Once school closes its doors to greet summer, most regard these weeks as time to unwind and cool-off. Not so, this summer for Regis! Five intrepid middle school students and two even more intrepid faculty members chose to embrace Sacred Heart Summer Service Projects. They expanded their horizons through leadership and service, forged new friendships, and experienced diverse cultures.
•Eighth graders Mateo Camacho and Topher Miller attended the Sacred Heart Leadership Camp in Chicago
•Eighth grader Dominic Vela and seventh grader Jacob Manley journeyed to Connecticut to participate in the Hearts Fighting Hunger Service Project.
•Combining laughter with service, eighth grader Jack Graham spread smiles as he performed with the Clown Academy Sacred Heart ServiceProject in New Jersey.
•Among all participants, Regis Spanish teacher, Mrs. Patricia Sung wins the prize for traveling the farthest as she is teaching English at the Sacred Heart School in Taiwan.
• For a second service committed summer, Ms. Christine Broadston, English teacher, served as a faculty counselor at the Alligators to Zydeco Service Project at the Academy of the Sacred Heart, New Orleans.
•In a non-network project, Ms. Laura Smith, first grade teacher, travelled on a medical mission trip to Lima, Peru
Leadership Camp in Chicago
The Leadership Camp, Student Leadership Impels to Action, was open to all Sacred Heart young men and women in grades seventh to twelfth. The camp encouraged them to personally experience all five Sacred Heart Goals. The students attended several leadership classes and spiritual enrichment sessions, as a foundation for participating in many service projects. Both Mateo and Topher described it as an opportunity to experience how Sacred Heart breaks “barriers” among people belonging to different cultural backgrounds. Elaborating on this idea, Topher said, “At the camp, we were all alike, we all had something in common.” So they didn’t mind when someone referred to “soda” as “pop”! Sharing his learning from the camp, Mateo said, “Anybody can be a leader, it’s in all of us, we just need to be responsible.” New friendships, team building, the joy of serving young children, and a growing confidence in self as a leader were some of their key impressions from this project.
Teaching English at Sacred Heart-Taiwan
In her email from Taiwan, Mrs. Sung excitedly described her experiences as,“Wonderful! I have learned so much about the Sacred Heart Network and Taiwanese culture, and enjoyed lots of good food! The Sacred Heart School in Taipei is so welcoming and accepts its visiting teachers like family.” What a rewarding way to live Goal II: A deep respect for intellectual values.
Hearts Fighting Hunger Summer Service Project in Connecticut
In the Hearts Fighting Hunger Summer Service Project in Connecticut, Jacob and Dominic joined six girls from other Sacred Heart schools to live Goal III: A social awareness that impels to action. The students helped POTS- Part of the Solution to serve some of the Bronx County’s neediest residents by working in their soup kitchen, food pantry, and clothing pantry. By developing a Wiki Page, they shared daily highlights with their parents. Both Regis boys agreed that it was a “new” and “fantastic” experience. Jacob expressed, “When I was there, I realized that there are so many people on the streets in need of food and water, and we who have a lot really don’t share it with them.” Encouraging students to participate in similar projects, Dominic said, “It is an experience that I will remember for a very long time. Getting to serve the Bronx community and making their lives a little easier was extremely humbling. I feel honored to have been granted the opportunity.” The two were also happy to make new friends.
Clown Academy Sacred Heart Service Project in New Jersey
Living by the motto “Laughter is the best medicine” Jack Graham, an eighth grader, served the community by participating in the Clown Academy Sacred Heart Service Project. The Academy combines a love of making people smile with community service. He joined twelve Sacred Heart students to learn the basic skills of clowning including slapstick, juggling, and even some static trapeze and aerial rope poses. The group performed for a senior home in New Jersey and also put on show for struggling families at the Princeton Academy. Jack’s favorite skill was face painting. Describing his experience, Jack said, “I enjoyed performing at the senior home. The residents had nice stuff to say about our performances.”
Alligators to Zydeco Service Project at the Academy of the Sacred Heart, New Orleans
Continuing her commitment to Goal III, Ms. Broadston served as a responsible steward of earth’s recourses as she worked with nine students to understand the ecological challenges in Southeast Louisiana and the cultural and socio-economic impact of the loss of wetlands on this region. According to Ms. Broadston, the highlights of this project included a swamp tour, working at the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation and studying the creatures in swamp water at the Jean Lafitte National Park.
Medical Mission to Lima, Peru
In another project, although not related to the Network, Ms. Laura Smith, first grade teacher, traveled to Lima, Peru on a medical mission trip working with MISIUR (Misión Integral Urbano Rural). Together with volunteers, she managed a medical and optometry clinic and distributed medicines and vitamins. Sharing her experience, Ms. Smith said, “The trip offered an opportunity to be the hands and feet of Christ to children and families in need. It is important to have a global perspective on the struggles that other countries face, and yet realize that many of our needs are the same. This was an opportunity to put faith into action by serving and loving others.”