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Connecting Our Catholic Faith to Our Community at Central Catholic High School

WHEELING — What does it mean to “Think and Act Like Christ?” Each and every day at CCHS we are finding ways to live out this mission. Through our academics, student life, extracurricular activities, and faith life we are called to incorporate the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This has been a primary focus as we have set the vision for our school through our strategic plan. Within our faith formation goals we committed to enhancing our service learning program to include more opportunities for students with a focus on answering our call to serve, understanding the needs in our community, and reflecting upon how we can make a difference.

CCHS students and teachers have always stepped up to help our community in many ways. Through our partnership with the Catholic Charities 18th Street Neighborhood Center and our annual canned-food drive we are able to help them restock their shelves for the winter months. Just last year, we added a Spring Service Day to address needs in our neighborhood of downtown Wheeling. This year we have expanded our Service Learning Program to include a requirement of 20 hours of outside service per school year with a different focus for each grade level.

Freshmen will work on improving our environment. Sophomores will work with children and/or adults with different needs. Juniors will serve the sick and elderly. Finally, seniors will have a choice for service focus areas.

Christine Kuhns, CCHS campus minister, explains, “The goal is to allow each student to get varied experiences so that they can have a deeper understanding of our community’s needs so when they get to their senior year they have connected to a cause in which they truly want to focus their efforts.”

Students will have the opportunity to reflect upon their experiences and make connections throughout all of the curriculum areas at CCHS. Jamie Campbell, Social Studies department chairperson, sees great value in this cross-curricular program.

“In social studies we spend a lot of time examining social issues, what it means to be a good citizen, and how individual people can impact our world. Through our program, students meet and interact with those impacted by social issues, so they see the real people behind the statistics. They see teenagers, children, and families just like theirs.”

Biology teacher, Mrs. Thorngate agrees, “My freshman students get to learn about the science behind the impact we have on the environment and make connections to how they can make changes in their daily lives to impact our greater community.”

The CCHS Service Learning Program truly has service above self and learning at the center of its purpose. Students truly get to learn how to “Think and Act Like Christ” while doing small things to make a big difference in our community.

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