Magis Christian Service Program
"A Jesuit school has effective Christian Service programs which enable students to serve people in need thoughtfully and reflectively." (from What Makes a Jesuit High School Jesuit?)
As Seattle Prep, our philosophy, founded on the experiences of St. Ignatius, states: “Our ideal is the well-rounded person who is: intellectually competent, open to growth, spiritually alive, loving and committed to doing justice in generous service to the people of God.” This is why Seattle Preparatory School includes in its curriculum the Magis Christian Service Program. It is more than a requirement or extra work. Service to others is proof of our love for God and is the starting point for all that happens at Seattle Preparatory School.
"Today our prime educational objective must be to form men and women for others; men and women who live not for themselves but for God and His Christ...men and women who cannot even conceive of a love of God which does not also include a love for the least of their neighbors. What kind of person is needed today? One who is ‘a man or women for others,’ gifted with conscience, intelligence and power, called out of his or herself, to give oneself to others in love." (Father Pedro Arrupe, former Superior General of the Society of Jesus)
"The Jesuit High School, faithful to its Christian and Jesuit heritage, gives its students an experience of the value of service to their fellow humans in the name of Jesus. In the course of their high school years, students are expected to participate in a service-oriented experience within the school’s program. It is understood that the enrollment of a student in a Jesuit High School is a commitment to an exploration of the human and religious significance of Christian Service.” (The Jesuit Secondary Education Association)
Goals of the Magis Christian Service Program
To provide an opportunity for the student to:
- deepen their formation of Christian and human values and attitudes.
- broaden their experience of the wider world.
- respond in a practical way to the call to be men and women-for-and-with-others.
- experience multiple ways of being of service to the world.
- become sensitized to people in need on all levels of society, thereby helping her/him realize what she/he can offer others, what she/he can learn from others, and what her/his own needs may be.
- discover talents they may have that are not as evident in their usual academic environment; and also to become aware of what their limitations might be.
Grade Level Service Requirements
A distinguishing characteristic of Jesuit education is to help students realize that talents are to be developed, not for self-satisfaction, but for the whole of the community. Students are encouraged to use their gifts in the service of others. In keeping with these goals and the goals of the Magis Christian Service Program at Seattle Prep students must complete the following grade level based requirements and follow the general guidelines for all service projects outlined below. Service Immersion Programming, whether with a Prep partner program or an outside program, does not fulfill a student's service requirement at any grade level.
Service to Faith Community or Family
Freshmen are required to complete 10 hours of service focused on building community connections. These experiences need to be completed in service with the student’s church organization, faith community or family. Many freshmen feel deeply connected with the middle school they attended and identify that community as their faith community. Students could choose to serve their middle school community through coaching a CYO team, helping out with an auction, or volunteering with after school programs. If students feel drawn to service to their church they might serve as an altar server, greeter or reader, sing in the choir or help teach Sunday school.
Sophomores are required to complete 18 hours of service focused on understanding the needs of the Seattle Prep community and the needs of the wider community the live in. Sophomores attend the required Urban Plunge retreat in the fall with their Collegio and complete six hours of service over the course of that retreat. Students then complete six hours of service with local non-profit organizations and six additional hours of service with the Seattle Prep community.
Juniors are required to complete 30 hours of service working in partnership with marginalized communities. The junior year requirement is designed to put students in direct relationship with people marginalized by society. In doing this, we are responding to Fr. Arrupe's call to develop "men and women for others" as well as teaching what it means to be a Christian in the world today; a person seeking justice for those who most experience injustice. The junior service requirement is a wonderful opportunity to discover the amazing things that happen when we put ourselves in relationship with people who are marginalized.
In addition to the grade level service requirements, the Magis Christian Service Program offers many co-curricular activities throughout the year. Seattle Prep hosts three Blood Drives in partnership with BloodWorks Northwest. We host a Prom on campus for young people with physical and intellectual disabilities each April.