The following was written by AHA Senior Anthony Phan '17 as a trimester-end project in his Campus Ministry team Service Learning course.
If you walk into the library of Blessed Trinity Catholic School on certain days after school, you might see me, a student from the Academy of Holy Angels, mixed in with fifteen or so BT students. When I walk through the library entrance, the homework room monitor looks up from her computer, smiles, and greets me with a friendly,“Good Afternoon.” Then I look to my right and pick up the list of students I will be tutoring for the next half hour. I scan the room of five wooden tables surrounded by 3 walls of books.
I call out the name or names of students I will be helping. Then I gather them around a table and make some small talk, like “how was your day?” and “Anything exciting going on?” After that, we start learning. I almost always help with spelling words. Sometimes I help them fill out packets for science, reading, or social studies. When I help a student finish something, I remind them to check it off the list of things their teachers want them to get done. After thirty minutes, I wrap up what we are learning because their parents arrive to pick them up.
This act of service is important to me for two reasons. I do volunteer service because I participate in AHA's Campus Ministry Team (CMT). Through my service, I am able to create and strengthen connections between Holy Angels and Blessed Trinity. This service is also important to me because I am helping these students with their academic challenges. “To help others and ourselves succeed” is one of the four pillars of the AHA Way. Serving at BT is my personal way of living out this point of the AHA Way.
My service has granted me the opportunity to compare my academic style with the students that I tutor. I have learned that these students are all intelligent in their own ways, but some of them simply lack the motivation to get things done. Maybe it’s not given at home. Maybe it’s not given enough at school. Whatever the case, when I come to tutor, I try to encourage them to learn at their full academic potential and remind them that they are all capable of success.
“The mission of the Academy of Holy Angels is to educate and nurture a diverse student population so that each student, as a whole person, may achieve full potential to excel intellectually, to live spiritually, to lead responsibly, to act justly, and to serve selflessly.” Tutoring struggling students at BT is how I serve selflessly. To continue serving selflessly, I must feel like my work is creating an impact. The volunteering I do is meaningful to me because I feel like I am fulfilling a genuine need in my community. Being a part of how these students learn also reminds me to be thankful for the education I am receiving at the Academy of Holy Angels.