“Some question why so much effort is placed on preserving the Catholic school system in Baltimore City, where many students aren’t even Catholic.
I can think of at least one reason why.
Fifteen-year-old Arthur Williams was one of two Cristo Rey Jesuit High School sophomores chosen recently to meet Bill Cosby during a Feb. 7 Black History Month Celebration at the War Memorial Plaza. He was selected because of the leadership he demonstrates in performing community service. Arthur told me volunteering is extremely important to him and he feels if he helps people, they will in turn help someone else, and the cycle of helping others will continue. He has volunteered some 80 hours at Habitat for Humanity, Beans and Bread and Govans Ecumenical Development Corporation (GEDCO), among other sites.
“I figure why not help people who don’t have the resources,” said Arthur, who is a graduate of St. William of York School. “Even if I help pack a lunch for one person, it could help make a difference, and then maybe they’ll help somebody else.”
At Cristo Rey, Arthur has the opportunity to serve as an intern at Brown Advisory, where he works in information technology.
I asked Arthur if meeting Bill Cosby was one of the highlights of his life. He quickly responded “no.”
“Well then what is?” I asked, surprised by his response.
“Seeing my mother get clean,” he said. “Meeting Bill Cosby was a great opportunity and affected my life, but seeing my mother stop using was much more crucial.”
I was quiet for a minute. I realize Arthur has had certain life experiences that have forced him to grow up faster than most and take on more responsibility at an earlier age. But Arthur’s generous spirit, his ambition and his will to succeed were nurtured in part by his Catholic education. Even if you’re not Catholic, I thought, how can you not see the impact a Catholic education can have on a young life?”