Lithuanian educators visit Xavier

Jesuit high school educators spend two weeks learning about Western schooling | June 17, 2003

Six educators from Lithuania, including the presidents of two Jesuit high schools, are visiting Xavier from Saturday, June 14, until Monday, June 30. While at Xavier, the Lithuanians are attending workshops on teaching and school administration. In 1990, Lithuania regained its independence after five decades of Soviet occupation. With help from Jesuit orders worldwide, including the Chicago province and Xavier, the Jesuits re-opened two formerly Jesuit-owned high schools—one in the city of Vilnius and another in Kaunas—despite the deplorable condition of the facilities. “The school in Vilnius was in rubble,” says J. Leo Klein, S.J., vice president of mission and ministry. He spearheaded Xavier's relationship with the schools and has made several trips to Lithuania. “The focus was to get the two schools going because it spoke to the future of Lithuania. What they have done is amazing.” David Hellkamp, professor of psychology, agrees. “The progress they've made has been phenomenal," he says. He has made five trips to the schools. "They are a Second World country, no doubt, but their energy and aggressiveness to develop their infrastructure and other issues is really developing." The Lithuanians are meeting with development and alumni offices in both private and public schools to learn about the latest Western educational administration, fundraising and teaching methods. “The hope is there is a lot of potential for fundraising to help get the many things they need in teaching those who could be the future leaders of Lithuania,” Hellkamp says. During the visit, the group is also attending various cultural events such as the opera and a Cincinnati Reds baseball game. For more information, contact Hellkamp at 513 745-1044.