Opening Doors for Those in Need

Juniors develop and showcase their two-year service capstone projects to freshmen and sophomores


Junior Sofia Foley displays her St. Andre service project: an immersion trip to an orphanage in Vietnam.

Olivia Uskert, Reporter

St. André Bessette was known for his dedication to serving others. From spending 40 years as a doorman to saving every penny for the construction of a shrine to St. Joseph, his small acts of charity touched the hearts of many.

The Junior Class hopes to emulate St. Andre’s devotion to community service as they begin the second phase of their two-year St. André Bessette service projects. According to religion teacher and St. André project coordinator Mr. Cole Hepp, “The goal is to have students take their passions and skills and combine them with a need in our community to create a meaningful service project.”

Because this is the first time this project has been implemented into students’ curriculum, the current Senior Class is required to complete 15 service hours to fulfill their service requirement. However, they will be the last upperclassmen to do so.

While service hours provide a great introduction and foundation for serving others, Mr. Hepp said, “These projects take community service to the next step. Each individual student can find how they’re called to serve using their gifts and passions, and hopefully continue to do so for the rest of their life.”

During their first semester, the juniors took a Catholic Social Teaching class, in which specific days were dedicated to creating and developing their St. André projects. Religion teachers guided them through the process, and they selected an offsite mentor to offer additional assistance outside of the classroom, as well.

On Friday, January 27, freshmen and sophomores attended the St. André project fair, where the juniors introduced the service projects they had spent the past semester working on. The underclassmen got to walk around and view the trifolds displaying all of the service projects, which ranged from collecting car seats for a young mothers’ nonprofit to an immersion trip to an orphanage in Vietnam. Each trifold featured a QR code, which, when scanned, brought students to a sign up page where they could volunteer to assist a junior in their project.

Mr. Hepp said, “The service fair was a way for the freshmen and sophomores to learn about community service topics and social justice issues in our community and in our world. And, in the big picture, it lets them understand what the (St. André) project is and helps them start thinking of their own ideas.”

The juniors will work on completing their St. André projects throughout the 2023 calendar year.