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Many high school seniors are focused on test scores, college selection or their next step as they move into adulthood. But at Roncalli High School, seniors are capping off their high school career focused on something more eternal: the call for social justice and loving our neighbors in need.

They do this through their Senior Capstone Project. While a requirement, it’s become a beloved part of the Roncalli experience. It’s one final reminder that each person has the ability to serve and make a difference.

Starting as freshmen, every Roncalli student must fulfill annual service hours with a local organization. The school has developed many partnerships with local non-profits as they help students plug into the community. SVdP Indy and Roncalli have partnered together for several years now.

The Senior Capstone Project elevates that commitment to the community. Led by theology teachers Laura Williams and Ray Shelburne, this project requires each senior to:

  • Research a non-profit organization that is focused on social justice in some way
  • Interview someone who works for the organization
  • Write a research paper on the good the organization is doing
  • Donate four service hours to that organization

“The goal of the project is to show our seniors how they can do something to positively impact the issue they care about,” says Laura. “Jesus is always calling us to step up for those in need. With this project—and the time spent getting to know the organization and volunteering with it—our students do just that.”

It’s a lesson both teachers hope will stay with students well past their Roncalli days. And seniors like Justin give them encouragement:

“St. Vincent de Paul is the best place to put yourself out of your shoes, learn about others and grow your faith with God and them,” says Justin. “It is a place where you can experience something that you can´t get anywhere else. It is something that I truly love and want to continue serving for the rest of my life.”

Natalie, a fellow Roncalli senior, agrees: “St. Vincent de Paul is an immediate compassion directly tying into faith in action. They face adversity with love, respect and hope—which inspires me. St. Vincent de Paul has enhanced my view on helping those in most need.”

SVdP chosen for capstone projects
SVdP Indy was fortunate to have several seniors choose our organization for their Senior Capstone Project. Because many Roncalli students learned about the organization as they were fulfilling service hours over the previous years, they choose SVdP when it’s time for the project. They enjoyed their time with us and want to come back—and we’re so glad they do.