Christian Service adds Ireland trip

Michael Bradley

Malvern Prep adds Ireland to service trips as problems there continue to arise

In August 2017, 15 rising Malvern seniors will be embarking on a Christian Service trip to Ireland where they will help those less fortunate.

According to a pamphlet created by Malvern Preparatory School, these rising seniors will be flying from the United States to Ireland on Friday, August 18 and returning home on Thursday, August 31.

While in Ireland these students will be staying at a retreat home run by Christian Brothers in Dublin, Ireland. The exact service work they will be doing is still being determined.

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“My hope has always been with all of the trips that this is what happens. I could see the South Africa trip going to this next.”

-Mr. Larry Legner[/perfectpullquote]

In recent years, Ireland has faced problems which are crippling the economy and well-being of those living there. With problems arising in Africa and Middle East there has sharp increase in the number of immigrants living in Ireland.  This in turn is causing a growth in homelessness, according to History Teacher Mr. Thomas McGuire.

On top of immigration problems, the economy of Ireland is suffering. “The country has gone into economic stagnation,” McGuire said. “People started emigrating out in larger numbers than have been seen in 30-40 years.”

The emigration of many Irish citizens is causing economic problems. Many jobs are available but the people applying to obtain these jobs do not have the necessary qualifications according to McGuire.

“The people who are leaving Ireland now are the professionals, the college-educated, accountant types, and lawyers,” McGuire said. “So there is what they call the ‘brain-drain’.”

“There is a huge homeless problem. There is a huge hunger problem,” Director of Christian Service Mr. Larry Legner said.

While there is no service set in stone so far, this new trip involves a class solely dedicated to learning about Ireland and determining what service is needed.

“We are not sure what we are doing yet,” Legner said. “That is being determined by the students going.”

The class meets once a week at alternating times both before and after school and is taught by a range of teachers.

“The class meets Tuesdays after school one week,” McGuire said. “And Wednesday mornings at 7:30 a.m. the following week.”

In the classes, students learn about the history, economy, art, music, languages, and cultures of Ireland. They will also research the sort of service that is needed.

Legner hopes to work with a fellow Augustinian high school in Dublin, Ireland. “So [the students] could talk to them through Skype, or email, and get ideas from them,” Legner said.

“We want to build a relationship with a school over there,” Head of the Upper School Mr. Ron Algeo said.

Similar to the students, the teachers involved in this trip will be in contact with a school. They also will be going in with the intentions of learning about Ireland and service needed.

From November 11-13, several faculty and staff, including Lenger and Algeo will be traveling to Notre Dame University in South Bend, Indiana. While there, these faculty will be viewing the university’s Irish Studies Department, and talking to university faculty about Notre Dame University’s Irish Department’s annual service trip to Ireland.

Notre Dame University will be on their service just two weeks before Malvern is set to begin its own.

“Maybe we can kind of mesh, and work with them,” Legner said. “And work on a bigger project, something they can do for two weeks, and then we can pick up for two weeks.”

Christian Service is a requirement for all students at Malvern Preparatory School. “It is an essential part of the experience here at Malvern,” Legner said.

“My hope has always been with all of the trips that this is what happens,” Legner said. “I could see the South Africa trip going to this next.”

Story produced in senior Journalism and Media Literacy elective class.