Seniors Excel at Serving Others
For graduates of Saint Joseph Prep, the Senior Service program is a rite of passage. This important experience provides students yet another opportunity to put into practice the spirit of compassion and generosity that has been fostered in their time at SJP.
Over the course of six weeks, these young women and men spend their time volunteering in hospitals, soup kitchens, elementary schools, and elder care facilities. Whether working with disabled children or delivering meals to the infirmed, the students both provide a valuable service and gain perspective on the world around them.
Working with a faculty mentor and participating in reflection sessions with their peers, the seniors shared stories and learned lessons from their varied experiences. Ms. Ashley Gabriel, SJP's Director of Campus Ministry, notes, "It was evident the students had truly benefited from the opportunity to serve the dear neighbor. This program helps the seniors understand on a deeper level what it means to serve others, and in some cases, has influenced future career paths."
The Senior Service program came to a close on Friday, May 26, although several students have chosen to extend their volunteer work at their sites throughout the summer, and the Class of 2017 gathered for a final breakfast to recognize their accomplishments. Over pancakes, eggs, bacon, sausage, and fresh fruit prepared by the Class of 2018, the seniors came together and heard wonderfully well-written and thoughtful speeches from Hannah Burke ’17, John Devlin ’17, Allen Fleureny ’17, and J.K. Kim ’17.
“I feel so blessed to have been able to work with these kids,” Hannah wrote. “I spent time with a boy who has Down syndrome, a little girl who has so many disabilities she requires a nurse with her at all times, and even boy without arms. But these kids are much more than their disabilities. They are energetic learners, curious explorers, loving siblings, and overall amazing kids. I enjoyed volunteering at the Campus School so much that I want to volunteer next year when I am at BC.”
J.K., who worked with elementary school children at the Oak Square YMCA came away with another important lesson: “I only worked with these kids for a few weeks, but I learned quickly that patience is a virtue. I gained an enormous amount of respect for teachers!”
This week, the Class of 2017 completed their Commencement celebration. On Wednesday, May 31, graduates and their parents gathered for the Baccalaureate Mass and Senior Awards Dinner on campus. The following night, Saint Joseph Prep held its Commencement exercises at Boston College's Robsham Theatre. Be sure to check back for the full story and photos!
Meanwhile, here is a photo slideshow video of the seniors at their service sites, and below is a slideshow of the final senior breakfast.