| Catholic High Schools Information Guide
Sara Doughton's class, Faith in Action, is a new required course for seniors at St. Joseph Notre Dame High School in Alameda with an emphasis on service-learning.
SJND seniors connect faith, service
This year, St. Joseph Notre Dame High School introduces Faith in Action, a new required course for seniors. This course serves as a culminating experience for seniors, bringing together their service, spiritual development and religious education from previous years to find personally meaningful ways to serve their community.
Sara Doughton joined SJND this year to both teach this course and to help teachers weave service-learning into their courses as well. Service-learning has been a transformative part of Doughton's own educational life, introducing her to "different perspectives, social justice, and the power to identify and address racial disparity and economic injustice."
Her senior students are reflecting on where they feel called to serve and learning more about Catholic perspectives on charity and justice. Students are exploring areas of need in the community and each student is undertaking a long-term service project at an organization of their choice based on both community need and their personal passion. Students will identify how to share their work with SJND students and the community at the end of the semester-long course. Doughton's hope is that those whom the students serve "become our teachers."
Doughton loves seeing "when a student gets really excited, discovers something about themselves and then lives that out" and she enjoys "supporting students as they learn how to live an integrated and purposeful life." She hopes that by the end of her class, students will "gain a sense of what their talents are, know the needs of the world and how they can help, find joy in working for the good of their neighbor — and that they will go on to lead lives characterized by service and compassion.
Aaliyah Filos, who is currently in Doughton's class, has determined that her personal passion is in the area of youth support and advocacy. Aaliyah plans to work with DreamCatcher Youth Center, a program that provides a safe and nurturing after-school environment for adolescents who are homeless. "This class is guiding us into a better understanding of society, helping us be more open-minded, and helping us recognize that we need each other," she said. "I chose DreamCatcher because I have passion for people who are my age, who don't have a voice at times." Aaliyah looks forward to sharing her motivation and drive to make the world a better place with the children and young adults at DreamCatcher, and to "continuing the cycle of helping."
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