Throughout this school year small groups of eighth graders at St. Justin Martyr School teamed up to support a worthwhile cause or meet a special need. Each team worked together to plan, publicize and carry out their projects. There has been a special service-learning project each month.
This year teams sent support to Hurricane Harvey victims, delivered plush animals to assisted-living patients, and as this school year began, there was a very special plan to honor the unborn.
Last year, the eighth-grade class went on a retreat with Deacon Jose of SJM Parish. While touring the parish, Deacon Jose pointed out a small plaque in a remote spot that was hardly seen and not taken care of. Since the school year was almost over, it was decided that the project would carry over to the next eighth-grade class. The students connected with the Knights of Columbus at SJM Parish to move the gravestone.
The students appealed to their America on Track Physical Education Program to supply the tools and gardening supplies. A circle of flowers now surrounds the stone that honors the memory of unborn children. The stone reads, “In loving memory of God’s unborn children. K of C Council 5042.” As the garden was completed, the Knights of Columbus and their wives, parishioners and the eighth-grade team gathered to pray and see the fruits of this loving project. Next, the project team will contact their pastor for a dedication of their special garden project. Each month the eighth graders visit the garden and pray a decade of the rosary.
Summer is coming. The students made arrangements for the weekly gardening staff to care for the garden in their absence. A marker will be placed in the garden to recognize this eighth-grade gift to the parish. The memorial garden will now pass to the future eighth-grade classes.
In this project the students learned that they could make a positive lasting difference. Through service learning they take charge and make something wonderful happen.