By Clarion Herald Staff
Through Cabrini High School’s Service Learning programs, the eighth-grade theology classes partnered with St. Michael Special School Jan. 16 on campus for a day of service, learning and fun, sponsored by The Joe W. and Dorothy Dorsett Brown Foundation.
“My goal with partnering with St. Michael Special School was to give our students the opportunity to serve those with special needs, which would impact them by making life-changing bonds with the students,” said Tiffany Matherne, a Cabrini eighth-grade theology teacher.
St. Michael’s students received a tour of the Sacred Heart Chapel and Mother Cabrini’s bedroom, shared lunch, experimented with magnetic slime and conducted the famous Diet Coke and Mentos experiment, led by Cabrini science teacher Ann Smart and her Science Squad.
“This was a wonderful, inclusive opportunity for our students,” said St. Michael Special School president/principal Tish Sauerhoff. “The students were so excited to travel to Cabrini. They made new friends and engaged in interactive experiments. … At St. Michael, our limited space doesn’t allow for state-of-the-art science labs.”
Cabrini has been awarded grants from the Brown Foundation’s Service Learning Program for the past 10 years and has used the money in different ways. The first project, planned by the junior theology class, was feeding guests at the St. Joseph Rebuild Center. Grant money then allowed the school to implement a comprehensive five-year, class-level service program, where a different service partner is selected annually.
Other class-level service learning programs have included the sophomores partnering with Esperanza School; freshmen visiting the elderly at Park Esplanade; and seniors working with the archdiocesan Pontifical Mission Society.
Students learn the value of giving themselves for the good of others through respect and serving the community’s needs.
The Service Learning programs are integral to Cabrini’s mission as an institution founded in the spirit of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, who promoted the principles of respect and service, especially for children and immigrants.
“The students absolutely loved being involved with St. Michael’s,” Matherne said, citing feedback from her students. “For many of the girls, this was an opportunity that helped them grow personally, faithfully and impacted their lives. Many of them have already discussed going to the school to volunteer.”