Melissa Reyes, a Catholic middle school teacher in California, recently earned her MA degree in Theology and Educational Ministry. She says that CDU helped her to grow into the theologian she has always dreamt of becoming. “I’m so thankful to God for CDU and all the faculty and staff who helped me achieve my degree,” Melissa says.

“What I most enjoyed was being able to encounter the genius of each of my professors,” she says. “Each one offered something so unique to my theological inquiries and taught with such insight and depth of each branch of theology.”

Melissa says that God, and the youth of today, inspired her to become a Catholic middle school teacher. She wanted to accompany her students in their education and help them through the difficulties of life by teaching them good study skills and providing them with ample opportunities to grow in their faith through fervent prayer to God and theological reflection in a Catholic-Christian community.

“My journey from theological studies at CDU to my work as a Catholic middle school teacher at a Dominican elementary school was the fruit of my prayers, those who supported me, and the countless holy men and women I encountered throughout my lifetime,” she says. “Being raised in a Catholic household helped me to remain faithful to my faith and family, and my Catholic education truly made a difference in my life as a teacher and lifelong learner.”

“I most enjoy teaching students and praying with them,” Melissa says. “Seeing their faith grow throughout the school years is such a humbling experience. They teach me about virtue by their example of humble submission to the Will of God and holy trust in God’s divine providence.”

Like any teacher, Melissa faces the challenges of disobedience and lack of respect from students in the classroom. She takes these challenges into prayer at daily Mass and throughout the day. “I find that God answers me clearly in the same students who are either misbehaving or are rumored to be prone to misbehavior, and this is a blessed grace,” Melissa says. “I also find a holy reassurance in God’s abiding presence among us in people going through the same circumstances as my students or myself,” she adds.

Melissa says that her education taught her Truth in God, and that she is the messenger of Jesus, who is the Teacher. “I am able to pass on to my students the study habits and truths of our Catholic faith in a safe academic environment, where God is first, and where education is key to attaining truth, beauty, and goodness.”

She says, “Studying at CDU allowed me to develop a greater love for God by becoming a better informed Catholic-Christian who is able to witness to Christ’s love for us in the world, and a more faithful student of Jesus, who is my divine and primary Teacher.”

“Thank you for helping make my dreams as a Catholic school teacher a beautiful, good, and true reality,” Melissa says. “I always remind my students that God lives in our hearts and will never leave us. As long as we breathe, we breathe God’s life; as long as we learn, we learn God’s truth; and as long as we pray, we pray and earnestly ask God to allow our life with Him on Earth to become an ever-living reality with Him forever in heaven.”