Christian Schaefer ’17: St. Paul’s Teaches the Importance of Empathy

Christian Schaefer was a St. Paul’s Scholar, athlete, member of the vestry, tutor and jazz band member. He attended the Japanese exchange trip and was a member of the Japanese honor society. Christian also earned the Kyle Greber ‘10 Memorial Award for Citizenship and now attends the University of Southern California. Here is what Christian has to say about his St. Paul’s experience:

The most important thing that St. Paul’s has taught me is the importance of empathy.  In the classroom, our teachers encouraged curiosity. They facilitate this through engaging classroom discussions where the students’ inquisitiveness drive the conversation. The value of these conversations stretched far beyond understanding literature or history. In fact, I learned how to build upon my peers’ viewpoints to supplement my experiences and knowledge.

St. Paul’s School

Outside of the classroom, St. Paul’s has shown me the value in serving others. When I first came to the Upper School, community service seemed like only another requirement to graduate, but once I tried school sponsored activities I knew service was much more important than that. As the president of the Service Learning Council and a member of the Service Learning Honor Society, I was reminded daily of the benefits of community service and the greater good. Another school activity that has helped me to embrace empathy was my involvement in the Vestry. I have had many long conversations with Chaplain Sell and some other members of Vestry about faith and what that means in modern society. This has given me the tools to have discussions with my peers outside of Vestry about religion in a way that is constructive rather than argumentative.

Perhaps the most important lesson I have heard during my time at St. Paul’s came from my English teacher, Mr. Conant. He told our class that the purpose of language is not prove a point or to win an argument, but to understand the opinions and lives of others. In turn, by understanding others’, one should use that knowledge to enhance their knowledge and worldview. In all facets of my education as a student and a person, the lessons I have learned here at St. Paul’s will guide me to better comprehend the world around me in a way that I can make a positive impact.

Jill Wagoner

Jill Wagoner

Mrs. Wagoner is the Director of Strategic Communications for St. Paul's. She came to the School in 2015 and previously spent three years as Director of Communications and Marketing at an independent school in North Carolina. She also has experience working for a full-service marketing firm and a daily newspaper. She can be reached at

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