One of many alumni on the faculty in a close-knit community school
Name: Anthony Lyen
School: St. Daniel the Prophet School, Chicago, Illinois
Grade and subject you teach: Sixth-grade social studies and religion
Tell us about your family: I am an only child, but I’m very close with the rest of my family. We all live in the same neighborhood, and my mom, aunt, uncle, cousins, and I all went to St. Daniel’s!
What was your favorite subject in school? I always loved social studies and math, but as I got older, I really found my knack for writing as well.
Outside of school, what do you enjoy? I’m an avid hockey fan. I sometimes make connections between hockey — especially my favorite team, the Chicago Blackhawks — and the lessons I teach. I also love meeting athletes and collecting autographs from celebrities both past and present. I think it has a little bit to do with my love of history and the past.
What have you always wanted to learn? I was never good at science as a student. I’d love to be able to have a better grasp on that subject.
What’s your favorite holiday to celebrate at school? This is probably cliché, but I love Christmastime at school. The atmosphere is just different. There’s a notable sense of excitement in the hallways, and of course, the students are thrilled for presents and the break. When Christmas is near, there’s a feeling of kindness that radiates in everyone. One of the coolest things we do at St. Daniel the Prophet School is our yearly Toy Sharing Mass. Students from each family bring in a wrapped toy as a gift and present it at the altar. By the time all the students bring up their toys, there are hundreds of wrapped gifts on the altar. We donate every toy on that altar to help families in need at Christmas.
What about your students makes you proudest? My students love to learn, but they also love to connect with people.
What do you like best about your school? We have several teachers and staff who are St. Daniel alumni. I think that’s a testament to the impact of our school in the community. People care about each other here, and we want to come back and serve our students and Christ. While we definitely have a reputation to uphold in terms of the quality of education students receive (we were named a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence in 2016) or the quality of our sports program, it’s the pride and care of our community that I find is the most valuable.
What’s your favorite classroom prayer? Our school has been focusing on the theme of “building the kingdom of God.” Every morning, we pray as an entire school a prayer to guide us: “Dear God, help us today to build your kingdom through our words and actions.” If we want to build a community of selflessness, compassion, and love, we need to be able to do it through what we say and what we do.
What are you reading right now? I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai and Christina Lamb.
How can we find you on the web/social media?
School website: St. Daniel the Prophet School: StDan.net
Facebook: St. Daniel the Prophet School Facebook page: todayct.us/2QRDhbl
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