Archbishop Molloy High School
Forty-one years sounds like a long time to be in one place. For Brother James Norton, F.M.S., the four decades spent at Archbishop Molloy (he’s also an alum of the school) have been full of rewards and challenges. Here he reflects on his experience and on ‘saying yes’ to new opportunities.
I began my teaching career at Archbishop Molloy teaching Spanish, but early on I was asked to become part of the counseling department. This was 1972 and the school had a very dynamic Brother and a lay teacher who had a very good counseling program going and I wanted to be a part of that. Gradually, I stopped teaching Spanish and took on more and more counseling responsibilities and that’s what I’ve been doing ever since.
I always look back on this as a very, very important turning point in my life. Counseling was more challenging. And I felt this is what I really want to do…I want to work with kids and talk about issues that they’re struggling with.
All these years later, it’s still important. Kids need to be able to sit down and relate with someone. The issues have gotten more difficult: family issues, drugs and alcohol and I feel like I’ve developed some expertise to listen to people. Even though I’m much older than high school students are now, I feel like I can still relate to them and want to do it for as long as that’s true.
It’s really all a gift from God. I never saw myself doing these things, and here it is, this is what I’m doing and loving it.
People seem to be very interested in how you live your life as a Brother in the world today. My response to that is, ‘This is me.’ Somehow, living this way is part of my personality, I feel comfortable in this life. It’s not perfect, no life is. There are issues, we struggle with things, living in community is probably like living with people anywhere. So in the end, I’m glad I’m doing this. I have no regrets. I’m happy.