The ‘wolf pack’ responds

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On a chilly Saturday morning, students from Saint John Paul the Great Catholic High School in Dumfries gave up a day of rest to give back to their communities. Participants in the annual service day Jan. 17 responded to calls for help from St. Francis House in Dumfries, House of Mercy in Manassas, Mary's Shelter in Fredericksburg and the Lorton Community Action Center. Service events at those locations were chosen by John Paul's Servant Leadership Association.

"We hoped to give students a convenient opportunity to serve their community, based on where they lived," said Paul Fritschner, SLA president.

The service day was begun last year under the leadership of then SLA President Monica Loesel. Nicholas Fonte, dean of instruction and student life, was impressed with how the organization took charge on its own.

"Our student government did a great job organizing the events," said Fonte.

Preceding service day was a weeklong food drive that allowed those unable to participate in service day to help those less fortunate. Food collected during the week was moved by service day participants to St. Francis House in Dumfries and, once there, sorted and organized. Francia Salguero, St. Francis House director, welcomed John Paul students.

"I think that (it is) important to keep youths involved with the community," said Salguero.

Service day gave John Paul students not only an opportunity to have fun with their classmates but also the means to give back to their communities and hopefully inspire others to do the same.

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COURTESY SAINT JOHN PAUL THE GREAT

John Paul juniors Colleen Ranieri (left) and Megan Krakie help organize food donations at St. Francis House in Dumfries as part of the school's annual service day Jan. 17.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2015