A ‘cornerstone’ for faith

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Although it's the "fourth quarter" of the school year, Seton Junior-Senior High School in Manassas has a newcomer on the scene of extracurricular activities: Cornerstone. Unlike most organizations at Seton, Cornerstone is not a club; it's more like a youth group focused on helping students grow in faith and friendship while having a great time.

The original intention that led to the founding of Cornerstone was to restart Totus Tuus, a group for junior high girls that was started last year but was not continued into this school year. The idea evolved until the founding team - sophomore Michael Angsten and juniors Meggie Vestermark, Matt Fioramonti, Meghan O'Malley, Thomas O'Keefe and Marielle Cuccinelli - settled on the concept of Cornerstone: a youth group open to all seventh-, eighth- and ninth-grade students.

The turnout at Cornerstone's March 23 kickoff was impressive. "It felt as if the whole junior high came," said O'Keefe. "Everybody had a blast, and I think they'll keep coming to our meetings."

While Cornerstone is comprised of seventh- through ninth-graders, meetings are run by senior, junior and sophomore counselors.

"We're hoping that any upperclassmen who want to help out will come to us and volunteer," said O'Keefe.

Each meeting focuses on having fun and growing spiritually. Counselors believe in the importance of making sure that whoever comes to Cornerstone has a good time and forms great friendships based on teamwork, fun and faith. "We're striving for the members to get to know each other better and build friendships with each other and with God," said Vestermark.

A regular meeting consists of games, sports or some sort of fun activity, as well as an introduction by the counselors to the discussion subject. The participants then divide into smaller groups and discuss the topic for a while, concluding the meeting with a visit to the chapel. No meeting is complete without plenty of food, and counselors provide root beer floats at all meetings.

Cornerstone's founding team has big plans for next school year. "We'd love to go hiking and bowling or do other fun outings to bring in more kids and let the students have fun outside of school with their friends," said O'Malley.

"If you think Cornerstone is doing great now, you're going to get your mind blown once we really get rolling," Said Fioramonti.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2015