Elizabeth Murray and Sophia Haws’ Capstone Project was focused on the Dayton community but it was rooted in Cincinnati.
“Our project was inspired by Rooted in the Vine and Urban Plunge, two service immersion trips we attended at St. Vincent de Paul in Cincinnati,” Murray said. “We both fell in love with the work that St. Vincent’s does and discovered our passion for helping those experiencing poverty.”
Chaminade Julienne Senior Capstone Coordinator Molly Bardine was not surprised by their source of inspiration.
“The Urban Plunge retreat is an immersion retreat which often has a profound impact on our students,” Bardine said.
Their engagement with St. Vincent de Paul included work on a high school conference held in Cincinnati.
“When it came time to pick somewhere to do service our junior year we reached out to the local St. Vincent de Paul in Dayton,” Murray said. “We worked with a coordinator there to get service opportunities and shared with them ideas from the Cincinnati conference. This, then, became our senior capstone when we asked to be leaders of the Dayton group and have a role in planning service meetings for other local high school students.”
The St. Vincent de Paul High School Conference was established and its reach was extensive.
“Through their leadership, area students from CJ, Alter, Carroll and other high schools participated at various service sites throughout the year in the Dayton community,” Bardine said. “This is an ideal project for future capstone groups to carry forward.”
The group’s goals were twofold – help serve those in our community who are often overlooked while also engaging their peers, both in high school and throughout the Miami Valley. They were intentional about planning meaningful service opportunities while also incorporating education and community building.
“We wanted to give others the opportunity to serve those in the community while getting to know students from other high schools,” Murray said. “We worked hard to make it a good mix of faith, fun, education, and service – everything we fell in love with on our service immersion trips.”
The project, which took place in late winter, exceeded Haws’ expectations.
“Personally, I expected to feel challenged but also have fun and the implementation of our project was both, for sure,” she said. “The impact this project had on me was incredible. Service has always been something I’ve enjoyed, but coordinating this project has given me a new perspective when it comes to serving my neighbors in need. The project challenged my perspective of others who are different than me and continues to do so even after completion.”