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Best of the Week 2021-2022: Teaching to the Future


Congratulations to Theology teacher Matthew Rentz, the 2022 recipient of the NHS Br. Majella Hegarty Excellence in Education Award. Since 2014, the St. Ed's chapter of the National Honor Society has recognized one teacher each year with the Br. Majella Hegarty, C.S.C. Excellence in Teaching Award. The award is named after Br. Majella Hegarty, C.S.C., a Holy Cross educator who was responsible for the formation of many teachers in the Midwest in the mid-20th century. "Being nominated by the students for this award is a really humbling experience," says Mr. Rentz. "There are so many fantastic teachers at this school and I look for them in guidance and as role models. I'm standing on the shoulder of giants, and I feel like receiving this award is a result of the assistance and guidance I have received from them." Reflecting on the impactful educators he has had in his own life, Mr. Rentz accredits fellow colleague Chris Merriman, Theology Department Chair for guiding him to take up a vocation in teaching. "He is largely responsible for my deep love and appreciation of teaching and Theology," says Mr. Rentz. "He really opened my eyes up to the crazy mystery that is God and I fell in love with it all. It's an incredible vocation that allows me to try and do the same for my own students and I can never imagine having a different career." Having done classroom observations at St. Ed's when he was pursuing his college degree, Mr. Rentz fell in love with the atmosphere and community at St. Ed's. "I remember being in the classroom with John Barrett '11 and realizing that this was a school where students enjoyed their classes, especially his. I came to see that St. Ed's is a school that appreciates students for who they are and meets them where they are and I really value that. I came to see that there is a balance between the education of the heart and mind and I remember so badly wanting to be part of it all." Now as a Theology teacher at St. Ed's, Mr. Rentz is thankful to finally be part of the St. Ed's community. "Up until I worked at St. Ed's, I've never really had a job where I woke up and was excited to go to work. I absolutely love my job here," says Mr. Rentz. "There is an attitude that we are all here to work with one another and that we're all free to be ourselves. I like that I'm free to teach Catholic Theology through my own unique lens and encourage students to explore their own perspectives without judgment. My colleagues have shown me that teaching is not just about academics, but it is also about relationships. Forming close bonds with our students is a huge part of the Holy Cross mission and that is by far one of the most important things I have learned from this community."

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