Students Reflect on NDA Serves


Journalism I Students, Staff Writers

NDA Serves is a school-wide service day, where students, faculty and staff go out into the community in small groups to volunteer their time and talents.  Some NDA students reported on their experience.

Freshman Sophia Kummers

I chose to go to the school I attended from first to eighth grade, St. Bernard School, for NDA Serves because I thought it would be cool to help out the place where I went to school for so many years. I also wanted to see some of my former teachers.

My job was to help out a classroom as well as clean the library by doing little jobs that the teachers wanted to be done.

I was assigned to go to a second grade classroom. I organized the bookshelves, sorted markers, cleaned whiteboards, sharpened pencils, and many other little jobs. These jobs weren’t very difficult, but all of the teachers definitely appreciated the work the NDA kids were doing for the school.

What I enjoyed about working in the classroom was all the stuff we got done and how even the young students at St. Bernard’s appreciated our help.

I also went around the school asking teachers if they needed help at all and what I could do. I ended up helping clean the library and assisting a few other teachers as well.

A lot of the kids I graduated with last year in eighth grade were at St. Bernard’s for service day so it was cool to be able to see them since I don’t have many classes with them here at Notre Dame. It was also cool to see my old teachers and get to talk to them about high school.

Doing service is something I always enjoy because it is a way to offer up my time to someone who needs help. Even though we didn’t do a whole lot, all the teachers were grateful for the help the NDA kids did for the school.


Junior Carter Jacobson

For service day this year I went to Baird’s Creek and helped get rid of invasive species. They had an infestation of plants from Europe that were destroying the natural plants. Invasive species mess up the ecosystem because animals that live there can’t find the plants they are supposed to eat in order to survive.  The result is that the animals leave or die.

They had us climb up the hill in groups of three. Each person had a separate job.

The first job was cutting the trees down. The second job was rubbing poison on the stump to kill the tree. The third job–my job–was to throw the trees down the hill.

People were laughing and falling down the hill. Our Baird’s Creek leaders were two nice guys who really cared about the environment and seemed to enjoy their jobs.

Overall I thought NDA Serves was a great time this year, and I was really able to learn a lot about invasive species and about how they can really ruin things.


Freshman Diego Mendoza

Not only did my NDA Serves experience show me how I can help my community, I had a great time bonding with the five guys who went to St. Jude’s parish to clean the boiler room..

We all arrived at just around nine, and following the opening prayer, were welcomed by the head of maintenance. Our group was led by math teacher Mr. Steve Havlichek, who was very enthusiastic about helping us learn about service.

Our first job was to bring all the garbage out of the boiler room, which before we had come, was also being used as a storage room. It was filled with desks, book shelves, computers, wooden planks, chairs: anything you could imagine being stored in a dark room.

All the wooden items were thrown into the dumpster, and all the metal put into the janitor’s truck to be recycled at a nearby junkyard. By the first hour and a half, the dumpster was already overflowing, and the janitor’s trailer nearly full.

Not all the garbage was thrown out. I volunteered to travel back to NDA with Mr. Havlichek to drop-off some easels for the art room. Besides the great music he sang to, we had a great time pulling right up to the front door.  I thought we were about to crash into the main entrance!

After putting on our masks, and sweeping up all the dust, broken glass from a window that I broke, and all the nails that had been spilled on the floor, we all remarked that we could finally see the boiler. As a reward, we were allowed to travel through the pipe tunnels underneath the old church.

The tunnels were not much taller than 3 feet, and after crawling and using skateboards through them for 15 minutes, we finally found the end where Mr. Havlichek was waiting for a photo.


Freshman Emily Gibson

I volunteered with my sister and a few friends at Encompass, an early education and child care center for young children.

I saw this on the yellow sheet in the gym and thought I would be playing with the kids, so I quickly and enthusiastically signed up. However, after our prayer was said, we were promptly sent outside to pick up garbage and clean the outside equipment.

We were told to sweep off the basketball court and the cement pathway, but it seemed that every time the wind blew, there was another leaf to brush away.

Within the first hour, there seemed to be so much to do that we thought we could never get it all done. We were given a big to-do list, but by the time 10:30 rolled around in our 9-12 shift we were searching hard for things to do.

We had even finished cleaning out the shed which they said only to do if we had extra time. It seemed we had wiped everything that could be wiped, scrubbed everything to be scrubbed, and picked up all that was lying around.

The employees seemed very grateful to have us around and were very interested in who we were and why we were there. We got a lot of thanks for doing such easy things.

As I was cleaning, I kept thinking to myself what a cool thing NDA Serves is to be a part of. It was so nice to be able to go out with your classmates and help our very own neighborhood.

I felt such a great sense of community while there and was really glad to have helped. It was a great day and I will look forward to it for my next three years at NDA.