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“It Changed My Life”: Senior Service Provides Soon-to-be-Grads Big Lasting Memory

Anthony Re
After winning the Guatemala Cup during Senior Service Project 2023, the black shirt team celebrates their hard earned victory with Coach Marvin Grilliot and Team Captain Grant Anielak.

For Christmas break students get 19 days off of school, but seniors are pulled out of classes for another three weeks. But just because they’re not in class doesn’t mean they’re not taking part in learning experiences. They spend those three weeks taking part in their senior service projects.

Senior service projects offer many opportunities to give back to the Kansas City community. But they can also help people hundreds of miles from home as well. Students can work in Guatemala for one of their three service project weeks. There students work around San Andres Itzapa building chicken coops and laying bricks or pouring concrete for people who have very little.

“The work I did in Guatemala made a real difference for the people I served,” said alumnus George Rebman ’23. “I was able to learn a lot about Guatemala’s history and connect to the people through things like music and family.”

Students who don’t go to Guatemala given the opportunity to work at schools, with elderly people, with veterans, and even with disabled people. There are a total of 41 options for students to choose from, including such organizations as Ability KC, Armor Oaks Senior Living, and Lead to Read.

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Students look forward to their senior service projects, so they can be men for others and help people all around the world.

“Giving back to the less fortunate puts a smile on my face because we are blessed with the opportunity to give back to people who are lacking basic necessities,” senior Logan Flattery said.

Senior service projects are something all seniors at Rockhurst are required to complete for graduation. The experience shows the teenagers the impact of a helping hand right before they move to the next phase of their lives.

The projects started more than 50 years ago, and have been a Rockhurst tradition since. The focus of them is pretty straightforward: increase a senior’s awareness and appreciation of the needs of others, broaden his range of experience by exposing him to unfamiliar surroundings and providing him with the chance to serve people with whom he would not meet, and to deepen the senior’s understanding of the world.

“The goal is to give back to the community with all the skills that you have practiced here,” Director of Ignatian Service Alan Ratermann said, “to put that man for others into action.”

Senior service can really open up a young adult’s eyes to the world around him, and provide a level of appreciation for the things he has. Simply put, it can have a profound impact on those who participate.

“I wouldn’t exchange my experiences in Guatemala for anything in the world,” Rebman said. “It changed my life.”


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About the Contributor
Jackson Sifers, Staff Reporter
This is the second year for me on the newspaper staff. I wanted to write for the newspaper, because I enjoy writing as a whole and generally find it to be one of my academic strong suits. I picked this class again, because I wanted to pick a class that would be enjoyable for me my senior year. It doesn't hurt that being part of student media can look attractive on a college resume as well. Outside of the newspaper, I’m involved in the Spanish Club. My future goals include graduating from Rockhurst, and then graduating college with a business degree. My first year of newspaper was filled with great times and lots of amazing learning experiences, and I am very excited to find out what my second year has to offer.
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