Charlie Ewing and Will Leonard have a lot in common! They are seventh-grade students at Princeton Academy of the Sacred Heart. They fully participate in the life of our school as they realize their individual potential in the classroom and on the athletic field. They enhance the life of our school community as they value, care for, and respect all. Charlie and Will have something else in common. They are truly dedicated to service. This past summer, both students had amazing adventures. Charlie carried out his service in New Jersey, while Will carried out his service in Mexico. Both students shared their service projects at Middle School Assembly.
Charlie and his father participated in The North American Breeding Bird Survey, which tracks the status and trends of bird populations in North America. This organization is dedicated to protecting birds and their nesting environments. Charlie collected bird identification data on a 24.5-mile-long survey route in Northern New Jersey. There were stops situated about 0.5 miles apart on the survey route. At each stop, a 3-minute bird count was conducted. During the count, every bird seen or heard within a 0.25-mile radius was recorded. Charlie's survey collected 47 bird species with many non-forest birds and a few forest birds. The survey area was not well protected despite its protected forest designation. The survey area had cars, major highways, and noise pollution, which affected the bird population. Charlie also conducted a mini-survey at Princeton Academy at three different places on campus: the Great Road entrance, the Grotto entrance, and the Drakes Corner Road entrance. The school survey collected 11 bird species. The most birds were observed at Drakes Corner Road, and the least birds were observed at Great Road. The Great Road car traffic was much more significant which probably deters birds from nesting in the many birdhouses located near the Great Road entrance. Charlie proposes that Princeton Academy add birdhouses in the field near the Drakes Corner Road entrance which is a better nesting habitat. He predicts that the bird population will increase, as more birds will benefit from a quiet, safe environment.
Will joined Homes For Hope and Youth With a Mission. He traveled with his father to Ensenada in Baja California. He worked with a team of volunteers to build a house for a family in need. The family in need was a group of farmers from Oaxaca. The family had six people, including a mother, a father, a son, two daughters, and a grandson. They had no shower, sink, running water, or proper toilet. Over the course of three days, the team built the house frame, installed a roof, put in a concrete floor, connected the electrical system to an outside source, painted the exterior and interior of the house, decorated the house, and provided beds, tables, television, kitchen vanity, refrigerator, oven, and stove. The family benefited in many ways. Their new house was clean, comfortable, and functional. Truly, the family was blessed as their house was transformed into a special homemade with love.
Lessons learned were shared by Charlie and Will. Charlie witnessed the beauty and strength of birds. He shared that bird populations will bounce back as habitats become more protected. Will shared that there is almost always another chance in life. No matter who you are, there are people out there who are willing to help you. Whether they know you or not, they will come to your aid. Will shared the wonderful feeling of helping a family in need. Charlie and Will truly honor the Sacred Heart Goals as they go beyond in their commitment to believe, persevere, serve, respect, and grow.