By Colin Hatanaka
On Monday, Jan. 9, the senior class departed from Loyola High School to begin a month-long service project at sites throughout Metropolitan Los Angeles. Seniors will have to complete a minimum of 78 hours at their respective sites. e Senior Service Project, which was created by Bishop Gordon Bennett in 1981, is currently led by Community Service Director omas Zeko and Assistant Director Angela Moran.
Seniors had to meet many requirements before beginning their work at their service sites such as completing their sophomore and junior community service hours, approving their proposals and registering at their service sites. e Senior Service Project is the culmination of students’ community service at Loyola High School and aims to encourage them to continue
community service after high school.
According to Zeko, the Senior Service Project is a wonderful opportunity to work with their community and hopefully learn something about themselves. He said, “It really is an opportunity for the seniors to give back to a community, be that in a school context, a medical center context or shelter admission context. The seniors, who at first glance might think that the people they are serving don’t have much to offer them, will soon learn that this a mutual relationship. They are receiving as much as or more than what they put in.”
Zeko said, “Working at a service site applies everything students have learned through their service, academic classes, and athletics programs. It asks them to apply it to their situation be it a grade school, a mission, a shelter or a health care provider.”
Moran said, “Moving out of senior year and into college, our hope is that our seniors through this experience will see community service not as just a task or a check-off box, but make it a part of their lives because they have lived it. Hopefully, it will become a part of their routine, and that’s why the Senior Project is so important to our campus.”
The Senior Service Project allows many seniors to be more aware of others and the impacts that their service can have on those they help.
“I am working at Sophia T. Salvin Special Education Center, which is a school for young students with mild to severe physical and mental disabilities,” senior Michael Gomez said. “The experience that I have had at my site has been completely eye-opening. I am learning more about myself everyday through this service, and I am optimistic that I will learn a lot about others as well.”
Senior Francisco Araneta Jr., said, “Giving back to the community through service, whether it be tutoring or volunteering at a local shelter, should be something everyone should do at least once in their lives. We sometimes forget that at our societal foundation lies a fundamental human connection, and if we don’t give back to the community, that connection becomes weak.”
The Senior Service Project Closing Ceremony is on Thursday, January 26, 2017, with parents, grandparents and siblings. The final day at their service sites will be on Friday, Jan. 27.