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Strake students and brothers Kevin and Carter McKenna started the "Men for Elders" alumni outreach program during the COVID-19 lockdown. Pictured is Kevin McKenna, a senior, enjoying a conversation with one of the school's oldest alumni.
During the COVID-19 pandemic quarantine – a difficult time to serve the community through traditional in-person community service – my brother Kevin and I decided to create an outreach program for Strake Jesuit alumni called “Men for Elders.” The name is a play on words of the Jesuit’s motto “Men for Others” because our program was about Strake Jesuit students connecting with the oldest generation of the school during this time of isolation.
The program entails students contacting the past alumni from Strake Jesuit’s first graduating classes from the 1960s to check in on them during the lockdown and have a conversation about their life experiences. This program fits well into Strake Jesuit’s already established identity as a school with a great community supporting it. This only engagement further connects the community by giving current students a chance to speak to alumni to see what the Strake Jesuit experience was like in its early days when it was known as Houston Jesuit
The actual process of speaking to the alumni started with us reaching out to the school to get approval for this outreach program and the alumni contact information. Then, we created a list of questions and discussion topics for the calls. Finally, we called them and had numerous conversations about the school back then compared to now, how the school prepared them for college and their careers, what they are doing at this stage in their lives, and advice they would give to current Strake students. In total, we contacted more than 300 people.
Some of the people we talked to are business owners, others worked for large companies, and many worked as doctors and lawyers. After the calls, we came to the conclusion that the alumni we talked to really enjoyed this interaction and were interested in having the program continue.