Exhibitions to animal shelter: seniors engage in greater community action

Seniors are finding themselves in activities as varied as attending live performances and exploring the many facets of the Bay Area as part of a theology community engagement project.

Theology teacher Rachel Bundang requires her Justice: Theory and Society students to attend a community event once a semester and reflect on the experience as a part of the class’ social justice curriculum.

“In many cases, it is easy for students to stay in a bubble,” Bundang said. “If it is an assignment where you have to mix and mingle, then that pops the bubble at least a little bit.”

Senior Izzy Pontecorvo visited an exhibition put on by the GLBT Historical Society in the Castro district.

“There was a lot of stuff I didn’t know in there,” Pontecorvo said. “I usually just go to the Castro Theatre, so it was nice to see a different part [of the district].”

By walking through galleries, Pontecorvo says she realised how times have changed in San Francisco for the LGBT community, and especially how hard it was to convey one’s sexuality in the 1960s.

“I learned a lot more about San Francisco, which really emphasized how lucky we are today,” Pontecorvo said. “If I were to come out as gay or bisexual, it would be easier. Back then it was hard.”

“To see what others are exposed to is really important.”

Caroline Salveson

Community engagement activities vary from senior to senior. Caroline Salveson participates in Youth Speaks, an organization that gives young adults a voice to talk about what is important to them through poetry slams. Salveson says she has gained an outlook on many other high schoolers’ experiences.

“It is just such an abnormal thing to be at a place like Convent,” Salveson said. “To see what other people in the world and San Francisco are exposed to is really important.”

Bundang says she created the project, which is in its second year, to ensure students would not miss an opportunity to expand their horizons and gain different perspectives.

“The senior boys in theology have actual internships they are required to do as part of their class,” Bundang said. “We are not yet structured for anything in that vein, so my way of trying to work around it was to encourage students to go out and participate in the community.”

This project continues the path to achieving Goal 3 of the Goals and Criteria, “Schools of the Sacred Heart commit themselves to educate to a social awareness which impels to action,” according to Bundang.

“We’re learning to be able to have better perspectives to create a bigger sense of community,” Salveson said. “It has reminded me to keep others in mind when I do things.”

The outings give an authentic experience to the topics discussed in class, allowing students to bring back questions and put them into context with different concepts of social justice teaching.

“Students seem to have responded to it pretty well,” Bundang said. “I am hoping that continues in whatever way the community engagement goes forward.”