Ninth annual New Orleans service trip

Juniors+Ellie+Denson+and+Molly+Carroll+and+sophomores+Avery+Juan%2C+Lucy+Alderson-Smith%2C+Caroline+Geithner%2C+Ali+Danahy%2C+Andrea+Ranzilla+and+Maddy+Devita+spent+a+week+in+New+Orleans+helping+rebuild+a+home+destroyed+during+Hurricane+Katrina.%0ACourtesy+of+Ellie+Denson+%2715

Juniors Ellie Denson and Molly Carroll and sophomores Avery Juan, Lucy Alderson-Smith, Caroline Geithner, Ali Danahy, Andrea Ranzilla and Maddy Devita spent a week in New Orleans helping rebuild a home destroyed during Hurricane Katrina. Courtesy of Ellie Denson ’15

The students help build the home by painting, building baseboards, tiling floors, framing windows and hanging doors. Courtesy of Ellie Denson '15
The students help build the home by painting, building baseboards, tiling floors, framing windows and hanging doors.
Courtesy of Ellie Denson ’15

Service and learning came together as eight Convent of the Sacred Heart Upper School students participated in Sacred Heart’s ninth annual New Orleans service trip January 18 through 25.
The students worked as volunteers for the St. Bernard Project, a nonprofit organization founded in 2006 to rebuild the homes lost during Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
The adult leaders, Mrs. Lori Wilson, Director of Campus Ministry, Upper School Community Service and Summer Enrichment, and Ms. Lindsay Thompson, Physical Education teacher and coach, worked side by side with the students on rebuilding one of the many destroyed homes in New Orleans. Their jobs included painting, building baseboards, framing windows, tiling floors and hanging doors.
“The most rewarding part for me was knowing that I helped build a home for someone who, without the St. Bernard Project, wouldn’t have a home to live in,” sophomore Andrea Ranzilla said. “I was so surprised by how devastated the city still is and very shocked by how many people still do no not have homes.”
Each day after work, the group had the opportunity to learn more about the city of New Orleans and the ongoing effects of Hurricane Katrina. The Sacred Heart students spoke with a resident of the Lower 9th Ward, one of the most devastated areas of the city.
“It’s really organized as service learning. The girls work hard, but then they spend time learning about New Orleans and the effects of the Hurricane,” Mrs. Wilson said. “During the trip they have presenters each week that give a different aspect of the effects of the hurricane.”
One of these presenters included Security Supervisor of the Superdome Ms. Lisa Wharton, which helped house 35,000 New Orleans residents during the hurricane.
While most students on the trip experienced New Orleans for the first time, juniors Ellie Denson and Molly Carroll worked with the St. Bernard Project in 2013. Ellie and Molly decided to return for a second year after seeing the challenges that New Orleans continues to
Juniors Ellie Denson and Molly Carroll and sophomores Avery Juan, Lucy Alderson-Smith, Caroline Geithner, Ali Danahy, Andrea Ranzilla and Maddy Devita spent a week in New Orleans helping rebuild a home destroyed during Hurricane Katrina.  Courtesy of Ellie Denson '15
Juniors Ellie Denson and Molly Carroll and sophomores Avery Juan, Lucy Alderson-Smith, Caroline Geithner, Ali Danahy, Andrea Ranzilla and Maddy Devita spent a week in New Orleans helping rebuild a home destroyed during Hurricane Katrina.
Courtesy of Ellie Denson ’15

face.
“I decided to go back to New Orleans a second time because I truly fell in love with the people and the city on the trip last year,” Ellie said. “I had made a promise to myself that I would continue my work no matter what. I wanted to be a part of the trip again and to have that feeling that I truly helped someone.”
Inspired by last year’s trip, Ellie and Molly also decided to form the Katrina Krewe, an Upper School club intended to spread awareness and raise money for the St. Bernard Project. The club members organized a pizza lunch earlier this year, which raised over $400.
“The purpose of the Katrina Krewe club is to spread awareness of the situation in New Orleans to the Upper School. We also organize fundraisers to raise as much money for the St. Bernard Project as possible,” Ellie said. “We really want to make sure the Upper School and our community is aware of the situation in New Orleans because the city won’t change if people do not continue help.”
– Anna Phillips, Co-Features Editor