Tell our readers what your Arrupe Project is about?
The Arrupe Project is named after Pedro Arrupe, S.J who was considered the “Second Founder” of a group of Catholics known as the Society of Jesus, or Jesuits. In 1975, Father Arrupe was instrumental in establishing one of the major teachings of the Jesuits; that a Jesuit education should be designed around action and that it should result in creating “men and women for others”. This project is meant to be a pay-it-forward type of project, with the desire for us, as students of Saint Francis Xavier, to find our own individual ways to be “men and women for others.” It is part of our Jesuit mission to promote social justice and complete service in faith. This year and last I chose Homeward Bound, Phoenix as the beneficiary of my projects.
What different volunteer activities have you participated in?
I enjoy all kinds of volunteer activities. I am deeply active in my school’s volunteer opportunities, as well as helping out in my community by simple things such as volunteering at my old grade school, and helping fundraise for causes that touch me personally, like Homeward Bound. My parents have always taught us that to be successful members of society and to build a great society, we must each find our individual way to give back to the greater good, whether that is with our time, our talent, or our treasure. I try to find the right mix through my volunteer activities.
You are a swimmer, how long have you been swimming?
I have been a competitive swimmer for the Phoenix Swim Club for nine years now. I started when I was in Kindergarten.
What event do you excel in? (For example: relay, breast stroke, etc)
For years now I have been considered a pretty good breaststroker, but I am now seeing success in freestyle and backstroke as well. I am sure part of it is the physical growth I have experienced in the last year or so.
How did you feel to be given the Christian Service Award?
The Christian Service Award is an amazing opportunity for me. I am honored to have received it and am humbled by the Catholic Community Foundation’s faith in me and my projects, and for granting me one of the awards. The process alone was a huge opportunity for growth for me: seeking out volunteer opportunities to make a difference in the community, completing the hours of volunteer time, and eventually interviewing for the award. I would not give up the experience of moving through that process for anything in the world. I also know that this award has reminded me how important volunteerism is within our community, that anyone at any age can make a difference, and so has only made my dedication to trying to give back even stronger.
What is this award going to do for you?
With the award comes a financial reward that is sent to the Catholic High School of your choice and put toward your tuition for your four years of high school. By covering some of the costs of tuition, it will allow my family and I to give back even more to the community. In addition, it opens opportunities for me within the Catholic Community Foundation for additional volunteerism. Also, the additional value of this award to me is actually in the validation of the importance of volunteering and giving back to the community – it is the pat on the back that keeps you going, telling you that you are doing the right thing. I look forward to finding new and innovative ways to give back during my high school years and beyond.
What high school will you be going to?
At this point in time I am not sure. I have applied to Brophy College Prep, and would like to go there as my first choice.
Do you plan on swimming in high school?
My goal has been to swim in high school, if given the opportunity. I have watched friends and club teammates take great pride in competing not only for their swim clubs, but also for their high school teams. I would love that same opportunity. I enjoy the sport immensely, and would actually like to swim in college and beyond, if I can continue to find a way to excel.
What do you want to be when you ‘grow up’?
I am not completely sure, but I think that I would like to be an architect, or some type of architectural engineer. Anyone that knows me knows that while I am not the most artistic of people, I am simply fascinated by the process of building and creating something from someone’s imagination, and then seeing it come to life.