One of the great things about Montrose is that while we are academically rigorous, we still take time to slow down our busy schedules and put our faith into practice through service. On Friday, January 18, the entire Montrose community came together to service various charities and organizations such as Dignity Matters, Room To Grow, and Thomas Upham House. We also heard inspiring speakers who reminded us that our service makes a difference. The speakers helped tie the day together and made our work meaningful and inspiring.
The morning began with speaker Kelsey Bradley, who shared her story of generosity and dedication to a cause. Kelsey told us how she went from an average high school student to building classrooms in Malawi. She explained how she found a fulfilling way to put her architect skills into practice through her charity, Design Cause. After visiting villages in Africa and seeing the tiny, cramped schools without even so much as a roof above it, Kelsey knew that she needed to help build a new one. Kelsey explained how difficult it was to get her idea off the ground and how just when she thought of giving up, her luck began to change and she started making real strides toward her goal. She was determined to let nothing stand between her and serving others.
Kelsey Bradley’s talk taught us that if we believe in something, we shouldn’t give up, even if no one supports us. She taught us that things like food, clothes, and our education should not be taken for granted, because we are blessed to have these opportunities. Most of all, she demonstrated us that you can never be too young to make a meaningful difference in people’s lives. As one Montrose student added, “My favorite part of the all-school Day of Service was that the work we did was a glimpse of the work done by our speakers.” Kelsey certainly showed us how we can use the service we learn at Montrose to make meaningful change.
The day continued with our class service projects. Each grade worked together to help an assigned charity. When asked about her favorite part of the day, one seventh grader said, “My favorite part of the day by far was definitely making cards for the residents of Thomas Upham. Card making in general is pretty cool, and the thought of how residents might feel looking at these cards made it ten times better.” Another student added, “I really liked making valentines for Thomas Upham House, because our seventh grade class was all working together and it felt really good to make them as a class and we even got to personalize them and feel like we were making a difference.” One student also said, “I honestly liked EVERY second of service day!” Working together fostered class unity and gave students the opportunity to get to know girls in other grade.
After the class projects, the whole schools came together in their Big and Little Sister pairs to sort supplies for Dignity Matters. Nina Polansky ‘23 commented, “The all-school service was my favorite because the entire school was in one place working together to help those in need”. It was a moment of unity among all grades and a bonding experience for the whole school.
Towards the end of the day, students came together to reflect on the importance of the work they had done. Pausing to reflect made the experience more enriching and reminded us why we serve.
To wrap up the day, we heard an incredibly moving speech from a Montrose alum, Molly Cahill ‘16. Molly, now a junior at Boston College, told us about her service trip to the American-Mexican border. Molly was so excited to return to Montrose and experience Service Day for the first time. She commented, “I was so glad I got to come back and see this new Montrose tradition for myself. I so wish it had been something we had done when I was a student! I hope that the story of my experience will get girls thinking about how they can challenge themselves to learn more about the world and grow in compassion.” In her speech, she told us how seeing people her age and younger who have nothing changed the way she looked at the world and herself. Molly emphasized that even though she couldn’t relate to the circumstances these people were going through, she could relate to them on some level. Although Molly may not have monumentally changed the whole world, the trip opened her eyes up to a world of people in need. Because of this, her desire to serve grew. Montrose students were touched by her speech, one commenting “I hadn’t met Molly before, but as I heard her speak, it felt like I’d known her forever. Molly explained her close bond with Nora, and I couldn’t help but think how much the two of them are going to do for the world in their futures. Talk about making a difference.”
Montrose’s second annual Day of Service was a huge success, bringing the community together and putting into practice the Montrose virtues of Caritas, Veritas, and Libertas. This is a unique experience that doesn’t happen in many schools. One student added, “I would tell my friends from other schools, ‘Oh yeah, we had all school service day on Friday,’ and they would all respond and say ‘What’s that?’ It’s so unique and different that Montrose does this and after I explained the Service Day to them, they would respond something like, ‘Oh that’s so cool!’” The whole day couldn’t have happened without the incredible leadership of Contemplatives In Action leaders Nora Cahill ‘19, Celia Roberto ‘20, and Campbell Dumont ‘20. Montrose students left our Day of Service with a deeper understanding of God’s call to feed the hungry and give drink to the thirsty.