Teacher Witness Inspires Conversion

Holy Rosary Academy in Anchorage, Alaska, is recognized in The Newman Guide for its faithful Catholic education from Pre-K through 12th grade. All teachers make a Profession of Faith to the Catholic Church upon hiring. And the fruits are many: in the last year alone, five students came into full communion with the Catholic Church.

While there are many elements of a strong Catholic education, students at Holy Rosary Academy have clearly benefitted from the faithful witness of their teachers. Below are the personal testimonies of Anabelle Pearson, a 10th-grade student who plans to enter the Catholic Church, and two high school teachers at the Academy: Dr. Laura Walters and Kevin Quain.


Anabelle Pearson

I had been an atheist for my entire childhood leading up to my years at Holy Rosary Academy…

Many wonderful people took part in my conversion; however, it was Dr. Walters and Mr. Quain, my Church history and medieval seminar teachers, respectively, who guided and strengthened me in faith. In these two classes specifically, I was able to reflect on my past as we studied the history of the Church and the lives of many saints and sinners.

I look up to Dr. Walters as a role model; she is incredibly talented in numerous skills, languages, and academics. Dr. Walters has accomplished a plethora of extraordinary things in all areas from science to art, yet she is the humblest person I’ve ever met. Most importantly, despite all that she has achieved and still strives for in her free time, Dr. Walters dedicates her time to come and teach us teenagers. Dr. Walters cares deeply about her students and guides us toward spiritual and academic success. Dr. Walters has never judged me for asking any questions about Catholicism and the Church, and her responses are always helpful. Her teachings in history allow me to have a firm foundation in Church knowledge, which has proved useful in many situations, including medieval seminar class.

Mr. Quain, my medieval seminar teacher, has greatly contributed to solidifying me in my faith. Mr. Quain is humorous and uplifting and can always brighten the day. In the seminar, he helps our class reflect on our lives as we analyze books containing stories of growth in character and faith such as The Confessions of St. Augustine. He is an excellent role model in Catholicism and has helped me see that believing in God is not a crutch to get through life, rather, God is the reason I have life.

Faith is a path with many twists, turns, and bumps, and rarely is it easy. This spring, Holy Rosary is organizing a trip to Assisi and Rome for Holy Week. We will be walking the pilgrimage that St. Francis completed to ask the Pope to start his order of Franciscans. In years to come, I hope to be baptized and confirmed into the Catholic Church.


Dr. Laura Walters

I view my vocation of teaching as something definitely from God.

I am a naturally shy person, and while I was completing my Ph.D., I always thought that I would spend my professional life with paintings, drawings, and manuscripts in quiet corners of archives and museums. However, when I began teaching at the University of St. Andrews [in Scotland], I ended up loving it, and when I began teaching at Holy Rosary Academy, I felt very clearly that this was something more than my will.

Teaching is a great privilege: to be able to help form students, especially in those crucial upper school years when they are becoming adults. I see my vocation of teaching as a way for me to serve others through love and charity, and thus to serve God.

The ideas of service and charity are incorporated into all I do. I always try to help students understand concepts (whether they’re in Calculus, Biology, Church, History, Art, etc.) to truly teach them and help them learn how to think, rather than what to think. I approach each student as having such great value, as he or she is made in the image and likeness of God, and is a unique and beautiful person.

Students are always learning (and so are teachers!), and I try to remind them of this, and that it’s okay to make a mistake, it’s okay to have questions on things, and that it’s how we respond to that which matters… We strive to find the truth and the heart of a matter together, students and teachers, which is a beautiful model for them to follow as they graduate and leave our halls.


Kevin Quain

I strive to give my students an example of strong character both in the classroom and on the court as a middle school basketball coach. Fundamental traits of a strong character are self-discipline and perseverance. These two traits should guide students in every aspect of their lives, whether in faith, academics, sports, etc. Embodying these traits and encouraging students are the best ways to help them build strong character and an indomitable spirit.

The beauty of Catholicism includes the belief that God created all things, and that creation will help us to know and love Him more. With this perspective, everything in the classroom is more meaningful and tangible because all the subjects, when integrated with our final end in mind, lead us closer to God.

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