Strake Jesuit Junior Service Day
Service, an integral part of the Jesuit mission, acts as a large part of the Strake Jesuit school's identity and is instilled as a core value in the students. In the past, students would perform service through numerous opportunities provided by the school or on their own time. This year, Strake Jesuit introduced grade-wide service days, where all the students in the grade go out to perform service throughout the city or at the school's campus.
The junior class recently had the school’s first grade-wide service day on September 26. After a mass in the auditorium, students set out to perform their assigned service activities oriented in helping others. Many students stayed on campus assisting with the Special Olympics, while other students traveled across the city to Society of St. Vincent de Paul centers, food drive centers, and Focused Care homes.
At one of the warehouses of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, students organized books and sorted through clothes which would be given out to the homeless and those in need. Raj Trivedi, one of the students who served at the site, witnessed some of the necessities that people struggle to obtain and said that he “gained a sense of gratitude for the things [he] is able to have in life.”
“It definitely inspired me to go out and serve the community more,” said Sebastian Mendoza, a Strake Jesuit junior who helped with the Pan De Vida food drive at the Guadalupe Center, where he and classmates handed out food and groceries to those in need. Students distributed the food to the families in their cars allowing them to view the impact of their service on the families. “Seeing how some of the people were so thankful really put a smile on my face,” Mendoza said.
Students who traveled to the focused care homes had a similar experience, spending the day interacting with the people living there by playing games, dancing, and socializing with the elderly and those with mental impairments. “It was a nice, touching experience that made me realize how important it is to appreciate our time in every way,” said Felipe Hernandez who visited the Focused Care Webster location and was inspired by a woman who told him that “it’s never too late to do something in your life as long as you can always put your mind to it and stay focused.”
Teachers at Strake Jesuit accompanied the students for their service day and acted as helpful examples for the juniors. Felipe Hernandez noted that “It was an honor to be [at the focused care center] with several other students, Mrs. McNeil, and Ms. Schuffenecker who were really helpful guiding us.” Faculty made the experience even more rewarding.
Strake Jesuit’s first grade-wide service day turned out to be a successful and beneficial experience for the many different members of the Houston community that the juniors served. Not only did the service day benefit those in need, but it also moved and inspired the students while strengthening the bonds within the school and between Strake Jesuit and the community.
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