St. Monica students have a long standing tradition of serving others in the local and global communities. Each year, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles honors senior students from high schools within the Archdiocese for their service to others. In mid-March, 2 seniors were honored at the Archdiocesan Christian Service Award Mass, celebrated at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels with Archbishop Jose Gomez as the celebrant.
The honorees from St. Monica this year are Preston S. and Esmeralda L. In addition to the SMCHS service hour requirement of 100 hours, both of these students put in a combined 500 additional hours serving those in need. Among the places that these students served were local hospitals, Special Olympics, parish youth groups, and Habitat for Humanity. We are proud of the service that these two students and all of our students give to those around them.
Another honor for SMCHS that day was to have our students serve as the featured choir for the ceremony under the direction of Mr. Jeffrey Bonilla. We are so proud of their talents and the manner in which they represent our school community.
Over Easter break, many of our Mariners were traveling:
Habitat for Humanity
The Habitat for Humanity trip this year was to the Pacific Northwest to rebuild homes and neighborhoods for low-income families in Tacoma and Seattle. The mission of the Habitat for Humanity Club of St. Monica Catholic High School is to partner with Habitat for Humanity affiliates locally and across the United States in advocating, educating, building and fundraising to eliminate poverty housing. 17 students and 3 faculty chaperones spent the week familiarizing themselves with local culture, landmarks, and universities while getting to know the families living in the homes or neighborhoods our students were helping build homes in. Go to https://habitatsmchs.wordpress.com/2016/03/30/easter-mass/ to see their blog!
The SMCHS Japanese program sponsored an Easter break trip to Japan. 16 students and two chaperones spent the week in Japan where the cherry blossom season just started. After arriving in Tokyo on Saturday and enjoying a shabu-shabu (hot-pot) dinner, the group attended Easter Sunday Mass at St. Ignatius Church in Sophia University. Other events of the day included a visit to the Meiji Shrine, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building Observatory, the Imperial Palace Plaza, Asakusa Kannon Temple and time shopping on Nakamise Street. On Monday the students enjoyed a visit to the local Matsugaya High School where their students exhibited the Japanese tea ceremony, taiko-drumming, Martial Art of Aikido, and music bands.
On Tuesday, they journeyed to Hakone and rode on the Mt. Komagatake Ropeway. We saw the breathtaking view of Mount Fuji. The day included a cruise on Lake Ashi and a traditional Japanese dinner and a bath in the hot spring in Atami. On Wednesday, the group rode the Shinkansen, the bullet train, traveling at speeds of up to 125 miles per hour. They journeyed to Kyoto for a full-day of sightseeing on Thursday, including Kiyomizu Temple, the Heian Shrine, Nijo Castle, and the Golden Pavilion.
Friday’s excursion was to Todaiji Temple in Nara, the biggest wooden building in the world where the 49 foot tall Buddha statue resides. The students marveled at all the free roaming deer inside the park. After walking through Kasuga Shrine with bronze and stone lanterns, they head back to Kyoto. The group returned home Saturday after a wonderful week of sightseeing and exposure to Japanese culture and food.
East Coast College Tour
Mr. Mendoza, SMCHS College Counselor, coordinated an East Coast College Tour. 5 students traveled with Mr. Mendoza to enjoy springtime in New England and visit great schools along the East Coast. Students visited Boston University, Boston College, Northeastern University, Tufts University, Stonehill College, Harvard University, Emerson College, Yale University, Brown University, Fordham University, Providence College, New York University, and Columbia University. Students also had the opportunity to meet and connect with students from Chicago and San Diego. There was time for the students to explore the cities of Boston and New York as well. Everyone was able to enjoy a New York harbor cruise, with close up views of the Statue of Liberty as well as all the buildings of New York City lit up. SMCHS is planning the same trip for Easter Break 2017. Please see Mr. Mendoza with any questions!