Today was the final day that we had a chance to interact with the students at De Lasalle Blackfeet School. We woke up early as always, brushed our teeth, took our showers, ate breakfast, and prepared for the final day with the students we’ve been building relationships with this week. I took some extra time resting in the morning because of the fever I picked up the day before (don’t work Mom and Dad, I’m fine), then hopped into the gym to take on the last rollercoaster of a day.
As weird as it is to say, my fair well with the students seemed... anticlimactic. Kids were just walking up, saying a quick “Goodbye!” and headed back to their lives. While it wasn’t that way with all the students like with my 8th graders Payton and Coldon, the majority of my other goodbyes followed that pattern. And I wasn’t exactly sure how to react to that. I’ve been part of service experiences before that were similar to this one, and the kids had been clinging to us, trying to prevent us from leaving. I brought up my concern to Mr. Ortiz, worried I was missing something, and talking to him provided me a new lens (shoutout Gabe) to look through. He reminded me that the kids we were working with a lack of consistency in their everyday lives that we have, so us leaving might mean more to us than it does to the student. And this made perfect sense to me. I’d heard the stories of some of the lives of different students, and they were drastically different from mine. They told stories about fathers leaving or having drug addictions, mothers not being able to provide for kids, and grandparents suffering and being unable to keep up with their families. Some of these kids had no consistency in their lives at all, so it makes sense that their reaction differed from ours so drastically. This trip as a whole has challenged me and has helped me to learn so much about myself. It helped me to realize that I am broken in a way that is very similar to these kids. I have relationships that need mending, spiritual life that needs further reflection, and a future I need to stop pushing away and address with myself and those I love. I hope and believe that this trip has given me what I need to do that. I’m not quite ready to leave but am excited to see where life takes me after having experienced this trip.
Calvert Hall College High School is a private Catholic college preparatory high school for boys, located in Baltimore, Maryland. Our mission is to foster Men of intellect, Men of faith, and Men of integrity in the Lasallian tradition.