“We travel to Harlen, Kentucky every year because in earlier years a Sisters of Notre Dame province house was located in the region. It was convenient for us to help down there since we had contacts.
“Our province house is no longer located there, but we still go to Harlan since we feel we have a connection,” said NDA theology teacher Sr. Sally Bohnett, who has participated on the trip for a few years.
Parent volunteers drove the girls the necessary eight hours to Harlan, which is a town in the Appalachia region of the United States.
During the weekend stay, the girls set up a Christmas store in which the various families living in the town could go and ‘buy’ presents for their children. “The Christmas store is set up so that the parents can go in and pick out presents for their children, free of charge. The presents are donated by the NDA students, faculty and staff,” senior Anni McCarthy said.
The girls and other volunteers stayed in the local church, Holy Trinity; this is where the toy store and Christmas party took place.
As well as setting up the Christmas store, NDA students prepared a Christmas dinner and party for the families. Music was played and the festivities lasted well into the evening.
“We cooked them a simple meal. After the meal, we attended a prayer service, where we were able to hear some of these people’s stories. Hearing these stories really gave me an appreciation for what I have,” McCarthy said.
Notre Dame Academy, a Catholic college preparatory high school, has been committed to the education of young women since it was founded in 1904. The Sisters of Notre Dame continue to sponsor the school today. Visit us online at www.nda.org.