'Edgewood in the Community' students going and giving back Print
Written by Kevin Wondrash, Catholic Herald Staff   
Thursday, Oct. 09, 2014 -- 12:00 AM

EHS senior Janina Rozwadowski reads to first graders at St. Dennis School in Madison as part of Edgewood in the Community Day. Rozwadowski was an eighth grade graduate of St. Dennis. (Catholic Herald photo/Kevin Wondrash)

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MADISON -- For some Edgewood High School (EHS) students, the 2014 Edgewood in the Community Day was a chance to remember their childhood and help out the schools that helped them when they were younger.

Every year during homecoming week, students, faculty, staff, and parent volunteers from EHS participate in Edgewood in the Community Day to contribute back to the community and focus on the school’s mission: “encourage social responsibility, commitment to service, and improve the quality of life through peace and justice.”

This year, participants went to more than 40 sites in Dane County that included area non-profit organizations and schools.

“Today is about making a difference. Today is about bringing joy to someone’s life,” said senior Madeleine Corcoran during a prayer service before everyone headed out to the sites. “I challenge all of you not to end your service today. Today is just the beginning -- the beginning of a lifetime of giving back.”

Heading out to give back

Decked out in their noticeable gold “Edgewood in the Community” T-shirts, the Edgewood community headed out to their respective “beginnings,” most by bus and some by car or on foot.

About a dozen students spent their day at St. James School in Madison. Most of the students, along with one of the accompanying staff members, were alumni of the school.

“I was really excited to come and see how different the school is,” said junior Rheanna Darcy.

“It feels good to come back and help [the school] out because I went here ever since I was in kindergarten, so it was a big part of my life,” said junior Kaitlyn Harrington.

The students helped teachers update bulletin boards, organize books in the library, and do other classroom work.

“It’s about giving back,” said EHS staff member Michael Lumina. “You feel good by the end of the day, and hopefully the kids will feel good.”

Lumina was also an alumnus of St. James School, having graduated more than 50 years ago.

“It’s neat to come back,” he said with a smile. “It’s like coming back to my youth.”

More examples

On Madison’s east side, EHS students who were also St. Dennis School alumni got a similar chance to go back to their old stomping grounds.

Part of their day included visiting the first grade classroom where they read, drew, and did other projects with the students, who became their friends almost immediately.

“I remember being one of these kids and looking up to older kids, and now I’m one of them which is exciting,” said senior Janina Rozwadowski. “I just love kids a lot -- it’s been fun helping them.”

Later, the Edgewood students joined the St. Dennis students for lunch and recess, where they played kickball and basketball together as well as hula hooping.

For the parents, who volunteered along with their children, the day was equally as rewarding.

“It’s just fun to interact with the kids, and I love them . . . It’s just amazing to see how they’ve grown up,” said parent volunteer Julie Rozwadowski, Janina’s mother and mother of a son who is a sophomore at EHS.

“It’s important so people understand what Edgewood High School is all about. . . . It really is founded on the Dominican principles [truth, justice, compassion, partnership, and community], added Julie. “We really want to be visible out in the community.”

As for the call to make the day the start of a “lifetime of giving back,” Janina said the day was about “[making] it a routine, get in the habit, and eventually it will become part of your life and it won’t even be service anymore, it will be your life.”

To learn more about Edgewood in the Community Day and EHS’ homecoming week, visit its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/EdgewoodHS


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