Senior service evolves in a COVID world

Anna Carollo, Digital Managerial Editor

While this year has been unexpected and unknown due to the ongoing pandemic, the annual tradition of senior service projects will continue. Senior service normally consists of every senior going to a local organization and “serving the dear neighbor without distinction.” However, this year presents some alternatives due to difficulty in participating within the community. These alternatives include Zooming into a virtual immersion experience as well as leading sophomore retreat. A local community service is still an option if students can find an organization or place to complete their service requirement. The commitment forms for local service were due April 9, while the forms for virtual service and sophomore retreat were due back in March. While senior service is a graduation requirement, it also is a fulfilling experience for seniors before they graduate from high school and move onto the next stage of their lives. 

As stated earlier, local community service is still an option. On the senior service PowerPoint presented by Ms. Hotop to the senior class, she included a Google Doc that could be accessed by anyone interested in local community service options. People are welcome to find other options as well, but it can be an extremely difficult and frustrating process. 

Senior Olivia Hampton reached out to her own organization and recently received approval.

“I am very excited that my organization- Rung for Women- approved my service request. I look forward to learning more about its mission and working myself to empower women,” Olivia said.

The second option is to get involved in a virtual immersion experience. The Br. David Darst Center hosts this virtually by exploring social justice issues, through the lens of Catholic Social Teaching. The program seeks to engage faith in individual desires for change and service. This involves a  daily workshop with speakers from local agencies and staff members from the Darst Center. There are also morning sessions and afternoon reflection sessions.

The final option that actually takes place at St. Joe is leading the sophomore retreat. Throughout the week, seniors will meet with Mrs. Steinhart and Ms. Hotop for planning and preparation. Then on Friday of that week, seniors will lead the retreat themselves. Seniors may lead small groups, present talks, and lead activities. It is never too late to get to know more students at St. Joe, and even though seniors will soon be graduating, the sophomore retreat is a perfect opportunity to get to know students in other grades.

Senior Ella Kertz has volunteered to do sophomore retreat because she herself enjoyed her very own sophomore retreat.

“I think the fact that seniors lead the retreat makes the experience so special. During my sophomore retreat, I had no idea who my group leaders were, but we ended up all creating such a special bond. For the rest of the year, whenever I passed my leaders in the hall, we always said hi to each other,” Ella said.

Overall, every option presents a great opportunity for an experience in service. Whether that be online, at St. Joe, or in at a local agency, Senior Service is a special tradition that seniors are always excited for. In one way or another, change and transformation occur, whether that be in one’s heart or in one’s choice to continue to serve.