One student who goes above and beyond in service is Kate Zientarski. In sophomore year alone she accumulated 135 service hours! Zientarski is a junior at Marquette and loves to volunteer. She volunteers at Reins of Life because she is passionate about horses and children, and Reins has both! Reins of Life offers horseback riding lessons as therapy for people with disabilities, regardless of age.
Zientarski was first invited by her teacher for a few service hours helping out at Reins of Life.
Zientarski said, “It has been one of the best decisions I’ve made so far.”
Zientarski has two lessons each week with two girls whom she helps ride two different horses. Jag who “has a lot of personality and always makes life more interesting for us,” and Chocolate who “is the biggest horse I have ever been near.”
She loves working with the horses and the girls receiving lessons. Sometimes, Reins of Life can be the highlight of their day, and Zientarski is proud to be a part of that. In addition to Chocolate and Jag, she has two horses of her own at home, Sampson and Penny, for whom she has full responsibility to ride, train, and care.
“Helping others helps make you a better, more understanding person, and the world could always use more of those. Service is, essentially, going out of your way to help the communities around you," said Zientarski about volunteering.
Mrs. Kathleen Beeler is a teacher who stresses service in her classroom. Mrs. Beeler has been a teacher for 22 years, and has spent six of those at Marquette. Her passion has always been to be a teacher due to the patience of those who worked with her at a younger age.
“I was not the easiest of people to teach, so I wanted to be able to help those who struggle, like my teachers had helped me,” said Beeler.
Mrs. Beeler loves to teach for many reasons. One is that everyday is different and has different opportunities, and her second reason is for the ability to guide students.
“I love my students, and I love when they go on to follow their passion,” said Beeler.
She teaches Revelation of Jesus Christ and the Christian Lifestyles theology classes. In her classes, Mrs. Beeler stresses the importance of service. She was lucky enough to have great parents who instilled in her the importance of serving others growing up.
Now, she says, “Serving others is what we are called to do as humans. Human dignity is for all, and when we serve others, we see that we are all the same. Some of us were just lucky to be born into the lives we were born into.”
In addition to teaching, Mrs. Beeler also leads two types of retreats: the service retreats in Chicago and Kairos.
"Kairos is a retreat that helps individuals grow in their relationships and helps them to see God in themselves and others,” said Beeler.
Both retreats are popular and have many students attending them. She thinks that it is great when kids get out of the classroom, into real-life settings, and watch the growth and learning take place.
What Recently Happened?
Part of Marquette’s mission is to have their students, “become exceptional and, ultimately, change the world.” One way the students change the world is by serving others. In the past month, Marquette has held two service retreats at their retreat center in Chicago. Students who participated in these three-day retreats had the opportunity to serve the homeless who live under many of Chicago’s bridges and viaducts.
Sophia Nolan, a junior, went on one of the service retreats. She said, “My favorite part about the trip was making the lunches and packing the bags for the homeless and then giving it to them. They were all so thankful for the fresh lunches and all the supplies in the bags. I’ve learned to be more thankful for the things that I have.”
The retreat has had a huge impact on those who have gone on it.
Johnny Roder, a senior, went on the service retreat also. He, like Sophia, had a great time.
“If I was given the opportunity, I would most certainly go again. It is always a good feeling when you help others out.”
Those students who volunteer over 200 hours of their time at Marquette are awarded a service cord at graduation. Every year students who complete 100+ hours are awarded the Presidential Service award. Students at Marquette are required to volunteer for 25 hours each school year, but many go above and beyond this requirement.
What’s Coming Up?
You don’t have to go to Chicago to find those in need. Many students already volunteer and help those in need locally. There are many service opportunities available at Marquette, such as volunteering at Sharing Meadows. Sharing Meadows is a community for the other-abled ran by The SHARE Foundation. Many of the students at Marquette have the opportunity to volunteer at Sharing Meadows every Friday during the school year.
Brandon Spangler, a junior, volunteers regularly at Sharing Meadows.
He said, “Sharing Meadows never gets boring. I feel like when I’m with the villagers, I’m a new person. I learn something about life every time I go.”
Laura Bahena also volunteers at Sharing Meadows.
She said, “I enjoy Sharing Meadows because you get to interact with the people more. I made a friend named Laura, just like me! She is one of the sweetest and funniest people I’ve ever met. I like going because I get to make new relationships with people who are so sweet.”
There will be two more service retreats held in January and April of 2018. Students are already planning on attending them so that they have the opportunity to serve others, especially during the winter. Serving others is important to Marquette. As it says in 1 Peter, “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.”