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Tyler Orf Knows the Importance of Good Surroundings

Tyler OrfHistory teacher Tyler Orf is following his high school dream of teaching. “I decided in high school I wanted to be a teacher. In college it occurred to me that I may want to go after a more lucrative career.” He did a marketing stint with Budweiser for a year before deciding that he wanted to try teaching after all. It didn’t take long for him to recognize that he made the right choice to switch careers. “About a month in to teaching, I was having a really bad day. Then the kids showed up. I mean they showed up. They were lively and energetic and they wanted to talk. My mood changed. There are very few professions where the people who surround you can change your day in such a profound way.”

Tyler’s surroundings have shaped who he is from an early age. He grew up in South St. Louis, attending Saint Gabriel’s parish school and then Saint Louis University High School, and walking to Ted Drewes on a regular basis. “I’m still friends with the same seven guys from my childhood, some since we were five years old. We’ve been in each others’ weddings, we still get together.” The friends played multiple sports together (most on the same team), and they all ended up at SLUH. It’s a diverse group, too. “We’ve got a teacher, a rocket scientist, an FBI agent, an engineer, a banker, a podiatrist, a graphic designer, and a Division One volleyball coach.”

Tyler chose the University of Tulsa for his undergrad after applying to nine different colleges. “It’s a good school, ranked in the top 100 by US News & World Report. It has small class sizes so students don’t get lost in the shuffle, it also has big time sports. The professors are engaged and care more about teaching than research.” Once again, Tyler found himself surrounded by what he needed to thrive.

He modeled his professors’ concept of engagement and care by applying for the Alum Service Corps (ASC), a program that puts Jesuit school alumni in teaching positions while living in community. ASC looks for “men and women with a desire to give back in gratitude for their Jesuit education.” Tyler was accepted into the program and went back to SLUH. “It’s a good program. They give you a place to live, insurance, a shared car, and a small stipend to live on. You have to scavenge for the rest, which makes it interesting.” He spent a year in ASC, teaching freshman history, coaching lacrosse, leading retreats and working with the student council. The experience proved to Tyler that he did want to be in education, and proved once again that where he is, and whom he’s with, matters.

He found a job teaching at a small private school in Memphis. “Because it’s a small school, teachers wear a lot of different hats. I taught many subjects: economics, government, AP classes, world history, American history.” After five years in Memphis, he was ready for a change. He made a lot of friends there, but wanted to do something different. He limited his search to cities where he already had friends, and where he thought life might be more interesting. He found the job posting for a history teacher at Priory, applied and was hired, and moved home. He’s teaching world history to sophomores and English to seniors this term, and will teach freshman world history, philosophy and psychology the next two. He’s also currently assistant coaching the junior varsity football team and will be the head lacrosse coach in the spring.

With an already-established group of friends in St. Louis, it wasn’t hard for Tyler to immediately make his life interesting. In his spare time, he plays indoor soccer and sand volleyball. He likes to attend trivia nights (someone scoop him up for the Priory Trivia Night on October 24!), and enjoys riding his bike and jogging. When he can get away, he likes to hike, ski and travel abroad. Last summer, Tyler traveled to six different countries in Asia and Europe, and he plans to travel to Central and South America next summer to explore Mayan and Inca ruins. Locally, he’s been checking out his new neighborhood of Tower Grove, finding good restaurants, pubs and activities. He also enjoys landscape photography, and just completed his Masters in Secondary Education at Saint Joseph’s University.

Tyler is a huge movie buff, enjoying all genres except horror. “I’m not a big horror movie guy…I don’t really see the point plus I’m a big chicken.” He likes to play movie games with his two brothers and his dad, drawing on his knowledge of old and new movies, dramas, comedies and westerns. He thinks everyone should see Braveheart, Rear Window, and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and puts Star Wars near the top of his list (in this ranking: Empire Strikes Back, A New Hope, and Return of the Jedi). He even enjoys movies that are so bad, they’re good. “I make people watch Roadhouse, and Top Gun is so terrible and yet so great!”

To welcome Tyler to the Saint Louis Priory School community, discuss what makes Top Gun so great (“You can be my wingman any time!”), or find out which six countries he visited last summer, contact him at ext. 116 or

“Listen carefully, my son, to the master’s instructions, and attend to them with the ear of your heart.”

Prologue, 1

“This is advice from a father who loves you; welcome it, and faithfully put it into practice.”

Prologue, 1

“First of all, every time you begin a good work, you must pray to him most earnestly to bring it to perfection.”

Prologue, 4

“If you desire true and eternal life, keep your tongue free from vicious talk and your lips from all deceit; turn away from evil and do good; let peace be your quest and aim. (Ps 33[34]:13)”

Prologue, 17

“Clothed then with faith and the performance of good works, let us set out on this way, with the Gospel for our guide, that we may deserve to see him who has called us to his kingdom (1 Thess 2:12).”

Prologue, 21

“If we wish to dwell in the tent of this kingdom, we will never arrive unless we run there by doing good deeds.”

Prologue, 22

“What is not possible to us by nature, let us ask the Lord to supply by the help of his grace.”

Prologue, 41

“Therefore, we intend to establish a school for the Lord’s service.”

Prologue, 45

“The good of all concerned, however, may prompt us to a little strictness in order to amend faults and to safeguard love.”

Prologue, 47

“The reason why we have said all should be called for counsel is that the Lord often reveals what is better to the younger.”

Chapter 3, 3

“Your way of acting should be different from the world’s way; the love of Christ must come before all else.”

Chapter 4, 20-21

“Never give a hollow greeting of peace or turn away when someone needs your love.” –Chapter 4, 25-26

“Bind yourself to no oath lest it prove false, but speak the truth with heart and tongue.”

Chapter 4, 27-28

“Place your hope in God alone.”

Chapter 4, 41

“Respect the elders and love the young.”

Chapter 4, 70-71

“Pray for your enemies out of love for Christ. “

Chapter 4, 72

“If you have a dispute with someone, make peace with him before the sun goes down.”

Chapter 4, 73

“The first step of humility is unhesitating obedience, which comes naturally to those who cherish Christ above all.”

Chapter 5, 1-2

“Speaking and teaching are the master’s task; the disciple is to be silent and listen.”

Chapter 6, 6

“The first step of humility, then, is that a man keeps the fear of God always before his eyes (PS 35[36]:2) and never forgets it.”

Chapter 7, 10

“Let us consider, then, how we ought to behave in the presence of God and his angels, and let us stand to sing the psalms in such a way that our minds are in harmony with our voices.”

Chapter 19, 6-7

“On arising for the Work of God, they will quietly encourage each other, for the sleepy like to make excuses.”

Chapter 22, 8

“Every age and level of understanding should receive appropriate treatment.”

Chapter 30, 1

“Above all, let him be humble. If goods are not available to meet a request, he will offer a kind word in reply, for it is written: A kind word is better than the best gift (Sir 18:17).”

Chapter 31, 13-14

“Let all the rest serve one another in love.”

Chapter 35, 6

“Indeed, nothing is to be preferred to the Work of God.”

Chapter 43, 3

“Idleness is the enemy of the soul. Therefore, the brothers should have specified periods for manual labor as well as for prayerful reading.”

Chapter 48, 1

“The life of a monk ought to be a continuous Lent.”

Chapter 49, 1

“All guests who present themselves are to be welcomed as Christ, for he himself will say: I was a stranger and you welcomed me (Matt 25:35).”

Chapter 53, 1

“Proper honor must be shown to all, especially to those who share our faith (Gal 6:10) and to pilgrims.”

Chapter 53, 2

“(B)ecause wherever we may be, we are in the service of the same Lord and doing battle for the same King.”

Chapter 61, 10

They should each try to be the first to show respect to the other (Rom 12:10).”

Chapter 63, 17

“We wish this rule to be read often in the community, so that none of the brothers can offer the excuse of ignorance.”

Chapter 66, 8

“Trusting in God’s help, he must in love obey.”

Chapter 68, 5

Never to do another what you do not want done to yourself (Tob 4:16).”

Chapter 70, 7

“No one is to pursue what he judges better for himself, but instead, what he judges better for someone else.”

Chapter 72, 7

“Let them prefer nothing whatever to Christ, and may he bring us all together to everlasting life.”

Chapter 72, 11-12

“What page, what passage of the inspired books of the Old and New Testaments is not the truest of guides for human life?”

Chapter 73, 3

“What book of the holy catholic Fathers does not resoundingly summon us along the true way to reach the Creator?”

Chapter 73, 4


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Saint Louis Priory School

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