“Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these, who are members of my family, you did it to me.” (Mt. 25:40)
Our Lady of Lourdes Academy embraces this call of Jesus wholeheartedly. Learning theology is not the same as living one’s faith. It is necessary to do both. The school’s theology classes will help students do the first; the school’s service learning requirements will help students begin the second. It is the school’s hope the Service Learning Program will lay the foundation of a life-long commitment of serving others in the name of Jesus and encountering Jesus in all people.
Christian service can be defined as that which takes one beyond a narrow concern for oneself and moves one to promote the common good and to uphold the human dignity of every person. Although random acts of kindness and concern are meaningful ways of putting the spiritual and corporal works of mercy into practice (and should always be part of a response to Gospel values), service learning goes to another level. Service learning is a form of experiential education, where learning occurs through a cycle of action and reflection, as students seek to achieve real objectives for the community and deeper understanding and skills for themselves. In the process, students link personal and social development with academic and cognitive development. Experience enhances understanding; understanding leads to more effective action.
The emphasis of the school’s Service Learning Program is on community—actively responding to the identified needs of the community. As a school, we understand that observing the needs of our community, utilizing our faith to make moral judgments and putting it into action allows us to learn about God, ourselves and our world. This knowledge and self-awareness helps us to commit ourselves to being Christ’s presence in our world, working toward a more just and peaceful society.
The mission of Our Lady of Lourdes Academy is “to educate young women, to face the future, strengthened by their faith, prepared and confident in their abilities to achieve their goals, and committed to their Catholic and American heritages.” Knowledgeable, confident and faith-filled women are essential to the world, so true to the school’s mission, young women must know their world and be committed to deliberate Christian action.
As a Catholic school, Our Lady of Lourdes Academy strives to educate the whole person.
The school works to inform each student’s mind, to ask the hard questions and to seek the truth and underlying problems that will empower each to seek justice and peace. The goal is to form each student’s heart to be like Christ’s heart, and transform her hands so that they are forever committed to deliberate, Christian action. This holistic approach empowers the young women of Lourdes Academy to make a positive impact in the community, committed to both charity and justice.
At Our Lady of Lourdes Academy, the goal of the Service Learning Program is to deepen a culture of deliberate Christian action and to instill in the school community a commitment to life-long service. Through the collaboration of the Service Learning Program with various academic disciplines, clubs and sports teams, the goal is that this cycle of learning, acting and reflecting, along with a firm commitment to both charity and justice, becomes part of the character of a student of Lourdes Academy, no matter where she goes in life or what career path she chooses.
Graduation Requirement: Students need a total of 100 service hours to graduate from Our Lady of Lourdes Academy. The breakdown of these hours is as follows: 2o hours each, in grades 9 and 10; 30 hours each, in grades 11 and 12.
Service Learning Student Web Site: Students will create a Service Learning Student Web site, the purpose of which is three-fold: (1) to log hours, submit service verification forms electronically, and display a description of the service, along with pictures, video and other media; (2) to create a positive digital footprint; and (3) to be utilized by students as they apply for colleges, internships and scholarships.
Theological Reflection Essay: Students will be expected to complete a Theological Reflection Essay assigned by their Theology teacher, on the impact their service experience had on them and on the community/individuals they helped. Students will utilize the teachings of the Theology course curriculum to reflect on their service.
Junior Plunge: As part of the school’s theology curriculum, the Plunge experience is a day for students studying Ethics & Morality and Social Justice to be immersed in the needs of Miami-Dade County. As a class, students will tour the facilities of some of the leading non-profit organizations in the county and be involved in directly serving those members of the local community.
Research and Writing: Each year in English class, students will research and write about the needs of the community they are currently serving, as they work to fulfill their service hour requirements.
Lourdes Athletes Community Enrichment (LACE): In an effort to build community with each other and those with special needs in the community, each sports team at Our Lady of Lourdes Academy is afforded the opportunity to do service together. The goal is to “LACE up and make a difference!”
Quarterly Service Learning Events: Each quarter, students are informed of different service learning opportunities, that allow them to serve the community together.