Students from one Bronx Catholic school have taken on a mission to be the borough’s helpful hands through community service and support this fall — all while juggling an academic semester during a pandemic.
Since September, these adolescents from St. Raymond High School for Boys have been virtually tutoring elementary school students, planting trees and cleaning up parks across the Bronx. Most recently, the students led a massive Thanksgiving food drive for those less fortunate, an act that vice principal Damian Carparelli called “working hard for a greater good.”
It is that work ethic which the VP intends on having his students retain as they go about their growing lives as young adults, saying “my job is to teach them there is more to do here than go to school and then go home.”
So far, he has bestowed such a charitable virtue in many students who have been participating in five recent service trips, which included planting trees in Van Cortlandt Park, raking leaves at Pelham Bay Park and cleaning up Orchard Beach all while social distancing and disinfecting.
While out in Van Cortlandt Park, Carparelli recalled that locals said the St. Raymond students have been the only outreach seen in that area since the pandemic began, which the vice principal called “very rewarding.”
Those acts come in addition to creating a virtual tutoring channel for nearby elementary school students, who used to be helped in person before COVID-19 reared its ugly head. The student also participated in a Thanksgiving canned food drive, which has grown exponentially since its inception.
Carparelli explained that what began as a 300 can donation skyrocketed to a collection of over 11,000 and then 15,000 in November alone, thanks to “all hands on deck” help from both students and faculty at the school.
“It really started to spiral,” he said, adding that these kind of contributions are “where the character lies” and encouraged students, faculty and even parents to act as role models toward one another.
Following Thanksgiving, St. Raymond High School will also be holding a Christmas toy drive in partnership with the 161st Street Merchants Association in the south Bronx.
To become involved in that or any of the school’s community outreach, call 718-824-5050 or visit their website.
Photos courtesy of Saint Raymond High School