His Holiness Pope Francis often speaks about the meaning of service. “And with the washing of the feet the Lord teaches us to be servants, and above all, servants as He was a servant to us, for every one of us.”
At this school, administrator for Christian service Mrs. Shannon Farrell Fox ‘80 makes sure that every student lives out the calling to exemplify the Holy Cross values every day.
“We are called follow Matthew 25 as a Holy Cross school. Cathedral expects her students to respond to the Gospel imperative of Matthew 25, which describes a clear set of requirements for those who wish to be citizens of heaven. Jesus tell us that we must actively serve the poor and vulnerable.”
Fox later explained that her hope is to educate the heart and minds. She said that teaching students to be responsive to the needs in their community and answering that call through service is important in developing a caring a compassionate adult.
Service hours have been required for many decades according to Fox, and even as long as she can remember. Fox said that in the ’90s, the school required all grades to complete 25 hours per school year. In 2012, service hours were changed to what they are currently: 10 hours for freshmen, 15 hours for sophomores, 20 hours for juniors and 25 hours for seniors.
“Our school has become so diverse with many students new to volunteerism. The rationale was to ‘grow our students in service’, starting them out with enough hours to learn what service is and increasing they hours as they mature and become more independent,” Fox said.
There are many agencies that Fox loves students to get involved in, such as Anna’s House/Lord’s Pantry, Cathedral soup kitchen or Marquette Manor, but her personal favorites are the ones where students feel a part of and “feel like they have received more than they gave.” Fox said that she often hears back for the agency coordinator about the great experience students have.
Fox also made note that if students have any questions about service or agencies that are available, she is open for advice. “Students should never panic about their service! My door is always open and solutions are always available. Students just need to ask for help!”
Theology teacher Miss Katherine Klee agreed with Fox, and explained that it’s important “to get outside and into the world to see other people that are out there everyday but are still in need of our help.”
Klee explained that she felt a different calling towards service, and she spends every third Wednesday of the month at Pendleton Juvenile Prison to teach a confirmation class. “(My brother) and I have been going for about two and a half years, and before that we taught and Bible study class there.”
Klee and her brother prayed about the type of service God called them to perform, and they have both seen the reward of that type of service. “Everytime that we leave, we know that we are giving a lot, but receiving so much more than what we physically give. So that’s the agency I’m really passionate about.”
As service hours time sheets are turned in and students create their required presentation about their service, Klee said that she is very happy about the style of presentations. “It’s cool for students to talk about what they do, what they got out of it, and why it was the meaningful to them.”
She said that she thinks the PowerPoint presentation, rather than a written paper, has given students more of an appreciation of what the meaning behind the service is and the type of people they helped.
Junior Jack Waltman has performed his service hours at Marquette Manor for a year and a half, and he likes the meaning behind the service. Waltman also said he likes volunteering for three to four hours at a time. “I would say something I would change about completing service hours would be giving a stronger motivation to complete them, like some extra credit or the ability to dress down for a week or two.”
A few students chose to complete their service hours on the spring break mission trip, such as sophomore Nick Hruskoci. This will be his first year on the trip, and Hruskoci said that he is really excited to with his classmates to aid in the building of a house. When asked about what he would change about the required service hours, he said that putting an hour limit makes sure people do enough service, but Hruskoci would rather the current system change “from hours to a whole school year thing that you go to once a month or once every other week.”
Completing service hours by the looming deadline may seem stressful and time consuming for some students, but Fox assured that performing these hours is for the experience. “Our hope is that shape our students character as a whole, intellectually, physically and spiritually.”