The Student News Site of Malvern Preparatory School

Friar's Lantern

The Student News Site of Malvern Preparatory School

Friar's Lantern

The Student News Site of Malvern Preparatory School

Friar's Lantern

Teacher Spotlight: Mr. Bill Donaghy

Never had I been so excited to go to theology class before my freshman year. My Biblical Studies class on Day 1 was the absolute best way to end the day, and I’m sure other students felt that way, too, if Mr. William Donaghy was their teacher. His classes were extraordinarily fun and extremely informative. Nothing but passion for the love of the divine entered or exited that fantasy-land of a classroom.

He is one of the most respected people on Malvern’s campus, and is well deserving of it. There is an endless list of characteristics I could use to describe him, all of which are as positive as words come.

Unfortunately for the Malvern community, Mr. Donaghy is leaving us after eight years of hard work and dedication to the school and his students. Like the current seniors, he is moving on to a different part of his life.  Although unlike us, he knows what he’s getting himself into.

This past week, I had the great opportunity to sit down with him and ask a few questions about his Malvern experience and what this new job of his will entail.

Cloetingh: What are some of your favorite memories from your time here at Malvern?

Donaghy: There are many. The first thing that pops in my head is the senior prank from a couple of years ago when they ran to the quad with swords and shields, and had a huge battle. That was epic. I wish I was a part of that actually. It was brilliant.

On a more serious note, the first couple of years at Malvern, my wife and I went through a real crisis when we found out we could not have our own children. We adopted our daughter Gracie, and she only lived for a day. It was the most heartbreaking time of my life, but the people of Malvern were amazing. They were constantly checking in on me asking how I was doing or what they could do for me. Coming on as a new teacher, that sort of “family” feeling was amazing. They did not really know me yet, but they showed such support.

The talent shows are always awesome with people coming out to show their skills. One of the coolest moments there was hearing Mr. Dienna and John Scargall do a Cat Stevens song together, Father and Son. It was so good. The list goes on and on.

Cloetingh: Of your accomplishments here, what are you most proud?

Donaghy: I would hope that just trying to make theology something that’s more than a book on a shelf, but rather something that is lived and breathed. I want to make it fun, and something that filters into everything you do from listen to music to watch movies to… just everything. It’s everywhere. I hope, for the guys who have picked it up, that faith is lived, breathed, experienced, and that there is nothing separated from it. As an accomplishment, I hope that I conveyed that through the cheesy things my classes do like “Tuesday Tunes” and “Masterpiece Monday” and the Chair of Biblical Greatness. I hope I showed people that faith is actually fun and inspiring, and yet challenging at the same time.

Cloetingh: What exactly are you going to be doing once you leave Malvern?

Donaghy: I am going to be a full time member of the “Theology of the Body Institute”, whose offices are in Exton, and we teach in Lancaster at a retreat center. The job will also have me travelling the country and worldwide giving talks on John Paul II’s thought. I have already done this for six years with the institute part time, but I am now going to be doing this full time at universities, parishes, and all sorts of different places. We will be gathering people from all over the country and the world at a retreat center to teach them.

This is the kind of stuff I am most passionate about, and it has really fed everything I have done at Malvern. This is all about JP II’s teaching on “Humanity 101” and to have the ability to do that full time is ridiculous. It does not even feel like work. It is work on my soul, but it’s my passion and I love it.

Cloetingh: When did you hear your calling?

Donaghy: Back in 1993, I entered St. Charles seminary to discern the priesthood, and I did that because I felt this fiery love for my faith, for God, and for what the Gospel can do to me and our culture if we let it inside our hearts. I then discerned that God was not calling me to priesthood, but the fire was still burning. I needed to get this thing out there and talk about it. So, teaching is a natural flow from that, you know. For me, the three action words that describe me are ‘speaking’, ‘teaching’, and ‘writing’. It is incarnating what I believe and making it real through those three things.

Back in high school, I was still recovering from the divorce of my mother and father that happened when I was a freshman. I was still trying to make sense of all that, but I found a lot of solace and peace in my faith. I was also trying to be an artist too, so my love for that drew me into philosophy and theology even more. Those things helped draw me out of myself, so as I grew and studied more I realized that once you see the truth and beauty of it all, you don’t just keep it to yourself, you want to spread it. For me it naturally turned into teaching even though I never took education courses. The teaching was always in God’s mind, but not so much in my mind until much later. Now that we’ve met, I love it and I cannot do anything else.

Cloetingh: If you were to come back to Malvern in five years, what would you hope to see?

Donaghy: I would hope to see the Malvern that I first encountered eight years ago; a place of deep connection between the faculty, staff, and students. It was a real family away from my family where you were empowered to always do your best. I felt that I was free to be an independent teacher to share my faith in the classroom by whatever means. And I hope that with the changes that are coming that that be a steady. I hope that the person be the thing that we reverence and cherish the most above all of the structures, the machinery, and the technology because the human person was and is the heart and soul of Malvern.

He posts where he will be speaking on Twitter at @BillDonaghy, so give him a follow if you want to hear some TOB love. (He did not ask me to endorse him, I swear.)

Thank you for everything you have done for the betterment of this school and community. You have done nothing but pour everything you cherish the most into the hands of everyone you meet. We will miss you Mr. William Donaghy, and we all hope that your journey is filled with love, kindness, and open hearts.

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