Twenty-one Xavier students will be spending winter break in Guatemala to participate in a service trip. They are leaving tomorrow (Feb. 15) and will help build houses, interact with children at a Christian school and bring care packages to the poor.
This is the second year in a row for junior Wes Harris.
"It is a special trip," Harris said. "It sounds super-cliched, but it has changed my outlook on things I experience here in terms of technology, wealth, materials. We have poverty here but nothing like over there. ... it is living out the Christian mission actively, not just sitting back and saying someone else will do it."
The trip lasts a week, but the impact will live on for years, both for the 21 students and for some of the people in that country in Central America.
"First and foremost it's about putting the education to action; it allows students to encounter Christ, and Christ tells us to serve those less fortunate," Religion Teacher and Assistant Director of Campus Ministry John Guinan said. "This is an opportunity for students to bridge the intellectual with the heart and put into action what this education is trying to teach them."
Guinan will be accompanied by Brother John Sullivan, C.F.X., and Science Department Chair David Appplegate.
"On one of the last days we bring care packages to houses we know are being affected by dramatic poverty," Guinan said. "Students' lives are changed; they see it is precisely the poor who are happy, and students constantly ask how are these people so joyful that have nothing."
They get their answers in the faces of the people.
"You see incredible gratitude and graciousness in the people, and students see the simplicity, that the people have nothing but they have the most important things – their family and their faith, and that is the reason for their joy," Guinan said.
Xavier High School is a private, Catholic all-boys school in Middletown, CT, and a Xaverian Brothers Sponsored School.