St. Ambrose Academy students put faith into action during fall Service Day Print E-mail
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Written by Carolyn Averill, For the Catholic Herald   
Thursday, Nov. 01, 2018 -- 12:00 AM

SAA Fall Service Day
On the recent Service Day, St. Ambrose Academy students weighed and sorted carrots ­ at Second Harvest in Madison to prepare them for delivery to donation sites. (Contributed photo)

MADISON -- St. Ambrose Academy students are developing love for Jesus both in the classroom and the chapel throughout the school year.

But, in order to embody the school motto "Christ is Everything for Us," that love must also spill over into acts of charity toward others, bringing the love that God has for us into our regular habits and actions.

On Friday, Oct. 19, the entire student body put that principle into practice at 15 sites throughout the Diocese of Madison -- from Camp Gray in Reedsburg to The Beacon in downtown Madison and Second Harvest on the east side -- during the fall semester Service Day.

Appreciate help

For Molly Luksik, executive director of local non-profit Central Midwest Ballet Academy, having St. Ambrose students lend a hand for the third time is a great gift.

"The students are always so cheerful, they clearly enjoy spending time with one another, and their work ethic is really impressive," she said.

"And my students immediately noticed the work that had been done and were so appreciative that others their age would care to help people they didn't know."

Impact on students

In serving others, there is also a direct impact on the St. Ambrose students themselves.

Senior high school students are invited to participate in the planning of Service Day and are instrumental in reaching out to potential service sites, coordinating their fellow students into groups, and being leaders, helping younger students understand the value of service and showing love for neighbor through concrete actions.

Senior Celine Schmiesing, one of the student planning committee members, immediately connected studying documents from the Second Vatican Council in religion class and the service.

"We've been learning about the role of the laity, which is 'to seek the kingdom of God by engaging in temporal affairs and ordering them according to the plan of God,'" she said, quoting Lumen Gentium.

Celine seized the chance to organize students, a skill she will need in her future career as a teacher. In fact, volunteering with elementary school children at St. Peter School in Ashton reassured Celine: "I really enjoyed working with the kids, and they allowed me to see how teaching is what I am called to do."

Interaction

Another benefit of Service Day is the ability for students of different grades to interact with one another -- fostering authentic relationships and creating a close-knit environment within St. Ambrose, which enrolls students in grades six to 12.

While serving at the Catholic Multicultural Center (CMC), Junior Nathan Tataje saw the opportunity to mentor the seventh grade boys in his group as they sorted, mopped, washed dishes, and did outdoor landscaping. "I was there to motivate and lead others to see the bigger picture that we are helping others see the light of Christ," he said.

Nathan found a lot of meaning in the tasks given to them and related it to St. Ambrose's school motto, "Even in one day, we could help [the CMC staff] assist the community in a real way. Christ came and, being the King, is the greatest servant that ever lived. We are modeling Christ. If Christ is everything for us, we should give wholeheartedly back to other people."

As a group each semester and individually throughout the year, St. Ambrose students serve their communities in a variety of ways, big and small. Serving alongside one another brings a student body together in a special way as each is able to see how the kind words, a helping hand, and the support we offer to our brothers and sisters in the community makes Christ's love truly present to others.

 
 

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