Mount Notre Dame seniors present Capstone Projects | Community Spirit
READING (FOX19) – Seven Seniors from Mount Notre Dame high School in reading demonstrated projects they created to serve the community at Monday night’s (MND) Senior Capstone Showcase Evening. The evening is the culminating component of the four-year journey that each MND senior has taken through her MAP (My Action Plan) Program. The MAP Program is designed to engage the MND student in experiences that will empower her in all areas of her life.
Through MAP, MND students:
- transition into the MND community (freshman year)
- learn to LIVE as an empowered young woman (sophomore year)
- learn to LEAD as an empowered young woman (junior year)
- learn to SERVE as an empowered young woman (senior year)
Here are examples of some of the projects:
Ellie Diemer of Deer Park titled her project Cakes for a Cause. Ellie’s connection to Our Daily Bread began as a ninth grader when she joined her mom on a service experience. Located in Cincinnati’s Over the Rhine neighborhood, Our Daily Bread is a ministry in which guests are offered warm meals in a caring and welcoming environment. Since her freshman year, Ellie has been a regular volunteer there, working in the kitchen and on the serving line. In the process of developing her Capstone Project, Ellie asked the agency if there was some need at the facility that she could fill, and a plan was created.
Multiple boxes of cake, bread, brownie and muffin mixes filled the storeroom shelves of Our Daily Bread; but without the necessary oil and eggs, the agency was unable to use the donations. Throughout the summer and into her senior year, Ellie would take the dessert mixes home, and with her network of bakers (family and friends), prepared the baked goods. Every time Ellie showed up to volunteer, she brought with her a variety of her freshly baked desserts that were distributed that day to the guests of Our Daily Bread. What is most impressive is Ellie’s commitment to her project as she continues her baking even though her Capstone is complete.
Kathryn Hook of Pleasant Ridge titled her project Jump-In to Make a Difference! Kathryn Hook used her passion for jump roping as a way to increase awareness and financially support the Kelly-Carol Foundation for Children with Cancer. Kathryn created, organized and led a jump rope workshop for grade school aged kids held in Nativity Grade School’s gym this summer. Kathryn became acquainted with the foundation when the younger sister of a member of Kathryn’s jump rope team was diagnosed with a form of leukemia in 2008. For her project, she created a t-shirt for her participants, carefully planned the activities, and trained and organized her fellow jump ropers. Kathryn served as the master of ceremonies, actively taught her students and led a workshop finale performance. Kathryn spent her time volunteering and raising awareness for the Kelly Carol Foundation, which helps families dealing with children who have cancer. Kathryn utilized a Capstone Grant for the t-shirts she designed for the event.
Kathryn had a great experience and shared these comments: “I love the Kelly Carol Foundation! I think they’re awesome and I absolutely loved helping them! I also liked that it was easy for me to come up with the idea that I could use jump roping (for my project). I love the feeling of satisfaction that comes from helping people in need like families and children with pediatric cancer.”
Megan Grout of Mason titled her project Delicious Meals that Appeal. Megan shared her passion for cooking by creating a cookbook to be distributed to clients of her local chapter of St. Vincent de Paul. The cookbook is filled with recipes for simple meals made with staple ingredients and canned food items found at the SVDP food pantry. Megan explains, “My capstone project has challenged me because I have to find recipes that use simple ingredients which are on hand at the families’ homes.” With the help of a grant received through MND’s Youth Philanthropy Council, Megan had the cookbook copied, bound and laminated. This capstone project will continue to benefit the community for many years to come. “Knowing that I can provide families with more meal options than what they’re used to is an awesome feeling.”
Shannon O’Connor of Oakley named her project Birthday-in-a-Box! As a volunteer with Hope Emergency, Shannon discovered that many families are financially unable to provide a party to celebrate their children’s birthdays. To meet the needs of these families, Shannon created 36 decorated boxes and filled each with supplies for a complete birthday party: cake pan, cake mix, icing, ribbon, candles, plates, tablecloth, napkins, cups, party hats and party favors.
In the process of completing her Capstone Project, Shannon explains that she learned “how to budget my time, save money with coupons, and how to shop for the sale.” Shannon is especially proud of her role in making every child’s birthday a memorable celebration, regardless of their family’s financial status.
Kelly Cutter of Deerfield Township titled her project Splashin’ Around in Over the Rhine. MND’s Swim Team captain Kelly Cutter has a passion for her sport. Kelly trains year-round with Blue Ash Y.M.C.A., practicing eight times a week with both 5:30 a.m. and after school practices, swimming over 25 miles per week.
So it was no surprise that Kelly chose to complete her Capstone Project in the pool. For a week in June, Kelly taught water safety to the children attending the Wesley Chapel Mission Center summer camp in Over the Rhine. What Kelly liked most about her experience was the opportunity to use her talents to possibly save a life. She worked with the 5 – 9 year olds, teaching them the skills necessary to respect the water and prevent water related accidents.
Kelly explains, “I fell in love with their desire to learn and I realized that given the opportunity, these kids can accomplish much. I went in to change these little kids’ lives, but they changed mine.”
Annelise Page of Loveland named her project Celebrity Waiters. Annie created a Capstone Project with an organization for which she was already familiar – The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. One of the largest fundraising events for CFF is a dinner auction and Annie took on the task of securing the celebrities for the event. She wrote a letter explaining her own experience with Cystic Fibrosis and sent it to local TV personalities, radio DJs, and current and former Cincinnati Reds and Bengals players, inviting each to attend the event and serve as a celebrity waiter. Annie followed up with phone calls and confirmation plans, managing to secure 37 celebrity waiters, including Nick and Drew Lachey!
The event was held at Great American Ball Park in November, where Annie greeted guests, sold balloons as part of the balloon auction, and assisted in the clean-up at the end of the evening. CFF event coordinator Alison Bethel commented that Annie “embraced the responsibilities with which she was charged, allowing us to have a successful campaign!”
Jordyn Hunter of West Chester titled her project Soles for Souls. Soles for Souls is the first Senior Capstone Project to Go Global - all the way to Africa! It all began when Jordyn Hunter was a 7th grader at St. Michael’s Elementary School. A guest speaker described how some children in Africa did not have shoes; to own even one pair was a luxury. That reality stayed with Jordyn, and five years later she launched her gently used gym shoe drive for the children of Africa. Jordyn contacted a College of Mount St. Joseph professor who is originally from Ghana. He connected her with the Archdiocese of Ghana and together they helped her identify specific schools and an orphanage there whose children could benefit from the shoes. Through word of mouth and the poster advertising of her project, three local high schools joined Jordyn’s efforts. Shoe drives at Moeller, Lebanon, and McAuley high schools produced over five hundred pairs of gym shoes that were recently shipped to the home of the Archbishop of Ghana. But Jordyn’s Capstone Project did not stop there. The donated infant and toddler shoes were stuffed into two large suitcases and Jordyn and her mother set off for a twelve day trip to Ghana to deliver the shoes themselves. Jordyn describes her trip as the most difficult as well as the most rewarding experience of her life.
Mount Notre Dame Head of School, Larry Mock of Amberley Village, said he is very proud of the 2012 Capstone projects and added, “over the past four years, MND students have written goals and action steps for their high school experience, focused on making responsible, principle-based choices in life, developed leadership skills and made their commitment to serving… I am very impressed by and proud of the fine work and heartfelt service being performed by our seniors.”
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