Jon Wheeler '10

Major: Classics

Minors: Philosophy

Graduate degree: Masters of Theological Studies, Boston College School of Theology and Ministry

What do you do for a living?

I am a faculty member at a four-time National Blue Ribbon School in Indiana, where I teach Latin, Catholic Doctrine, and music. As our curriculum requires all students to take four years of Latin, I have the daily pleasure of teaching upper level grammar courses and also the capstone class on the works of Julius Caesar, Cicero, and Virgil.

How did your experience at Saint Michael's help prepare you for your career?

There are two main ways St. Michael's prepared me for my career as a teacher:

First, through studying the greatest thinkers and writers in the Catholic (and broader Western) intellectual tradition under excellent professors, the flames of curiosity and subsequent inquiry were fanned within me. As a teacher it is my job to engage students' sense of wonder and depth of inquiry, helping them see the beauty of a philosophical idea, the way a literary character faces a challenge, or even in the construction of a sentence. St. Michael's faculty daily modeled this in a highly inspirational and formative way.

2) Working at a school that heavily emphasizes the liberal arts, I appreciated the rigor characteristic of St. Michael's humanities departments. In college we were constantly urged to grapple with what the text says and to seek to understand it on its own terms, before we would begin critique it. This was a critical skill to learn and now one that I teach.

What is your favorite memory from your time at St. Mike's?

My favorite classes at St. Michael's were Latin Senior Seminar, Intermediate Greek, and Author/Text: Plato, all of which were instructed by Professors Ron and Carol Begley. In these classes we were challenged constantly to refine our thinking, ask more clear questions, and be as thorough as we possibly could both with the texts at hand and the grammar contained therein. Both of these faculty members made their respective subjects come alive for me in ways that helped me understand my own vocation to be a teacher.

Any advice for students at St. Mike's?

Take classes that make you think, that ask fundamental questions, and that demand your mind to be more disciplined. If you have any interest in the humanities, becoming a better writer, or learning more about how language works, sign up for a class in Latin or Greek! Having myself stumbled into Latin almost by accident, I was quickly enthralled with it and now teach it for a living. Finally, explore Catholicism; it is beautiful.

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