(The following reflections were written by Hallie Stallings and Lulu Schropp of the class of 2022 at Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart in Bethesda, Maryland.)

Hallie Stallings: The Social Action program at Stone Ridge has had a transformative impact on my life. Led by seniors Becky Felker, Sarah Joseph and Anna Niepold, the Social Action Board (SASAB) plans bi-weekly service days throughout the year. On Social Action Wednesdays (the best days!), the Upper School engages in an educational and fun presentation and then goes out into our community to serve sites. The program builds on itself: freshmen stay on campus to learn the pillars of Catholic Social Teaching from amazing seniors, sophomores visit many sites, and juniors and seniors establish lasting relationships at a single site.

This year, my site was I Support the Girls, a nonprofit that distributes feminine hygiene products and bras to folks in need. We even packed over 24,000 feminine hygiene products for Ukraine! Amid writing thank you notes to donors and counting tampons to be packed, I formed close friendships with my fellow volunteers and was inspired by the organization’s commitment to treat everyone with human dignity. 

To finish off an incredible year of service, SASAB planned the first ever Social Action Symposium. Students first engaged in reflection with their site groups and then had the opportunity to sign up for rotations. These included registering to vote, exploring sustainability with the greenhouse, and listening to others students’ experiences at their sites. I was given the opportunity to share my experience poll working and was so impressed with everyone’s excitement and willingness to get involved! Overall, the day was a great success. 

The Social Action Program is an embodiment of my favorite of Stone Ridges’s goals, Goal III: “a social awareness which impels to action.” From Progress Place with Ms. Key to Felker Feud to the Action Team, I am thankful for the many opportunities Stone Ridge provides for education and action.  I am incredibly grateful to have been a part of such a wonderful program and will truly miss it when I graduate. 

Lulu Schropp: Freshman year, I visited the Father McKenna Center as one of my rotations for Social Action. It was in the middle of their big construction project – which turned out amazing – and because of it, we were unable to physically help in any way. However, we listened to an employee at the Father McKenna Center speak at his 11 o’clock meeting. I took his words to heart. He encouraged us to take care of ourselves and to work on our faith. I did just that. Now, a few years later, I was able to go to the Father McKenna Center for every social action day. 

For me, visiting the Father McKenna Center for the first time happened at the perfect time in my life. As a freshman, I was not at all focused on my faith because I was overwhelmed by high school. The employee’s words grounded me and helped me regain my focus on my faith. In the next couple of years after listening and absorbing his words, I joined Campus Ministry and began to do more volunteering outside of school.

As a senior, I was co-leader of Campus Ministry and continued my volunteer work with organizations other than the Father McKenna Center, while also keeping them close to my heart by running a couple of drives this year with the kindergarten class at Stone Ridge outside of the work I do with the McKenna Center on social action days. 

Without Stone Ridge, I would not have been able to form this relationship with the Father McKenna Center or gotten opportunities to hold leadership positions.

We are both very grateful for the experience and opportunities the Stone Ridge social action program has provided us. We look forward to continuing our work in college and beyond.