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In Flight
Forced Smiles
Happy Oblivion
Ducking Destiny
Chance of Showers
Chance Encounters
The Thinking Dog
The Race
Flight of the Ostrich
Monster Under My Bed
The Rose Garden
Window Shopping
Dramatic Romances
Musings on Nature
A Day at School
The Holy Light
A Rainy Night


The Roller Coaster
The Purse
Sammy's Lesson
The Legend of the Hungry Dragon
Spirits in the Night


My Philosophy of Life
Five Scholarship Questions
Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. DuBois
Prophets for God
My Service Project (1999-2000)
My Service Project (1997-1998)
The Beauty of the Forest
Reaching Beyond

The Pastry Menace
A College Just for You!
The Rights of Plants

Literary Analyses
Saving Harry:  Clearing the Controversy Over Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
Essays on Wuthering Heights
The Creature in Frankenstein and the Self-Fulfilling Prophecy
Edna's Decision in The Awakening
Character Comparison in Kate Chopin's The Awakening
Why The Chosen?

Research Papers
Race, Norms, and the Sidewalk
Analytical Exercise
The Validity of Comparing Governments
The British System: Legal-Rational Or Traditional?
The Importance of Framing
Madison on Factions
Spirituality and the Brain
Sea Water and Conductivity

Clinic Violence: A "Moral" Way to Bring About Change?
Graduation Speech
The Call to Relationship
Mark Twain Speaks Again (original version)
Mark Twain Speaks Again (shortened version)

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
The Year 2000
Hunting for Sport?

Mercury Spill Exercise
Chocolate Feature Exercise
Character Sketch
Reaction Story
Aspiring Actress Profile
"Shark Attack" Exercise
Villa Maria Academy Hosts Diversity Panel

Coastal Vacation

My Service Project (1999-2000)

This year, my service project has been more varied than in previous years. Before, although I volunteered in several different venues, the bulk of my service usually came from one project, or at least one project stood out among the others in my mind. This year, my biggest project was Zoo Lumination, which covered a little more than half of my hours. Although I did not expect this project to be more rewarding than my previous experiences with tutoring and cleaning the house of an elderly woman, it did have its moments, as did my other projects.

The most rewarding moment of my service project this year was at Zoo Lumination, and it was not just one single moment. Rather, the most rewarding moment was actually several moments, scattered over the course of an evening. On that particular night, I was dressed up as one of Santa's elves. The costume, especially the head, was hot and stuffy, and I could not see anything that was not directly in front of me. However, interacting with the children made all the hassle worth it. I waved, gave me big hugs, and posed for pictures with them, and I was rewarded by big smiles. The best interactions were with the shy children. They did not even want to come near me, so I had to pretend to be shy, too, to win their confidence. Whenever they overcame their fear and shook my hand, I was overcome with joy.

The most difficult part of my service project, aside from dealing with the elf costume, was calling alumni for donations during the Villa Phone-a-thon. I do not like to talk on the telephone, especially to people I do not know. Worse, I felt like a telemarketer, the kind of person from whom I know people do not like to receive phone calls. I had steadily worsening knots in my stomach the entire three hours I worked there. Surprisingly, I was able to work despite my nervousness, and I received many donations.

My service project this year taught me several things about myself. First of all, I learned the extent of my aversion to making phone calls, something that might be a serious problem for me in the future. Secondly, I learned from doing EYSA sign-ups that I could be polite and courteous even if I was tired and wished to be somewhere more peaceful, a skill that will probably be very useful to me in the future. Finally, I found that I enjoy working with children, something I learned while working at the craft table at Zoo Lumination.

Since all of my projects involved interacting with other people, I gained several insights into them as well. I realized during the Phone-a-thon that some people do not like to be called and asked for money, but that fact did not really surprise me. I also noticed at EYSA sign-ups that many people believe that there is always an exception to the rules that can be made for them or their child. One woman argued for about fifteen minutes with the area director over letting her daughter play on the same soccer team as her son, who was two years younger. Although the area director made it clear that exceptions could not be made, she refused to give up her cause. On the other hand, at Zoo Lumination I saw the lighter side of parents who were having fun with their kids and enjoying watching them marvel at all the beautiful lights and displays.

As stated earlier, I completed several different service projects this past year, each of which weighs equally in my mind. In past years, I had felt more inspired by one or another of my projects, but this year, each separate project held its own joys, difficulties, and surprises. Although I have participated in some events in the past, such as EYSA sign-ups as a freshman and the St. Jude's church picnic as a sophomore, I took a different approach to those projects this year, trying to uncover new insights in the people with whom I worked and to approach them with a more positive attitude.

Service is an important part of a lifetime of learning. It rounds out the educational experience students receive at Villa. The knowledge gained about the world and other people through service is essential to leading a productive life. Most importantly, service teaches students to model their lives on Jesus and therefore allows them to be truly fulfilled individuals.

Copyright © 2002 Colleen Fischer | Last updated October 7, 2002