OLMA and community service
On Wednesday, December 12, a television reporter came to OLMA for a piece called Heroes of Our Island, at 8:00 p.m. on Christmas day. Sister Pat, Mr. Geagan, and four seniors— Catherine Morse, Martha Rizea, Faith Scanlon and Colleen Gorman—were interviewed. The piece was about the many ways our Mercy community serves others.
The seniors were interviewed because of their roles in service projects, Leaders’ Club, and Student Council. Catherine Morse is the co-chair of Mission Committee, Martha Rizea and Faith Scanlon are members of Leaders’ Club, and Colleen Gorman is the Student Council President. Each of them was asked about what they do during the holidays, and what their thoughts were about the Toy Drive and other Mercy service projects. In her interview, Colleen explained how the Toy Drive is great because it gives kids a little “happiness, excitement, and something special on Christmas,” which they need.
When Sister Pat was interviewed, she explained that the Sisters of Mercy began as a charitable organization and OLMA was founded on that concept. We still “try to do what Catherine McAuley did: connect the people who have with the people in need,” said Sister Pat. She also talked about the Toy Drive, which has been a tradition for over 30 years, and the partnership with the INN that was established when Sister Elaine was principal. Sister Pat stressed the importance of giving and helping in the Circle of Mercy, such as the start of a new Mother’s Day Drive for young single mothers in need. When asked if Mercy had any heroes of its own, Sister Pat said that Mrs. Ward—who runs Mercy Action/Witness club—and Mr. Geagan are good examples to the students of how to give of yourself to help other people. She even humorously described Mr. Geagan as “a wonderful example of a Mercy girl…well, a Mercy Man!”
The main section of the interview was on Mr. Geagan. Mr. Geagan was interviewed about his role in helping the Long Beach community, and about the Circle of Mercy and the service we do here at OLMA. Mr. Geagan is a volunteer in the Long Beach Auxiliary Police Dept. In the aftermath of Sandy, he helped the community to get back on its feet, working all day, every day for that whole week. The next week, when OLMA went back to a regular school schedule, Mr. Geagan said it was like “coming home,” but also like he was living “two different lives.” When students asked what they could do to help, he told them that “the most important thing you can give is your thoughts and prayers.” Asked about the dress down day and collection for Hurricane Sandy victims, Mr. Geagan said that he wasn’t surprised, because OLMA is a “family, a wonderful place to be” and “everyone is always ready to help in any way.”
The teachers are inspired by the students also. Sister Pat said, “There is always someone helping. Every day, there is something unbelievable going on.”