Remembering their nation’s heritage, 10 students from Archbishop Molloy H.S., Briarwood, went on a service trip to Rosebud Reservation, South Dakota.
Volunteering at the Body, Mind & Soul Day Camp, the Queens students learned about the experiences of the Lakota Tribe.
Caroline Strands is director of Catholic Education for all five parishes on the reservation and runs the day camp for children on the reservation. She also runs Rosebud parochial school, all while raising both a grandson and great-grandson, said Christopher Dourghrety, Molly H.S. faculty.
Molloy students helped her teach the children at the reservation for a week, and she, in turn, shared her experiences with them.
“She spoke openly and emotively about the hardships that have been faced by the Lakota people and those that have touched her personally,” said student Ashley Colletti. “But still, in that moment she carried herself with pride, fortitude, and hope. Hearing about the impact she’s made in her community was inspiring and will continually motivate me in times of discouragement.”
The students learned about the Lakota tribe through both personal testimony and historic landmarks. They toured the Wounded Knee site, Mount Rushmore, and Crazy Horse Memorial.
“To know, hear, and see the hardships that these people endure on a daily basis really impacted me,” said student Jackelyn Diaz. “To hear terrible things from children that you don’t ever really think happened, to acknowledge that they really do happen, and people really do suffer absolutely broke my heart. I realized how naïve I really was before this trip.
“I can only say that this trip really did change my life and I can’t wait for the next opportunity I have to go out and help my fellow Americans in need.”
The trip also deepened the students’ appreciation of nature with trips to the Cluster State Park, the Hot Springs and the Badlands.
During their stay in South Dakota the Molloy H.S. volunteers had to sacrifice many of their regular comforts and work together to both help the people in the reservation and each other.
“The way we all helped each other out whether it be at camp, making dinner, or helping to beautify the backyard of our home; we really came together and did amazing things,” Diaz said. “I will forever cherish the relationships that this trip helped to create and the memories I’ll never forget.”