Newman graduate Caleb Harris leaps into teaching

May 31, 2023
Caleb Harris, 2023 Newman University graduate
Caleb Harris, 2023 Newman University graduate

As a sophomore in high school, Caleb Harris was sure his path would lead to becoming a doctor. 

Then he failed his biology class. 

Fast forward to his senior year when Harris traveled to Washington, D.C., for the March for Life. There, he visited the National Shrine of Immaculate Conception. 

“I remember walking in there feeling so crushed by the immensity and the beauty and having a small glimpse of God’s power and how awesome he is,” Harris said. “I felt like I couldn’t do anything else but what he wanted from me.” 

Priesthood had always been in the back of Harris’ mind, and in that moment, he realized entering the seminary was the next step for him. 

This past May, he graduated from Newman University with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy for theological studies

My time at Newman has formed me and prepared me to move on to the next stage of my life.

Caleb Harris ’23

Harris felt his Newman journey included not only the growth of academic knowledge but also personal development. 

“It has formed me and prepared me to move on to the next stage of my life,” he said. 

While at Newman, Harris lived in the Catholic Diocese of Wichita’s St. Joseph House of Formation for seminary students seeking higher education. Harris felt it was a wonderful gift to live within the house surrounded and being formed by other seminarians. 

“We all had one common purpose there, and that helped us get through the difficult moments,” he said. 

He added that at the House of Formation, the men learned to be self-sustaining as they had cooking and cleaning responsibilities, which is different than other seminaries. 

Harris explained one of the things he learned about himself in seminary is that he loves to teach. 

“When I decided to discern out, I didn’t think about what I would be doing afterward — I just knew that I was moving on,” he said. “Pretty much immediately after, I decided I wanted to be a teacher.”

This led Harris to emailing the superintendent of the Catholic Diocese of Wichita Schools, Newman alumna Janet Eaton, and the two set up a meeting. After she made a phone call, Harris landed a job he’s thrilled to begin.

Harris (right) smiles with fellow graduates of the class of 2023.
Harris (right) smiles with fellow graduates of the class of 2023.

That job is at Christ the King Catholic School teaching middle school religion and English.

“Christ the King is a wonderful school,” Harris said. “They had a lot of faith when they hired me, because I have a degree in philosophy, but I’m not teaching philosophy. I don’t have a teaching degree, and I have no teaching experience. And I’m 22.”

But with Harris’s passion for faith and education, there’s no doubt he will excel. 

This fall, he’ll also return to Newman to pursue his master’s degree in education. Looking to the future, he’s not ruling out going back into the seminary, either. 

“It’s been so good for me, and I’ve loved it so much,” Harris said. “Despite all the struggles and difficulties that I’ve had in it, those things have made me a better man today.”

Earn a degree in philosophy

While open to any student, the BA in philosophy for theological studies is designed to prepare Catholic seminarians for graduate work in theology.