symposium (2008) that he helped organize. The experience of coordinating the conference and bringing in public figures, professors, and environmental advocates to discuss climate change was everlasting. Later, as a student at Strake, he was able to adapt to a different academic environment and excel despite the rigorous pressure of tests, grades, and GPAs. Chris was Valedictorian of his graduating class in 2013. “My time at St. Catherine’s was a big aspect of my current success,” says Chris.
The sense of community at St. Catherine’s helped Chris value the close relationships he built with his peers and guides. He took this appreciation for community on to Georgetown University, where he was able to build new relationships with that special “St. Catherine’s feel.” He commented, “The community and environment at St. Catherine’s has helped me appreciate other meaningful communities.” When the Adolescent Community visited him in Georgetown, he remembers they described their current work with such excitement. It was compelling for him to see the passion that advocating for social justice instills in St. Catherine’s students. Chris believes that reaching out to the greater community and becoming aware of social justice issues in the Adolescent Community helps to inspire positive change.
Chris shared how St. Catherine’s nurtured his spiritual growth at a young age, beginning with his time in the atrium as a 4 year-old looking at wooden figures, shepherds, and sheep. The teaching of the Good Shepherd parable, helped establish the foundation of the faith he carries with him throughout his life journey. He says, “On a personal level, faith is about community, and everything that I learned in that environment set a good foundation for my faith and for exploring faith in a community.” The combination of a Montessori education and Catholic faith from a young age encouraged him to learn about himself and become curious about the world around him. Chris recalled that, “faith wasn’t forced upon us, which made it more meaningful for me.”
Chris is currently a sophomore at Georgetown. His brother Joe, who graduated from St. Catherine’s two years after him, is a senior at Strake and his youngest brother Gabi is currently in Upper Elementary. “It has been truly amazing to see Gabi grow at St. Catherine’s,” he shared. Seeing Gabi’s enthusiasm over research projects reminds Chris of himself when he was in Gabi’s age. He looks forward to seeing how St. Catherine’s will impact his younger brother as he grows.