The Joe W. and Dorothy Dorsett Brown Foundation held its annual Service Learning Celebration at the Pontchartrain Center on Sept. 11, 2018. The foundation awarded Mount Carmel Academy a total of $20,034 including $19,034.00 for grants submitted for the school year and $1,000 for the principal to use for a service learning project. The clubs who received grant money were represented at the event by their presidents and members.

The theme of the celebration was “The World is Your Oyster with Service Learning” and the presentations opened up so many new opportunities for the students to explore. Members of the Eco-Cub Club made a short presentation about the study of the animal food chain in relation to their environment. MCCADD members (Mount Carmel Cubs Against Destructive Decisions) had a display focusing on their MCCADD on Wheels program, which included an interactive, hands-on demonstration simulating driving (using Wii Mario Kart) and walking a line while wearing drunk driving goggles to simulate impairment. Many schools visited their display and asked questions about beginning their own service learning ventures, and many others invited us to their school to do a presentation.

Mount Carmel students also spent the morning visiting the service learning expo, which included over 60 booths designed for schools to meet service partners and to learn new service ideas. Throughout the program, the emphasis was placed on how to implement these service learning projects; it also stressed how important reflections are after a project is complete, along with showcasing the student’s skills, insights, and thoughts. It is vital for the students to realize what a difference they have made in others lives and in their own lives through service learning programs. We believe that encouraging students to learn and apply academic, social, and personal skills will only help improve their community and to spread service learning ideas to others.