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Best of the Week 2022-2023: Teaching to the Future


Over the next two weeks, Michael Yako's Theology classes will be working on a "Shark Tank" style project to better promote the Models of the Church around St. Edward High School. The "Shark Tank" pitches must be realistic action plans or products that sophomores in high school could actually complete.

"As we enter into the final unit of sophomore Theology classes, our MYP statement of inquiry is the 'development of one’s purpose occurs through the personal and communal experience of a structured system of belief,'" says Mr. Yako. "In an effort to meet our unit goal, students have been reading about Cardinal Avery Dulles' concept of the Models of the Church. The Models are lenses that we can use to view how the Church functions and lives out its mission. Students have created action plans and, in some cases, products that could be used to promote their particular Model around St. Edward High School."

Administrators, faculty and staff members were invited to attend class sessions and play the role of the "sharks," deciding whether or not to invest in student pitches. "One of the best pitches so far was an app called Church Go! Modeled after the popular Pokemon GO mobile game, Church Go! seeks to have students collect digital trading cards as they travel around the Diocese to participate in events at each parish. As students collect the digital cards they will focus on the Mystical Body/Communion Models of the Church which focus on the relationships and fellowship within each parish," says Mr. Yako.

"My group and I worked together to create an app prototype for Church Go! with the purpose to reconnect youth with the churches in their areas," says Thomas Van Oosten '25. "We used our strengths to conduct in-depth research on app creation, create sample images, and a logo for the app. We wanted to meet the need to help bring younger people back to church since normal church attendance has still not bounced back since before the pandemic. Church Go! is meant to be a fun game that will ultimately lead to a deeper faith building experience."

"I used Canva to create the app artwork and through this experience have learned a lot of skills in graphic design. I wanted to make the app interface look as intuitive and enjoyable as possible, without losing the main goal of the app, which is to spread faith and build community," says Nathan Wellman '25. "Not only would the app allow users to collect items based on their location, but it would also feature events, promoting extra incentives for additional participation in user's religious communities. The app's collections would promote collaboration between players and build that sense of belonging that could increase church attendance and their communities."

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