During the Valentine’s Day season, I thought it would be fitting to write about love. Not a romantic love but an agapeic love. Working at The San Miguel School of Providence, I have fallen in love with a job, service opportunity and a community. Every day I wake up and drive to school and am welcomed by a handshake from a San Miguel student. Serving 64 middle school boys every day is no easy task. Some days I get people even asking me, “how can you stand it?” How do I stand it…? Well it’s easy, I love my students. Saint Miguel Febres Cordero, our namesake, said, “these children have won my heart; they are what I regard most in the world.” I find that I am feeling the same way that Saint Miguel did.

These children have stolen my heart from the moment I entered the school and tried to memorize their names. I talk highly about the students I serve and their ability to be Miguel Men. Without the love that I have for these students, I do not think I would be the best teacher I could be for them. I could never be a basketball coach, with the type of passion I now have, without the love I have for my students. I get excited when they win or make a three pointer. I get all excited when the player who doesn’t seem to be listening to me finally listens to me. “Yes coach.” Those are the words that drive my love for the sport even more than I had when I was a kid.

It takes a special type of love to be able to want to serve, teach and coach. They say “love is patient and love is kind” and I truly believe that. The amount of patience and kindness I need to show is incredible. Some days I get upset at the students for not putting in effort or being unkind to another classmate, and I might have to give them detention but some days it’s the opposite. Some days my students are excelling at a new math concept or reading a book above their reading level. They might start doing well at chess or taking leadership responsibilities. Through the good and bad, as their teacher, I have to be there for them. A spirit of love will help the people I serve thrive while I am with them.

Jubilee Aguilar is a first-year volunteer serving at The San Miguel School of Providence in Rhode Island. She is a 2018 graduate of La Salle University.