By Jerry Duggan
As a student at Jesuit High School, Scott Delatte (class of 2006) was taught by two Jesuits and developed meaningful relationships with others throughout the school community. The wisdom, knowledge and compassion they exuded struck a chord with him. He fell in love with Jesuit education – so much so that he is teaching at his alma mater two decades after he began as a student there.
“I have always been impressed by the Jesuits. They took time to connect with their students and care about their development and wellbeing, beyond rigorous academics, which we certainly had,” Delatte said.
He recognizes this level of investment in a student’s full development as cura personalis, though he saw this ideal at work in the school’s Jesuit and lay teachers alike before he knew what that term meant.
“It was clear to me from my time as an 8th grader on (most high schools in the New Orleans area begin in 8th grade) that the teachers here deeply cared,” he recalled. “Even if I didn’t know much about the Jesuits yet, I knew I was in the right place and knew my teachers cared.”
After graduating, Delatte enrolled at Belmont Abbey College, a Benedictine school in North Carolina, where he majored in theology and minored in philosophy and political science.
After taking a gap year to discern his true calling in life, he eventually ended up in the theology department at his alma mater, where he has been for the last decade.
“As soon as I saw there was an opening here, I knew it was something I had to pursue,” he said.
Over the years, he has taught a wide range of theology courses to several grade levels, ranging from an Introduction to Catholicism course, a Sacred Scripture course, Sacraments, Church history, ecclesiology and, today, Christ in Scripture, an 8th grade, Old Testament-focused course.
Through all of these, Delatte’s focus has remained the same.
“I enjoy getting into the deeper questions of the faith with my students and also giving them an appreciation for their Catholic faith,” he said.
He also serves as co-moderator of the school’s pro-life club and has led a contingent of 30 to 50 students to Washington, D.C., for eight years, last year’s trip being cancelled due to the pandemic.
Aside from attending the March for Life each January, the group meets regularly throughout the school year.
“We gather for prayer and service activities, but we also try to give our students the tools to articulate their pro -life stance intelligently, especially for when they go off to college,” he said.
He enjoys coming to work at Jesuit day in and day out – connecting with students and drawing them closer to God – but he perhaps felt most proud to be part of the school community during his senior year, when Hurricane Katrina hit.
Some Jesuit High students attended classes for several months at Strake Jesuit College Preparatory School in Houston, while a sizable group took classes in the evenings on the campus at St. Martin’s Episcopal School in Metairie, a nearby suburb. Delatte was in the latter contingent.
“It was an adjustment, of course. We would get to school in the late afternoon, have dinner around 6:30 and end the school day at 10:00, because St. Martin’s had its own school during the day, but I remember being so filled with joy to go to school with many of my closest friends and teachers,” he said. “In a time of great hardship, we were able to maintain some semblance of ‘normal’ because we still had our Jesuit education.”
The campus’ physical plant has changed greatly since his time as a student, but, if anything, Delatte thinks the school is more mission-driven today, laser focused on being a Catholic school which develops men of faith and men for others.
“Not to say that we were disconnected from the broader mission when I was a student here, but I think today’s students really absorb the mission and ‘get it’ on a level I didn’t see back then,” he explained.
He feels most fortunate that he was able to start teaching at Jesuit at such a young age and, God willing, has many years at Jesuit ahead of him.
“I’m proud to call this place home,” he said. “I was blessed to be able to start working here at a young age. Jesuit is a great school and a great community that really draws the best out of its students and teachers. I’m so excited to be a part of that mission every day.”