Wed, Apr. 10, 2013 - [Football]
For Division III Week 2013 – April 8-14 – we've elected to turn to our alumni to find out directly from them what they enjoyed most about their Loras experiences. We'll take some trips down memory lane all week. In this case, we're mixing things up a bit, checking in with Michael Donnelly.
Class of 2013
English, Secondary Education
Allow us to deviate from the alumni route for Division III Week to (re)introduce you to Michael 'Mooch' Donnelly, a soon-to-be-alum. The senior offensive lineman from Park Ridge, Illinois native and St. Ignatius graduate has made headlines for a few things during his career with the Duhawks. He scored a touchdown in 2011 by falling on a fumble in the end zone. He was a finalist for the Allstate Good Works team last fall. He's even been a CoSIDA Academic All-District selection and on the All-IIAC Academic team.
Only if you were wearing sunglasses and staring at your smartphone could you miss him walking around campus. After all, he tips the scales at 6-3, 285 pounds and has orange hair. Many have undoubtedly seen him work with the College Activities Board (CAB) concerts and Dance Marathon.
We're talking about 'Mooch' today because his experiences as a Division III athlete and student have led him to the graduate school path, specifically with the Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) program through the University Of Notre Dame.
According to their website:
"The foundational program of the Alliance for Catholic Education, ACE Service through Teaching is the nation's largest program forming talent specifically for Catholic elementary and secondary schools. It combines an intensive schedule of academic classes, held during the summer at Notre Dame, with two years of applied learning teaching in classrooms in under-resourced Catholic schools, especially in the South. Excellent academics preparation combined with community-building and spiritual growth form the foundation that supports approximately 180 teachers in more than 100 elementary and secondary Catholic schools in over 30 cities each year."
According to 'Mooch', it was his first choice following his English and Education degrees from Loras.
"I knew I wanted grad school, and I applied to other similar programs, but this was my first choice," he said.
The program is setup so that the teachers can be in the classroom improving their preparation and knowledge base at the graduate level during the summers while getting additional hands-on experience in a classroom during the traditional school year.
'Mr. Donnelly' will be at St. Peter and Paul Middle School in Tucson, Arizona this fall.
When he learned of the assignment "two things came to mind initially" Donnelly says.
"I'm really excited…and I'm going to need to go out and buy a lot of sunscreen."
Donnelly will report to South Bend early this summer and head out to Arizona for the start of the 2013-14 academic year. The program is two years long and he'll be living with five other participants who are at different points in the ACE system.
"It will be fun to be living in a place where we can share our experiences outside of school hours from different points in the program, from different subject areas," Donnelly added. "They don't have a football team, but I might look into coaching some basketball while I'm there."
Mooch says his family was equally as thrilled to learn of the acceptance to the program, but that his father might fall into the "Notre Dame hater" category as a fan.
In response, Mooch plans to outfit him with some Fighting Irish apparel at some point.
He'll be teaching in the English/Language Arts department at the Arizona middle school. He'll be learning on his way to a master's degree in education. He scored a touchdown for Division III Loras College, and he'll get his sunburn courtesy of Division I Notre Dame.
"I think being a Duhawk has really brought to mind my development over my time here. Through my four years at Loras I have changed so much for the better and have come to truly understand what it means to be a part of something. I will definitely miss the communal sense around campus and with the football team. It is like the campus is literally one big family. It is a fantastic environment."
*Loras, as a Catholic liberal arts college, creates a community of active learners, reflective thinkers, ethical decision-makers, and responsible contributors in diverse professional, social, and religious roles.*