Bishop Guertin students celebrate Day of Service

Staff Photo by Hannah LaClaire Bishop Guertin High School seniors set up an assembly line of sorts to package boxes of commodity food items for the elderly at Southern New Hampshire Services' Family Outreach Center as part of their annual day of service.

NASHUA – Seniors and sophomores at Bishop Guertin High School did not attend classes Wednesday morning, but learned from experience instead as they helped clean up the city they call home.

Wednesday marked Bishop Guertin’s Third annual Day of Service, in which seniors and, for the first time, sophomores too, were sent to various organizations throughout Greater Nashua to assist in jobs like cleaning, packaging and distribution of various resources.

“Service is part of the school’s mission,” said Corey Genest, a social studies teacher and student service and leadership coordinator. “We call it ‘whole person formation.’ We want students to understand that they are part of a bigger community.”

Four hundred students were dispersed throughout that community to Nashua Children’s Home, Catholic Charities N.H., Nashua Police Athletic League, Nashua Soup Kitchen and other locations. The sophomores all went to Mine Falls Park to assist in clearing the trails after the recent storm.

“Each of us needs to use our own gifts and time to contribute to the community,” Genest said. “It’s important to expose students to the idea of giving.”

Genest and Mollie Kerrigan, campus minister, spearheaded the program when Kerrigan joined the school, and by next year they hope that it will be a school-wide campaign, Genest said.

Sixteen of the seniors met at Southern New Hampshire Services’ Family Outreach Center, and took turns at two stations, one group raking leaves and doing yard work outside, the other boxing commodity foods for the elderly.

Sara Hey, a senior, said that she feels it is important to take an active role in the community.

This is Hey’s first year participating in Bishop Guertin’s Day of Service, but she regularly volunteers with the Corpus Christi Food Pantry.

“We’re fortunate to have the resources that we do,” she said, adding that it means they should use those resources to help others.

That seemed to be a common thought among the students, as attendance was not mandatory with no service requirement for graduation, and almost everyone showed up, according to Genest.

“We want them to understand that Nashua is an important city in Southern New Hampshire,

and there’s a lot of need here,”

he said.

To continue the service mission, next week all the students will help clean the neighborhoods surrounding the school.

“Obviously the curriculum is really important to get the kids ready for college, but everyone is also really on board with things like (service),” he said.

Hannah LaClaire can be reached at 594-1243 or hlaclaire@nashuatelegraph.com.