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Pastoral Life Center: A New Hangout Space for Gilmour Students

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Exciting changes happened at Gilmour over the summer months, and as students get back into their normal routine, they begin to notice these changes such as improved discipline and updated spaces. During the summer months, many teachers have put work into their classrooms and learning spaces. Particularly, Ms. Martha Ligas (’09) now runs the new space in the loft area of the library. Ms. Ligas and the rest of the Religion department has worked hard to establish the Pastoral Life Center.

At the beginning of last year, Ms. Ligas realized there was “no central location to meet students’ ministry or service needs.” This sparked the idea of the Pastoral Life Center, also known as the PLC.

Prior to the institution of the PLC, the space was primarily used for math help. Last year, it was a split space but has since been improved to become a space that is fully dedicated to the PLC. As religious education is of utmost importance in regards to the PLC, math help relocated to underneath the library loft.

Seniors Mira Soukenik, Sophia Minello, Giana Vitale, and Olivia Robida enjoy the newly expanded space.

Ms. Ligas was a 2009 graduate of Gilmour and has since returned to teach religion. As an instructor at Gilmour for the past two years, she realized the stress that students face, as she was once in their shoes, and wanted to help in any way she could. She also wanted to create a “hub on campus where you can find information on service or ministry events on campus, have conversations about service opportunities, and have open and thoughtful conversations.”

Another reason why Ms. Ligas added this space is because many different religions are celebrated by Gilmour students. The PLC allows students to practice their faith in a safe space during school, which demonstrates the Holy Cross Charism of Inclusiveness, making Gilmour an even more welcoming community.

This year, Ms. Ligas plans to have groups such as Diversity Forum and the Ministry Leadership Team meet in this space before and after school. Additionally, she hopes that the service participation increases as a result of the PLC.

When asked what the future plans are for the Pastoral Life Center, Ms. Ligas said that her “hope  for the PLC is that it continues to be filled with life” and they are “always thinking of new ways to make the space more welcoming.”

As the year goes on, she wants to make this space more known throughout the school, as it will allow for students to discuss service projects and religion or more causal topics such as school and extracurriculars.

Overall, Ms. Ligas wants the Pastoral Life Center to be known as a place that is open to all. She said, “Whether you have a service question, or want to have a faith based conversation, the PLC is welcome to any and all students who are searching for a peaceful oasis on campus.”

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Gabby Dunlevy is a senior at Gilmour Academy, residing in Gates Mills, Ohio. She is hoping to pursue a career in psychology, primarily dealing with children. She has always had a passion for writing and is now exploring the field of journalism. Additionally, Gabby has always enjoyed school and is always open to new challenges. When Gabby is not working hard in school, you can find her volunteering or spending time with family. Through school, Gabby is involved in M.A.D Club, Photo Club, Measles Initiative, Astronomy Club, Blue and Grey Society, as well as Honor Council.