Father Tribou liked to talk about the word duty. It’s a word that is perhaps used too freely, but at Catholic High, we are serious about it: our boys should grow up to be good men, good husbands, good fathers, and good members of the community. To that end, and with the recognition that one is never too young to begin volunteer work, we offer several avenues by which a young man can give of himself.
Founded by Patrick Friend and Greg Renick (both ‘07), Catholic High’s Rotary Interact Club, Representing Everyone At Catholic High (REACH), has continued to be active over the past decade. The boys meet weekly and discuss various service projects open to them. Some projects require the boys to meet offsite and spend several hours working, and others are much closer to home while affecting people a continent away: two members of REACH will collect donations during student lunches toward the building of a well or the purchase of mosquito nets, among other projects.
Every year, Catholic High homerooms collect cans and money for Helping Hand. This fundraiser is thirty years in the making, and students are encouraged to remember that having received much, much is expected of them.
We like to call this service by its old name: Bigs in School. We began our relationship with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arkansas to participate in the site-based mentoring program in 2005. Interested students need to be at least 16 years of age. During the fall participation drive, students will fill out an application and be interviewed by BBBS staff to help BBBS match the high school student with an elementary student who shares similar interests, be they musical, athletic, video games, and so forth. Our goal is to introduce these youngsters to an older student–not quite an adult, but not quite a kid anymore either–who is somewhat like them, someone to whom they can look for guidance and support. Big brothers commit to a minimum of one hour a week for the school year, with the occasional phone call or email during the summer. This is a wonderful program, and our Catholic High students who become involved with it probably benefit as much as, if not more than, the “littles” whom they meet. Also, Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Central Arkansas will write letters of recommendation for universities and scholarships for the students involved. We had one presenter who told our students that he learned he had been accepted to his university of choice because his little wrote a letter for him: he absolutely stood out in the crowd of applicants.