While all eyes are firmly turned to graduation, several seniors at Gibault Catholic High School in Waterloo took a few minutes to reflect on their senior service projects earlier in the year.
Fourteen students, plus a pharmacist, doctor and nurse, spent two weeks in Ecuador in the spring.
The students spent the fall and winter raising money for the trip relying on their parishes and the larger community for support. Amanda Schmidt and Owen Murphy said they were pleased and grateful for the support.
In Ecuador, they practiced or learned Spanish as they painted structures, built a chicken coup, learned about family life and life lessons as well.
“Money isn’t happiness,” Murphy said.
“I learned we could help people and make a difference,” Schmidt said.
The young people also learned a greater appreciation for their homes and the opportunities they have.
“The best part of the trip was seeing the affect we had on the people there,” Murphy said.
Other students stayed closer to home, but their impressions about their service mirrored those who went to Ecuador.
Abby Mueller went to Great Circle, a school that assists students who are “really behind socially and academically,” she said.
Going to this school gave Mueller a chance to learn “more of the world outside of Waterloo.
Expecting the time to be “very challenging,” Abby was not disappointed. “We all have challenges, and instead of letting them define us, we use them to reach out to others.”
Riley Menard served at SS. Peter & Paul in Waterloo, very close to home.
“Everything you do has an impact on others,” he said. “Humanity is something we all share.”