by Walter Burns
The unexpected return of teachers Casey Johnson and Rodney Takacs has brought up numerous questions regarding their new starts at St. Thomas.
The news of their return is refreshing, especially to those who have had them in class. It is curious though why they left for such a short amount of time and then return, so quickly.
Johnson is returning from a one year teaching stint at Cristo Rey, a Jesuit run school for underprivileged.
“St. Thomas is my home,” said Johnson. “I mean there’s no better way to put it than that.”
Over the last year, Johnson has realized the value of applying his Catholic faith in the real world.
“It was a good feeling to know that I was doing something real, real social justice. Not just, we should pray about this, or we should pray about that,” Johnson said. “Prayer’s great, raising money is great, but doing actual ministry is a blessing.”
Additionally, Johnson has realized he no longer has the desire to become the Campus Minister due to its lack of physical ministry. Also, Johnson is looking forward to the addition of tablets.
“I think it’s a great thing. I remember using a computer as a kid, so that makes me a digital native. We naturally think in that process,” Johnson said.
Although Johnson is here for now, he is unsure what the future will hold for his teaching career. Being recently engaged will make his life even more unpredictable. while Johnson hopes to stay at St. Thomas for awhile, he is not sure if it is his future.
“How do I answer this – I’d love to. I’d absolutely love to be at St. Thomas for a long time,” Johnson said. “You just never know with life.”
Takacs has spent the last two years of his career at Mount Carmel High School, spending the latter as the school’s president.
“The two years that I was an administrator really taught me that if I want to utilize my talents, it has to be done in the classroom,” Takacs said. “That’s why I came back.”
Luckily for Takacs, his timing was perfect when contacting St. Thomas about a teaching position.
“I called them, and fortunately for me there was one remaining opening in the English department,” Takacs said.
Unlike Johnson, Takacs’ view of the school has changed considerably since he last worked here.
The thing that struck him immediately was the widespread use of technology.
“It’s a good thing that the school is moving forward in that area,” Takacs said.
He has also been taken back by the intelligence of the freshman class.
”It seems to me, and the other teachers will agree, we are very impressed by this freshman class,” Takacs said. “They seem to be especially well prepared.”
Unlike Johnson, Takacs has made up his mind that he will try to stay at St. Thomas as long as possible. His years as being an administrator have convinced him that teaching is his true calling.