New ethnic studies class explores current issues form Catholic viewpoint

Peyton Sperry, Staff Reporter


The ethnic studies class is a new class this semester that explores the current issues of race and racism from a Catholic perspective.

    “I decided to take this class because it was new and never offered at Bishop Noll,” said senior Adrianna Alvarez.

“We have gotten to know the class very well and have made very interesting topics that we wish to discuss in the future.”

There are many topics that students want to cover in their class, and Alvarez says she wants to get more insight on society.

Why is it what it is, and how as young adults can we change it.” she said.

“I would recommend it to my friends that are juniors because it’s not just a regular class. It gives you space to talk about topics that you may feel don’t exactly come up in everyday life.” 

Ms. Stacia Bolakowski, campus minister, volunteered to teach the class when it was first added to the course options.

“I have been concerned about how we as individuals and communities treat each other in public and on social media over the past several years, especially on issues of diversity and race,” she said. “I also have a mentor from Catholic Theological Union in Chicago who has encouraged me to take more action on educating others properly on these topics. I learned about an online course offered through St. Mary’s Press titled Understanding Racism, and so I piloted a class last year using this course with three willing seniors. We learned a lot about each other, society, and Church teachings on social justice, so I wanted to give other interested students the same opportunity this school year. I am blessed that 11 juniors and seniors are up for the challenge!”

Bolakowski said her goals for the class are simple.

“My main goals are to teach students that diversity is a beautiful thing and that we can have tough conversations about challenging topics without hurting or belittling others,” she said. “The key is listening to each other!” 

Bolakowksi’s plans for the semester include mainly looking at the issues that shaped the last two years of the social climate.

“Some of the topics include knowing and properly analyzing the “signs of the times/current events,”  learning accurate definitions of race and racism and how society is influenced by them, and the role the Catholic faith plays in issues of racial justice.”