Catholic Transcript Magazine of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford Connecticut

Saturday, April 21, 2018

ndhs service 2 webJakob Cavanaugh of East Haven, a freshman at Notre Dame High School in West Haven, works with Sydney McEntire, a kindergartner at St. Rita School in Hamden, during Notre Dame's annual Freshmen Service Day Nov. 3. (Photo submitted)

WEST HAVEN – Notre Dame High School’s freshman class did a different kind of schoolwork after arriving on the school’s campus on Nov. 3.

Instead of learning lessons in their academic classes, they gleaned valuable life lessons as part of a class-wide service day.

The freshmen were divided into 15 groups and most traveled throughout Greater New Haven, volunteering mainly at local Catholic grammar schools and other organizations. One group stayed at Notre Dame to help sort donations to the school’s month-long Warm Knights Clothing Drive.

Each student performed his community service in the morning and then, after lunch, wrote a reflection paper, describing his experience and what he learned about himself. The day also included prayer and reflection activities focusing on the concept of service.

The freshmen also attended a panel discussion on community-minded activities led by eight juniors: Zachary Bilcheck, Logan Brandriff, Miguel Corzo, Shivam Gandhi, Nicholas Lozowski, Sean Morrissey, Michael Piechota and Jonathan Williams.

“Our goal with this project is simple,” said Notre Dame President Robert F. Curis. “We are certainly called by the Gospel to serve one another. This is a wonderful learning day outside of the classroom when we emphasize the value of community service. Having Notre Dame students connect with the Greater New Haven community is a constructive way to provide freshmen the opportunity to work in a group setting and provide valuable assistance to other students, classroom teachers and organizations.”

Besides at their own school, the Notre Dame students performed community service at the Grimes Center at St. Raphael Hospital in New Haven; Our Lady of Victory School in West Haven; St. Aedan-St. Brendan School, St. Bernadette School and St. Francis-St. Rose of Lima School, all in New Haven; St. St. Lawrence School in West Haven; St. Martin de Porres Academy in New Haven; St. Mary School in Milford; St. Mary School in Branford; St. Rita School and St. Stephen School in Hamden; St. Vincent de Paul School in East Haven; West Haven Community House; and WHEAT (West Haven Emergency Assistance Task Force).