Gonzaga Preparatory School

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Member Blog

In this blog we, the Alumni Service Corps volunteers, hope to share with you our reflections and experiences that come along with this year of service. Check back often to read about a week in the life of ASC volunteer Hailey, Jack, or Liam. 

Introducing this year's volunteers

Sept. 5, 2019

 

We're kicking off this year's Alumni Service Corps volunteer blog with some introductions. Read on for the 4-1-1 on each of us:

 

Liam McKeegan Liam

What I studied: History; Minors in Philosophy, Classics, and Political Science

Where I’ll be at Prep: Freshman Seminar and Athletics

 

A classic middle child (the third of six siblings), I was born in Phoenix, Arizona and raised in McMinnville, Oregon. Growing up, I ran cross country and track, sang in my high school choirs, and worked as a youth group leader in my local parish. While attending Gonzaga University, where I studied history, I had the incredible opportunity to study abroad, both at Oxford and at Gonzaga-in-Florence. I also started a club sport: the Gonzaga Hurling Team (which is an ancient Irish sport that is still played there today, while schools and clubs form across the USA; it resembles lacrosse, field hockey, and soccer rolled into 1). I love to fish, play golf, and hike. Additionally, I enjoy reading, both books and the news. My favorite book is The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien. Finally, I really enjoy traveling to see new lands, meet new people, and embrace new cultures.

 

I am thrilled to be an Alumni Service Corps Volunteer; the Jesuit model of educating the whole person—body, mind, and spirit—is a great inspiration for me. I can’t wait to get involved in the Gonzaga Preparatory mission to develop lifelong learners for others, to help wherever I can, and to learn and grow along the way.

 

Hailey Maher Hailey

What I studied: English and Italian Studies; Minors in History and Religious Studies

Where I’ll be at Prep: Freshman Seminar and Campus Ministry

 

A classic oldest child (the proud eldest sister of two brothers and two sisters), I was born in Federal Way, Washington and raised in both Gig Harbor, Washington and Edgewood, Washington. Growing up, I played almost every sport but played none of them particularly well. I notoriously forgot to run after making my first hit in softball, and I scored my first basketball layup in the other team’s basket, to name just a few of my sporting snafus. But, when I was in high school at Bellarmine Prep, a fellow Jesuit school in Tacoma, Washington, I rose to athletic glory playing C-Team basketball my senior year. My ten freshmen teammates and I enjoyed an epic season of hoops and finished with a record of 0-13. Fondly known as the “Bad News Lions,” many called us the worst team in Bellarmine’s school history. Off the court, I fared a bit better in my high school activities: I acted and stage managed for the theater department and spent four years on ASB. In the summers, I served as a volunteer at L’Arche Tahoma Hope Farm. 

 

I’ve always loved to read, so when I arrived at Gonzaga University, I was thrilled to be able to pursue my passion for literature and writing by studying English. I served as an RA and worked in the Office of Mission and Ministry as the Student Assistant for Faith and Justice. My Junior Year, I hopped on a flight and set off to spend eight months in Florence, Italy where I lived with a lovely Italian host family and developed a deep appreciation for the richness of Italian language and culture. A few fun facts about me: 1) My favorite author is Ray Bradbury, and I once took a pilgrimage to his home in LA. 2) I spend my summers kayaking, cooking, and adventuring with middle and high schoolers at a summer camp called Camp Gallagher on the South Puget Sound. 3) My favorite fish is tuna. 

 

I am so excited to serve as an Alumni Service Corps Volunteer this year. Without a doubt, my Jesuit education has shaped the best parts of who I am today, and I am abundantly grateful for it. It is this gratitude for the mission of Jesuit education which sparked my desire to fulfill a year of service at Prep, and I look forward to continuing to learn and grow as I serve in this incredible community. 

 

Jack Kiesewetter Jack

What I studied: Biology; Minors in Catholic Studies and Philosophy

Where I’ll be at Prep: Academic Success Center, Learning Resource Center, and Advancement 

 

A classic youngest child (the second of two brothers), I was born and raised in Eugene, Oregon (A.K.A. TrackTown, USA / Home of the University of Oregon Ducks). Growing up, I was involved in a variety of activities, including but not limited to the following: participating, but not excelling, in a variety of sports, playing a multitude of instruments, participating in school retreats, and pestering my older brother. I graduated from Marist Catholic High School, where I continued to participate, but not excel, in cross country and track and field, played violin in our strings orchestra, led and attended a myriad of retreats, and shot trap, skeet, and sporting clays (competitive shotgun sports). While at Gonzaga University, I continued to be involved with attending and leading retreats, furthered my knowledge of Biology, Catholic Studies, and Philosophy, all while studying here in Spokane as well as spending a semester abroad in Florence, Italy. A few fun facts about me: 1) I don’t believe in favorite colors. 2) I have Smokey Bear license plates. 3) My favorite fish is salmon.

 

I am delighted to serve the Gonzaga Prep community as an Alumni Service Corps Volunteer. To participate in a Mission based on the development of the whole person, for and with others is both an honor and privilege.

A Reflective Beginning: Shopping at Goodwill and Retreating to Sandpoint

September 15, 2019
Written by Hailey Maher

 

Community. Spirituality. Hospitality. Sustainability.

 

Jack, Liam, and I scoured the aisles of Goodwill looking for art to fill our new home. We hoped that each piece would embody one of these words, the pillars of our Alumni Service Corps program.

 

We finally decided upon some unique pieces which we knew would add some spunk to our new home, Manresa, the beautiful house we are lucky to call ours for this year of service. For hospitality, we chose some charming Winnie the Pooh drawings and quotes. For spirituality, we selected a painting of a fisherman wading into a river situated above the quote “He leads us through troubled waters.” For Sustainability, we snagged a breathtaking photo of the Columbia River Gorge. And for Community, we bought a slightly bizarre, obviously homemade piece of wood painted with this quote: “Though one is easily defeated two can protect one another A cord of three stands is not easily broken.” Though the painted saying has no punctuation (other than the period at the end) and though it doesn’t make much sense, or precisely because it doesn’t make much sense, we were immediately drawn to it. It was weird. It was unique. It was perfect for the three of us. And it has become a focal point of conversation on our dining-room wall.

 

But though these physical manifestations of the pillars were prominently displayed in our home, it took us awhile to really delve into these words: community, spirituality, hospitality, and sustainability. We had to let them marinate for a bit in our heads and hearts before we decided what they meant to us and how they would motivate our service together this year.

 

And before we could share our ideas with one another, we had to get away, to give our souls a bit of elbow room, to allow our thoughts to flow out, and to discuss who and how we wanted to serve during our time at Prep. Our opening retreat in Sandpoint, Idaho was the perfect space to dig into these kind of conversations.

 

Our week leading up to the retreat had been full: moving in, buying our art, getting to know one another. We attended the faculty and staff in-service day discussing the Universal Apostolic Preference “Walking with Our Youth.” We worked at freshman orientation and chaperoned the freshman dance.

 

When Liz, our supervisor in the ASC program, knocked on our door to pick us up for our retreat, we were excited for a bit of a change of pace. Driving to Idaho, we listened to the Dixie Chicks and shared highlights of our week. We were met in Sandpoint by friends of Liz who welcomed us with warm croissants and fresh fruit. The rest of our day was firmly situated in the Ignatian ideal of cura personalis: care for the whole person, mind, body, and spirit. We hiked, swam, prayed, laughed, ate, and told stories, all the while discussing how to best support one another in our community. We shared how we viewed the intersections between work and life. We contemplated balance. We interrogated the meaning of the pillars and how we would live them out. And, perhaps most importantly, we spent intentional time asking one another, “Why are you here?”

 

And we listened, really listened, to each other’s answers.

 

On the drive home from Sandpoint, with the awe-inspiring sunset transforming the sky into a pastel dreamscape, I reflected on our day. Jack, Liam, and I are wildly different people. We have different passions, life goals, and quirks. But we are all here this year for a similar reason: we are here to serve. We are here to walk with kids on their high school journeys and to do jobs that need to be done. We are here to work hard, to learn, to grow, and to build relationships.

 

In a way, we will spend the rest of the year roaming the metaphorical aisles of Goodwill, searching for meaning, seeking out out ways to live out our pillars. But every step of our journey, I know that our desire to serve as people for and with others, grateful for our a Jesuit education, will serve as our strong, uniting foundation,

 

We can’t wait to see what our year as volunteers will hold. Stay tuned for more details of our adventures this year!

Faculty Day of Service

October 10, 2019
Written by Liam McKeegan


On October 7th, the students of Gonzaga Prep slept in---they didn’t have class. While they slept, the faculty and staff took the day to give back to the community and to discuss how to better incorporate service into the mission and actions of the school. It was a great day---we laughed, we prayed, we reflected, and we served. It is days like these that make it clear why Gonzaga Prep is such a special place: the faculty and staff are not here merely to transmute facts and analysis to students but to create a culture and community dedicated to the Jesuit Universal Apostolic Preferences of ‘Journeying with the Young,’ ‘Walking with the Excluded,’ ‘Caring for our Common Home,’ and ‘Showing the Way to God.’ Importantly, the school is not blindly throwing these terms at the students, but leading by example, by going out into the community to do good.


The day began with Mass, which was a great way to get going on a Monday, as it is quiet and prayerful. After this, we enjoyed a breakfast together before breaking up into teams to go serve in the greater Spokane community. I went with several others to Food for All, which helps source local produce and donate or sell it for others, and provide housing and gardening opportunities to those in need. We moved soil, turned compost, pulled weeds, cleaned greenhouses, and had a great time. It was such a good change of pace to spend the day outside, working hard. Luckily the weather was nice! I really enjoy gardening and out-door work so it was a perfect way for me to help serve the community. After a few hours, we returned to campus for lunch and an inspiring talk by a representative from Second Harvest, a food distribution and help center. Finally, around our tables, we discussed our day of service and how we could use our experience that day to be better servant leaders as a school.


All in all, it was a great day. Around the community, Gonzaga Prep sent out its faculty and staff to live out the mission they teach in the classroom, and I am so grateful to be a part of the Gonzaga Prep community and mission. I look forward to seeing this mission and call to service flourish throughout the year.