Answering the Call

Answering the Call
Debbie Higgins

De Smet Jesuit students and teachers moved their annual mission trip to Puerto Rico in 2018 from late winter to late November in response to a call from our Jesuit brothers at Colegio San Ignacio. The school and its surrounding communities were devastated by Hurricane Maria, and the need for help repairing damaged structures, cleaning up debris, and distributing food and supplies was great. Faculty members John Hawkey and Ken Luecke led a team of seniors Joseph Baxendale, Andrew Ficken, Brendan Fitzgerald, Daniel Hennon, Mitchell Meyer, Hunter Schoenig, Jeremy Selkirk, and Adam Solomon to Puerto Rico for a 10-day trip. They were hosted by Colegio San Ignacio families. During their stay, the Spartans completed the following tasks:

-delivering hundreds of shoes and supplies (donated by the DSJ community) in Humacao

-volunteering at a meal distribution center

-repairing rooftops

-cleaning up homes, the campus and buildings at Colegio San Ignacio

-replanting trees in Magrove Forest

-attending classes at Colegio San Ignacio

-playing with local children

Students wrote blog posts to chronicle their experiences. “This was a once in a lifetime experience that really made me feel lucky to not have to worry about many of the things that I take for granted,” wrote Andrew Ficken. Joseph Baxendale shared, “Seeing the impact that we were making on the community was probably the most humbling experience I've ever had, and it makes me want to do more service work like this in the near future.”

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