Most of the freshmen in Ms. Peggyanne Shaw’s Spanish I Class at Sacred Heart Academy are 14 or 15 years old. Many take time to build enough nerve to speak up in class and spend much of the year adjusting to new friends, teachers and a challenging high school curriculum. This year, however, one student is breaking that mold and is, without even realizing it, teaching the class as much as she is learning.
Sister Lucy Blyskal, CSJ, a retired member of the Sisters of St. Joseph, Brentwood, sits in the front row of Ms. Shaw’s class each week, rolling her R’s and learning the basics of Spanish speaking alongside some extremely welcoming freshmen.
“Sister Lucy inspires the students,” Ms. Shaw said. “She has a passion for learning and because of that passion, the students seem more willing to step out of their comfort zone in class. They have grown extremely fond of S. Lucy and are extra motivated when she is in class with them. When she is not in class, they pray for her.”
Already a bilingual speaker of Polish and English, her desire to learn new things is the main reason that S. Lucy found her way to Spanish I at SHA. The other reason, more practical. Her niece is getting married in Barcelona, Spain and S. Lucy would like to be able to converse in Spanish with her niece’s fiancé and other wedding guests.
So at 76, S. Lucy re-enrolled in high school to learn Spanish.
"I always try to learn something new because I enjoy challenges and it's a great way to keep my mind keen and as sharp as a tack,” Sr. Lucy shared. “I thoroughly enjoy being in class with the freshmen ladies of Sacred Heart. They are respectful, beautifully energetic, gracious and friendly and it is uplifting to hear them mention during our opening prayers, for whom we should pray. My professor, Ms. Peggyanne Shaw is one of the best I've ever had! She is prepared, concerned, prayerful, and with a good sense of humor.”
The students in the class are equally as fond of Sister Lucy and, despite only being freshmen, are profoundly aware of the privilege of having such a motivated life-learner in class.
“It’s really inspiring for us that she wants to come back to school just to learn,” Morgan Binkis shared.
"Sister Lucy teaches us that you can always learn more,” Lilly Murphy said. She shows us that we can and should always keep learning no matter where we are in life.”