The Bluhm Family - SACRED HEART GRIFFIN HIGH SCHOOL
"We wanted our children educated in an environment that first provided a nurturing, faith-filled atmosphere
and second, encouraged high expectations both academically and personally." -- Josh Bluhm


The Bluhm Family, Sacred Heart Griffin


Sometimes, even the most serious students question the relevance of studying literature. A good English teacher will divest the naysayers of cynicism by showing, for example, how great novels are rife with metaphors about their lives. A good English teacher will recognize his own life mirrored in the pages, too.

Josh Bluhm is that teacher. He's been teaching English at SHG for 11 years, and is in the unique position of also being an SHG parent. He says that being both a parent and a teacher has good and bad points. Citing Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (a novel that he is currently teaching), he says " …the creation discovers fire -- and learns of its good and bad aspects, finding it strange that 'the same cause should produce such opposite effects.'"

While conflict makes for livelier literature, in real life, it can be a bit tricky. Josh recognizes that it's a privilege to be so intimately involved in the education of his two sons, but he has also worried that he wasn't giving them enough space to develop as individuals free from his parental influence. He has intentionally bowed out of some of the activities in which he used to participate -- such as the Kairos retreat and the JOSHUA (Journeys of Service Helping Upper Appalachia) mission trip -- in order to afford his sons that freedom.

Josh earned both a B.A. (Illinois College) and an M.A. (UIS) in English Literature. In addition to teaching Honors and AP English, he is also the coach for SHG's Cross Country and Track & Field teams. His wife Wendy earned a B.S. at MacMurray College in Special Education and later an M.Ed at Benedictine. In addition, she holds an M.S. as a Reading Specialist, and completed the Educational Leadership program at UIS to fulfill the Illinois Type 75 Certification requirements to work in school administration. She is a Special Education Case Manager for the Springfield Public Schools.

Their son Jon is an alumnus of Blessed Sacrament School. He also graduated from SHG in 2014 and is now a freshman at the United States Military Academy at West Point. His favorite classes at SHG were Anatomy with Mr. Saputo and AP English. He ran cross country and track & field and was President of the German Club. He was a founding member of Our Lady of Nazareth Club, a service club started by his father and SHG's Dr. William Moredock to partner with and foster its namesake grade school in Nairobi, Kenya through pen pal opportunities and fundraisers. Jon participated in JOSHUA for two summers. The things he loved most about his experience at SHG were the people and the positive atmosphere created by the supportive environment.

Ethan, also a graduate of Blessed Sacrament School, will achieve another milestone this year when he graduates from SHG. His favorite classes are English and U.S. History with Mr. Lavin. He likes being at school and with friends in SHG's positive environment. He runs cross country and track & field and is President of the German Club and the FIRE Club, which is dedicated to drug and alcohol prevention and awareness. He participated in JOSHUA mission trips for two summers and is Co-President of Our Lady of Nazareth Club.

Wendy and Josh went through the RCIA process at Little Flower, where Wendy also taught Kindergarten for two years. For the past 10 years, they have been members of Blessed Sacrament Parish. During this time, Josh has coached several sports, including cross country and track & field. He has also been a participant in the Blessed Sacrament 8th grade class trip to Washington, D.C. for the annual Right to Life March.

As one would surmise, these two educator-parents take their sons' education very seriously.

"We wanted our children educated in an environment that first provided a nurturing, faith-filled atmosphere and second, encouraged high expectations both academically and personally" says Josh, who feels that SHG has certainly given both Jon and Ethan that experience.

He also gives high marks for the emphasis SHG has placed on service and feels that it has been very integral to the development of his children's Catholic identity.

"Too many times, I have seen people (both young and old) immersed in their own insular experience, a 'what's in it for me?' mentality. That the school consciously works to instill the idea in the minds of its students that there is a larger world out there and that they can contribute to its betterment I think speaks volumes for the character of the SHG community" he says.

The conflicts that arise for Josh from being both parent and teacher will no doubt cease once Ethan graduates from SHG. But his mission will remain the same -- sharing his passion by teaching his young charges to be great students of literature, and life.


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