By Kayla Herold
Adrian, Michigan — At the beginning of the Fall 2016 semester, some Siena Heights University (SHU) students may have noticed that a parade of other students were walking past the Nursing Building — which had been the farthest building on campus. Most of the parade of students are education majors, making their way to St. Joseph’s Hall — formerly the St. Joseph Academy building, sponsored by the Adrian Dominican Sisters.
The building was donated to Siena Heights by the Adrian Dominican Sisters. The lower level currently houses the Adrian Rea Literacy Center and the Adrian Dominican Montessori Teacher Education Institute.
In speaking with SHU President Sister Peg Albert and Vice President for Academic Affairs Sister Sharon Weber, I found that the renovation cost $1.6 million for the first floor. This whole project was made possible by numerous donations.
As you reach the front entrance, you look up and see the original doors standing tall and ornate. As you pass through them and look down the hallway, you see multiple classrooms filled with light and the latest technology. The chairs and tables are moved around to create different types of groupings for small discussion. Walking into the building is surreal for education students, after we have been cramped alongside the theater program.
St. Joseph’s Hall has brought a lot excitement to the education students on campus. Although the walk is long, most of us agree that we are excited to be in our own space. Before the start of the semester, our professors informed us that it would be about a 10-minute walk from the Performing Arts Center. On beautiful days like those in early Fall, those minutes seem to fly by; however, predictions have been made that once the winter months hit, it will become a slightly longer 10 minutes.
Now, the association between Siena Heights and the Adrian Dominican Sisters is even stronger. This building is another way for us as students to remember where we came from. This further connection to our roots emphasizes our need to reflect on how Dominican thought has shaped our school. This building has become a legacy of its own. In the very building where students were taught to read and write, college students are learning how to teach reading and writing. The Education Department has been extremely blessed to have this opportunity to move into such an amazing space.
As I closed my conversation with Sister Peg and Sister Sharon, I asked them to give the education majors some advice. Sister Peg said to “educate the whole person — mind, body, and spirit” and advised us to “be sensitive to the needs of each student.” Nothing is more important than looking at the whole person and making sure that all parts of us are addressed.
Sister Sharon added a prayer that “we may be blessed with students who will teach us as much as we teach them.”
Reprinted with permission from Spectra, the student news site of Siena Heights.
Feature photo: From left, Sisters Jean Tobin, OP, and Rose Ann Schlitt, OP, speak to Siena Heights education student, Amanda Barry. Photo by Sally Rae