CJ students exemplify community service by putting their faith in action and sharing their talents with others, asking nothing in return. The students who went above and beyond that sentiment were recognized at the annual CJ Service Awards on May 6.
Students who volunteered 25 hours or more than their class requirement were honored in the ceremony. The Bronze Award was given to students who volunteered 25-49 hours, the Silver Award was given to students who volunteered 50-99 hours, and the Gold Award was given to students who volunteered 100 or more hours. Puja Harjani '15 received special recognition during the ceremony because she volunteered 504 hours throughout her four years at CJ.
"For a lot of our kids who do this amount of service, it's handed down from their families and parents," said Kelli Kinnear, Director of Ministry and Service. "They just start doing it and they enjoy what they're doing.'
The CJ Service Awards not only recognized how students make an impact on the community, but how local organizations make a difference as well.
During the ceremony. Sr. Claire Foley, SND, presented CJ with a plaque recognizing the school's effort to provide clean water to children and their families in third world countries.
"Providing clean water for the school, for the hospital, and expanding the vision to provide electricity gives these people the access to life," said Sr. Foley.
CJ's Philanthropy Club, through a partnership with Magnified Giving, presented TJ's Place of Hope an $600 award during the ceremony. Located in Centerville, TJ's Place of Hope provides teens a safe place to recover from addictions and other destructive behaviors. TJ's Place of Hope was just one of the organizations where CJ students volunteered this school year.
"We are here to love one another. Once we find purpose in our lives, and pair that up with a passion we have for different things, it all starts to become clear for us," said Greg Crabtree, Chairman of TJ's Place of Hope, after receiving the award.
Individual honors were also distributed during the ceremony. Those included Natalya Foster '15 who received the LaSertoma Youth Service Award, Lauren Peltier '16 who received the Sr. Ruth Ann Bange Service Award, Noah Walusis '17 who received the George Early Scholarship, religion teacher Mick Mominee who received the LaLanne Award, and social studies teacher Angela Ruffolo who received the faculty/staff Founders Award.
Nearly 30 elementary students were in attendance for the awards ceremony. Those students, along with a group of CJ juniors and seniors, were a part of this year's Little Sibs program. Each younger student had an opportunity on the CJ stage to share how their Big Sib has played a role in their life. The awards ceremony concluded with a blessing for summer mission trip participants.
While the CJ Service Awards highlighted how some students share their passion of volunteering with others, the ceremony also inspires others to continue community service once they leave CJ for the summer, or after graduation.
Kinnear told the students, "Sr. Dorothy once said, 'There are things you do because they feel right; they make no sense and they make no money but it may be the real reason we are here, to love each other… and to say it was good.' The service you do may make no sense to the rest of the world, and it certainly doesn’t make you any money, but it is the right thing to do."
CJ SERVICE BY THE NUMBERS:
Number of service hours completed by the CJ community during the 2014-15 school year beyond what is required of students through religion curriculum. The total represents a contribution of $256,365 to the local, national and world economy according to the Independent Sector’s valuation of an hour of service.
Community Service Homeroom Representatives. These sophomores, juniors and seniors are responsible for regularly communicating service news and information to their peers.
Number of freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors who were Bronze Award recipients.
Number of freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors who were Silver Award recipients.
Number of freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors who were Gold Award recipients.
Number of years the Little Sibs Program has been in place at CJ. 27 “Littles” in grades K-2 at Ruskin Elementary and Immaculate Conception were enjoyed a picnic lunch together in the courtyard following the awards ceremony.
Senior members of F.L.I.G.H.T. ‘15. Throughout the year, students selected to participate in this non-credit service leadership class help plan and organize activities including liturgies, retreats, service projects, donation drives and more.
Recipients of the Red Cord Honor Certificate of Achievement. These students donated blood at the CJ Blood Drive three of their four years of high school.
Leaders of CJ’s Marianist L.I.F.E. (Living in Faith Experience) group. This faith-formation group participates in an annual summer retreat at the Bergamo Retreat Center in preparation for the school year.