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Ninth Grade: Good News in the City
The New Testament challenges men and women of faith to be men and women for others. The Good News in the City experience requires students to live the gospel message in simple, powerful and profound ways. During the spring of their freshman year, all students are asked to commit to 10 hours of service work. A portion of this service may be working with Lasallian Youth, an on-campus faith-based service organization. Students are encouraged to seek placements in need for the remainder of their service commitment, possibly returning to their grammar schools to give back some of what they received. Time is designated throughout the second semester in each religion class to process and respond to student experiences through written, oral and spiritual expression.
Tenth Grade: Understanding Community
Using novels, short stories, essays and poetry as a foundation, all sophomore students have an opportunity to participate in a full-day service learning immersion experience at a local nonprofit agency in the Tenderloin called St. Anthony’s Foundation. Students explore literary and personal themes and experiences of poverty, racism, sexism, relationships and faith as they serve others and stand in solidarity in a soup kitchen line, where thousands have stood before. The day, a retreat-style format, allows students an opportunity to learn about local politics and history as they “walk the walk” for a brief moment in time. All participants are challenged to follow the example of Mother Teresa and to look in the face of any man, woman or child and see the face of God. Academic connections are made throughout the curriculum as teachers and students explore literature, writing and creative expressions in response to a neighborhood so close and yet seemingly so distant from our own.
Eleventh Grade: Bridges
Implemented through all Chemistry courses, all junior students participate in a service learning unit that is rooted in thermo chemistry, nutrition, hunger and poverty. As students learn more about the USDA nutritional guidelines, global eating patterns and questions of access, they are asked to create a care package for a person in need. Students work in small teams as they reflect on larger questions of consumption and waste in their own lives and communities. The junior class then takes leadership of our annual One Can At A Time food drive, which benefits a local pantry in the Potrero Hill neighborhood, helping to educate our community that sadly, people go hungry all year long.
Twelfth Grade: Leave to Serve
“Leave to Serve” is the culmination of our four-year service learning program and requires students to work collectively to use their beauty and brilliance to contribute to the good of our society, with the hope that they will see their power to make changes today, tomorrow and in the future. As an extension of their civics courses, all senior students work collectively as a class to create a project that responds to a real need. Classes are encouraged to respond to an environmental, economic, political and/or social issue of their choice. Working with their instructors, students explore how to step beyond direct service to address issues of social justice at a structural level. Exploring key concepts of civic duty and responsibility, students are called to be innovative as they address challenging and complex realities in our communities. Prayer is the foundation of this experience, as all students are called to live what Margaret Mead proclaimed, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
Service Learning Schoolwide Projects
Venaver (meaning “come and see”) service immersion trips partner students with community members at sites like the De La Salle Blackfeet Reservation School in Montana, Dorothy’s Place in Salinas, Catholic Charities in New Orleans and various social service agencies in the San Francisco Tenderloin neighborhood; juniors and seniors spend a week experiencing firsthand the realities of injustice, oppression and poverty. Rooted in the tenets of faith, simplicity, community and social justice, these experiences provide students with a week of immersion dedicated to promoting cultural awareness, living in service to communities and reflecting upon the role that faith plays in the various aspects of their lives.
Sports in Action
Further integration of community service, prayer, faith development and community building into the life of the school includes Sports in Action, which invites boys’ and girls’ athletic teams to create and sponsor service projects. The expectation of our athletes is that they learn how to use their gifts and talents for others in meaningful ways to our community and themselves.
Family Service Day
Rebuilding Day is a citywide renovation effort that is the culmination of a year’s worth of planning and coordination. On the last Saturday in April, thousands of volunteers renovate nonprofit facilities and schools and repair the homes of low-income, disabled and elderly San Franciscans. Rebuilding Day is a part of National Rebuilding Day, when tens of thousands of volunteers across the nation give back to their communities on the last weekend of April. The Parents Association has partnered with the Campus Ministry Department for the past several years to sponsor a team of 30-60 community members for a day of rebuilding and learning.
Each year our school supports a variety of projects and people both locally and globally. We aim to create a calendar that is flexible enough to respond to crisis and need (e.g., the earthquake in Haiti), while allowing students and families the opportunity to give through prayer, specific goods and time. The Walkathon is our only schoolwide fundraiser specifically for the SHC community, therefore schoolwide initiatives allow all members of our school to respond to our greater community.