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Making good use of a week off: Senior leaves her mark

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As seniors, we tend to think of spring break as our last chance to gather up a group of friends and take an unforgettable trip to an exotic island or somewhere far out of the country. For me, that was not the case.

What I have chosen was by far unforgettable, but I did not take part in relaxing by a warm, sunny beach. I chose this opportunity to become involved in changing the lives of those less fortunate.The Wolfington Center hosts an annual spring break trip that takes students to the Appalachian mountain area of West Virginia, known to us as “Project Appalachia.”

Many people confuse this service trip as “Habitat for Humanity,” but what we have experienced was beyond that. Not only did we have the chance to start rebuilding and refurbishing homes, we were able to see the lives of those affected first-hand and give them a sense of hope that their lives would be changed forever.

A group of 17 students and staff members ventured out to Montgomery, W.Va., to spend five days living at the Montgomery Presbyterian church. Tim Stewart and his wife Joan run the programs for the college students who take part on the immersion trips. The Stewarts take the time out of their day to explore the town and discover those in need of help for a better life.

During our time in West Virginia, we split into two groups working on two work sites. Everyday, each group worked hard to promote a better living for the accommodating families.

It is easy to miss the beauty in the world when we hear about poorer regions, but in our case we saw the beauty within West Virginia. lying beneath the poverty we were exposed to.

Cabrini students in the house they worked on. --gianna shikitino / submitted photos

Before coming into this experience, I did not expect to come across valuable life-learning lessons. I would have to admit that this trip has been the most eye-opening experience I have ever had and a part of me wishes I would have taken the opportunity to attend this trip in my previous years at Cabrini.

Not only did we learn about the lives of those living in West Virginia, but a lot about ourselves as well. Most of us faced our fears, conquering obstacles that we never thought we could. And through it all, we all remained a team.

I have never been surrounded by such amazing and supportive people and the bond that we have made will last through the memories we all shared together.

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  1. Appalachia a hidden world in our country – Arielle Friscia - March 13, 2011

    [...] to read more about the Appalachia Immersion Experience click on the link to The Loquitur website and read Gianna Shikitino’s perspective “Making good use of a week off: Senior [...]