Teacher Perspectives: “Because of HSP” – How Clare Braski’s Life Changed Since She Came to Campus

Clare Braski

We asked our 4th grade teacher Clare Braski to share about what brought her to Holy Spirit Prep. In the third post in our Teacher Perspectives Series, Clare describes what she has long considered her dream job and how she has found this among the students, staff, and faculty at HSP.

Years ago, as I participated in early childhood education courses at the University of Georgia, I daydreamed about the type of classroom and school I would teach in one day. I imagined myself teaching amongst joyful co-workers who loved their jobs, supported one another, and found rest in each other’s presence. I saw myself teaching interesting lessons that captivated the imagination and challenged students to think beyond the pen and paper. I hoped for a school that created a welcoming environment for students, faculty, and families alike. Most of all, I prayed I would find a place that fostered the growth of the Catholic Christian, keeping Christ uniquely at the center and considering each person as the whole person that they are – body and soul.

Clare Braski with Volleyball team at HSP
Clare (far right) coaching the Middle School Volleyball team at HSP.

The Search for More

As a student majoring in education, I was given over 1,000 hours of hands-on experience in elementary classrooms around the Athens, Georgia area. It was during these student teaching placements that my young heart saw the need for more than what was being offered to the children and families I encountered in the public schools. The education was not complete. It lacked zeal and wonder. Through no real fault of their own, the students often learned for the sake of the standardized test – not for the sake of learning. The teachers were exhausted and frustrated by the state expectations, regulations, and processes, and the schools seemed more like worn out machines than nurturing environments for exploration, learning, and moral formation

Fast forward a few years, and I found myself teaching at the Catholic school that helped raise me. I had the pleasure of teaching at the school that I attended along with all of my siblings and was even able to teach alongside some of my old teachers. It was at this school that I grew in confidence and was offered many opportunities for growth. I had not yet landed at the school I once daydreamed about during my college years, but I knew I was close.

During my second year of teaching, I very clearly heard the Lord tell me, “I have more for you, Clare,” and I realized I was being asked to move away from the comfort of my hometown and childhood school. I started discerning a move to Atlanta and felt immense peace throughout the process of applying and interviewing at various schools. After interviewing with three different schools in one day, it became very clear to me where I hoped to be teaching during the upcoming school year. And it was with great joy that I accepted a position at Holy Spirit Prep in March of 2022.

Clare Braski with Soccer team

Clare, surprising her students’ at their Saturday soccer game!

As soon as I started at HSP, I knew the Lord’s “I have more for you” was going to be experienced at this school. I knew through the easy-going, intentional conversations with my co-workers that I would be supported by – and find joy in – those around me. I knew through the pre-planning professional development offered by the administration that the mission of our school is uniquely Catholic and complete, focusing on the good, true, and beautiful. I knew through the curriculum choices that my students’ minds and hearts would be captivated and challenged. I knew through the enthusiasm of the families at the Meet and Greet that this school was set apart as “a city on a hill,” so to speak. I knew that I had finally found myself at the school I had daydreamed about in college.

A Glimpse into a 4th Grade Classroom

Clare Braski with students at HSP

Clare and her students observing the different rates of diffusion of food coloring through water at three different temperatures.

As the 4th grade teacher here at HSP, my day is full of wonder and excitement. Whether we are discussing subatomic particles in our chemistry-based science class, applying our Latin roots to broader vocabulary across content areas, diving headfirst into classical literature like “The Jungle Book,” studying artwork to widen our understanding of theological concepts, recreating Native American artifacts, or learning the steps of long division, my students’ desire to learn amazes me. They find great joy in learning and view the opportunity to learn as a gift from the Lord.

Because of my students’ enthusiasm, my desire to learn has come back to life. Because of my co-workers’ investment in my life, my community has grown. Because of HSP’s dedication to the teachings of the Church, my relationship with the Lord has been nurtured. So many parts of me that had once been dead or tired have been reawakened because of my time at HSP. The Lord promised me more when he invited me here in 2022, and I can say without a doubt, that much of the newness and goodness I have received has stemmed from my decision to join this community.

Clare Braski
Clare Braski is the 4th grade teacher at Holy Spirit Preparatory School.
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