Central Catholic High School in Bloomington, Ill., which received special recognition for “Excellence in Catholic Identity” in the 2012 Catholic High School Honor Roll, is welcoming a new principal for the 2014-15 school year. The new principal, Sean Foster, spoke to The Cardinal Newman Society about his extraordinary reconversion to the Catholic faith, the decisions that led him to pursue a career in Catholic education, and his aspirations for the new school year.
“When I graduated high school and went to college, one of my goals was actually to convert away from Catholicism to any other Christian religion,” Foster told the Newman Society. “I didn’t understand what the Church taught,” he continued. His initial plan was to major in graphic design, but following his reconversion, he experienced a greater desire to teach and pass on the faith.
His return to the faith started when he began attending a Newman Center at the University of Tulsa. Foster stated:
The Newman Center was very welcoming. They seemed to really love and joyfully live their faith. During my first year of college, I would attend Mass there once amonth. In my second year, the priest at the Center signed me up for a pilgrimage to Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico. Through Our Lady and my mother’s prayers, I had the initial stages of my conversion there. Over the next three years, I fell deeper and deeper in love with my faith.
Following his return to the faith, Foster decided to pursue a Masters in Theology and Christian Ministry at the Franciscan University of Steubenville, which is recommended in The Newman Guide for its strong Catholic identity. He served as a campus minister at Illinois State University before transitioning into teaching. Foster started at Central Catholic teaching theology and coaching basketball for four years before serving as the associate principal last year.
“I would say the mission of Catholic education is the mission of the Church,” Foster declared. “In every decision I make, I see it through the lens of the Church, which includes forming disciples and striving for excellence in all things.”
Foster explained that strengthening the school’s Catholic identity is at the forefront of his administrative decisions. “I really want to understand the school from the perspective of principal,” Foster said. “I’m not looking at major changes right now, and I’d like to focus on building from the foundation we already have.”
Foster shared with the Newman Society a few exciting ideas currently in the initial planning stages at Central Catholic. The administration is looking into the possible implementation of a “house system” as opposed to the usual freshman-sophomore-junior-senior progression. Instead of dividing the students by age, students would be placed in four different houses: Franciscan, Dominican, Benedictine and Jesuit.
“Students would be encouraged to socialize with different age groups, and they would also get a chance to learn about the different religious orders,” Foster explained. Foster told the Newman Society that the system would hopefully be implemented within the next few years.
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