Magis – Means More Than Just More

This post was contributed by Lauren Urban, Dean of Academics at Seton Keough High School.


I went to a Jesuit college and as a student one of the words that always struck me was magis meaning more.  It wasn’t until a few years after graduation when I felt that I was being called into education did I understand this word that meant more than just more. I wanted more from myself, I wanted more from my students, and eventually I wanted more from my school community—I wanted more without ever knowing what that more was.  I never knew what this word truly meant until I lived it and continue to live it at The Seton Keough High School in Baltimore, Maryland.

The Seton Keough High School is a Catholic, college preparatory school dedicated to promoting excellence in education and developing leadership in young women. We welcome and embrace a diversity of culture, faith and ability while fostering a communal Christian spirit. By creating a warm and inviting community, we allow student to grow as leaders and young women. For that to happen a number of faculty have to be willing to do more…and I can certainly say that is true.

For some teachers at Seton Keough like Jennifer Shields, that more is being willing to help coach a track team—when she doesn’t even like running and knows nothing about track. She is willing to learn more to be a better member of the community. Or maybe the more is stretching a budget by hand sewing decorations for prom and creating a magic carpet for an Aladdin themed prom like Karen Montoya.

Maybe the more is a librarian, Laurie Manuel, who makes sure that financially needy students can do more than just come to school every day, but partake in all that a school community has to offer. The more is Serene Webber, a dance teacher who stays after school to help an academically struggling dancer write a paper and who choreographs a dance for the faculty to perform at a variety show.

Or maybe it is English teacher, Jennifer Casey who defines doing more by moderating the Senior class and the National Honor Society. Her more is making sure that every student leaves Seton Keough knowing that they are part of a loving community and a group of alumnae that span generations. She makes students realize that they are more than themselves through planning a school-wide Walk for Hope that raises money for emergency tuition for students who have parents undergoing cancer treatment.

Each of these members of the community strives to be more every day. They are more than just teachers—they are mothers to our girls, they are confidants to students, they provide stability to students who crave structure. And to me…they are my friends and colleges who make me want more for myself each and every day. I am blessed to work at Seton Keough and in a community that always wants more.