success stories

Posted August 29, 2003

Success Story in Faith and Education

Archbishop Hoban High School
Stresses Christian Service Outreach

by Brother Joseph LeBon, C.S.C

Holy Cross Brothers call themselves Educators in the Faith, and Christian service in Holy Cross schools is integral to that mission. Students at Archbishop Hoban High School in Akron, Ohio, provide a vivid example. Each of them completes a Christian service project as a part of the curriculum requirements.

Brother Kenneth Haders, C.S.C. , school president, explained the philosophical basis for the service expectation made of all students. “It is scripturally based,” he said. “It conforms to the call to justice found in Matthew’s gospel, and it is central to the mission of Holy Cross. The two mission priorities of the congregation are education in the Faith and a prophetic option for the poor. We are called to direct service to the vulnerable and oppressed.”

By “direct service” Brother Kenneth was referring to the fact that Hoban students must come in face-to-face contact with the people being served — at nursing homes, at battered women’s shelters, at soup kitchens, at agencies providing services for the handicapped — wherever people are in need. Service projects are not approved unless this direct personal contact is made.

As a junior, Tod Coudriet tutored Bosnian and Mexican middle school students. “ I worked with Oscar, Roberto, Juan and Sergio,” he wrote in his essay. “We would talk and I helped them with their speaking skills as well as their ‘people skills.’ I believe I was a visible sign of God’s love through my service.”

Hoban’s mission statement spells out the call to reach out in service and to accept community responsibility. “Christian service is not just volunteering,” Brother Kenneth said. “The call to Christianity is a call to action. The reason service projects are required on all grade levels at Hoban is because we hope it will become part of the student’s life — not just something you do when you are a senior.”

Mary Cafarelli, who worked with preschool children with disabilities when she was a junior, believes service is part of her Christian call. “Matthew 25 and John 13 are gospel passages about not being foolish or lazy when it comes to serving the Lord,” she said. “Too many people are so self-involved that they don’t have time in their lives to stop and listen to God. When you serve others, you are also serving God and He will reward you.” Hoban’s commitment to the community extends beyond service projects; it is a commitment to the neighborhood and to the Akron community. Hoban’s board of trustees made a conscious decision in the 1990's to stay in the school’s inner-city neighborhood and to commit to its long-range improvement. Brother Kenneth and various members of the Hoban board have worked with the East Akron Community House to help plan the revitalization of the neighborhood and get rid of drug houses. Hoban hosted the JAM 2000 and JAM 2001 summer ministries, in which high school students work, study and pray in a four-day, round-the-clock program in service to the poorer neighborhoods of Akron.