The Weeks Before: Entrance Interviews

Entrance Interview Paragraphs: Each student was asked to meet with me and then to write a paragraph about where they are coming into the trip.  What are you excited about? Where do you hope to grow while in Montana? What are you anxious about?  Below are their thoughts...

The reason why I want to go to Montana is because this trip focuses on self-growth and to explore your life more deeply to better serve others. This trip I feel will allow me to become more confident as a whole because of the intense questioning about who I am and what I am meant to do in life. I am excited and scared at the same time to find out what the answer might be if I even get one. From the different trips I have been on I haven’t been given a clear answer, just a few hints, and pieces, but hopefully, this is the trip when I learn something new and significant about myself. I want to form strong bonds with the children at the school and be fully present with them. I also want to build a more authentic relationship with the nine other guys whom I am getting closer to each day. From the research a couple of us did, the state park has some of the most beautiful landscape which I can’t wait to see. I have been looking forward to this trip ever since my brother sat down talked about it for three hours when I was a freshman and now I will finally have a Montana story of my own. ~ Andy ’18

I first fell in love with immersion trips my sophomore year when I spent a week in Florida tutoring migrant students.  Since then, I have spent a week in Virginia building a house and now I am thankful for the opportunity to serve for the week in Browning teaching students.  After each trip, I have felt closer and closer to God and seem to find out something new about myself each and every time I do service.  I’m hoping that this trip brings me even closer to God and enables me to establish an even stronger relationship with him.  More importantly, I chose to go to Browning to help the students.  They face challenges that I will never be able to understand fully and I hope that I can use my talents and positive energy to impact the students positively in some way.  As the trip gets closer and closer, I struggle to contain my excitement, after all, I have been looking forward to this trip for the past three years.  I hope that the trip lives up to my life-changing expectations and not only benefits me spiritually but also leaves a positive impact on the children that I will be working with.  ~ Colin ’18
I want to go to Montana because it offers me something that the other immersion trips don’t really offer, and that's an insight into a marginalized group of people that have for a long time suffered in silence. The Native American population has faced many hardships that have extended far past the atrocities committed hundreds of years ago. The trip to the Smithsonian of Native American History really opened my eyes to the still ongoing struggles of the Native Americans. The museums also created a want for me to learn more about the diverse cultures and lives of Native Americans. The Blackfeet School is unique in its Catholic identity and I am interested in looking deeper into my faith while observing how the rich heritage of the Blackfeet tribe and their Catholic upbringing affect one another. But one of my biggest reasons for going is the opportunity to disconnect from all of the constant noise and distractions of modern like to live simply and help others rather than myself, a task that the modern world seems to deem as less and less important in favor of boosting one's own self-image. ~ Conner ’19

I am attending this Montana trip to further expand my understanding of world cultures and its people as well as others who come from extremely diverse lifestyles. I have attended immersion trips since my sophomore year and every time I return from one, I have a profound respect for the lives of the people from these communities. It makes me truly appreciate all that I have been given and teaches me how to live simply and find comfort in that lifestyle. I hope to come out of this trip with an in-depth understanding of the Blackfeet culture, so I am able to implement some of their lifestyle methods into my own life. I find God in the wilderness, so immersing myself in a culture that takes base in respect for the natural world greatly intrigues me and inspires me to go on this trip with an open mind. ~ James ’18
I am coming into Montana with the hope that I will be able to learn many lessons that I can to apply in my life. I am not often prone to having these types of experiences, so I would like to push myself to do something different. I think the most valuable experiences come from doing things that you would not normally do. I have been steadily building a faith identity over my time at Calvert Hall, and I would like to use this experience to solidify my base. I want to build stronger bonds with my peers and hope to make lasting memories. I have been getting more excited the closer the trip gets because I am eager to see what awaits. I am rather nervous about sharing my personal experiences, but I hope that this experience helps me to find a sense of purpose in my life. One thing I have struggled with is a discovery of self, and my hope is that this trip furthers me along in this pursuit and opens my eyes to who I am. ~ John ’19
Of all the immersion trips to attend, I knew serving in Montana would be the most personal and beneficial to me. But as the date slowly approaches, I can only recall the same desires and ambitions for the trip that I had when I applied. First and foremost, however, I am going to Montana and teaching students at the De La Salle Blackfeet School because I have a passion for service, especially service that would allow me to reevaluate my life and understand where my relationship with God lies. Being given the opportunity to serve in one of the most estranged regions in the US and dedicating a full week of humble service is no easy task, but that’s why it excites me. I hope to form personal relationships with my students and to truly be a role model in their life, as I believe they will be for me. I also hope to experience God in each and every one of my classmates, forming life-long bonds with them that I can take with me after graduation. To me, the Montana immersion trip is more than just a week-long trip with a great group of guys, but rather a life-long experience with the potential to impact the rest of my life. With this, there is only one thought I have going into it: am I ready? – Matt ’18
I have decided to go on the trip to Browning, Montana to grow as a person in my relationship with God and with my passion to be a good role model. For much of my life, I have wondered how I can use my passion for working with and helping children and infuse it with my life in the future. That is one reason that I decided to apply to go to Montana in the first place. I believe that our work in the classrooms at De LaSalle Blackfeet may help me realize more ways to be a positive role model to people that are younger than me that may be in need of guidance. I believe that this may be a calling from God to use this gift of compassion that I have been given and I hope to grow in my relationship with God in Montana. In Browning, a town with children that endure many struggles that many of us do not have to face here, I hope to challenge myself to learn more about myself and do my part to make a small impact on any person while on this trip.  ~ Michael ’18
I am going on the Montana Immersion trip this year to get away from distractions that exist by simply being at home, in order to immerse myself in service and to be fully present to those I will serve.  In addition to the service, I believe that being among the people of the Blackfeet reservation will allow me to humble myself and put things in perspective when I return home.  It is easy to overlook how fortunate I am and to take my life for granted.  In Montana, I also hope to grow in my relationship with God; my faith plays a huge role in my life and I would like to build on my strong faith foundations away from the usual stresses back in Maryland.  Montana will give me an opportunity to reflect on my life and learn more about my true self while I am almost at the end of my high school career at Calvert Hall. ~ Nathan ’18

            First and foremost, I am going to Montana to serve the people on the reservation. The service that I perform will hopefully not only benefit the people I am serving but also bring me closer to God. Throughout high school, I have discovered that I feel closest to god during service, so I am hoping that the service I perform on this trip will allow me to strengthen and further understand my relationship with God. I am also excited about getting out of my comfort zone, as I am hoping that it will force me to open my mind to things that I have never thought about so that I can grow as a person. Finally, I am hoping to create memories and relationships with both the people I am serving and the guys I am going with that I will hopefully cherish for the rest of my life. ~ Ray ’19
I have been looking forward to this trip since freshman year when I recognized that this trip was “the big one.”  I am going to Montana to find intimacy with God.  Although I very much believe in and love Him, I often find it hard to rest and be content and still in His presence.  I hope that by putting myself so far out of my comfort zone and so far out of my daily routine, I can learn to rest in Him.  Additionally, I want to explore some of the challenges that come with my future vocation.  I intend to be a teacher in the future, and by placing myself in an unfamiliar educational environment now, I can expose myself to challenges that I would not likely face in Baltimore County, and learn to better minister to the needs of a diverse community of youth.  ~ Ryan ’18