#1StudentNWI: Forming character and giving back at La Lumiere

#1StudentNWI: Forming character and giving back at La Lumiere
By: Ruby Congleton-Giancaspro Last Updated: October 15, 2019

What’s happened: Dig Pink

La Lu’s JV and Varsity girls volleyball teams held their annual Breast Cancer Awareness Fundraiser Games. The girls put together a raffle for exciting gift baskets including a Pink Basket, Polaroid Basket, Beats Basket, and a famous homemade cheesecake. All proceeds from the event went to the Side-Out Foundation.

Breast Cancer is a big part of the La Lu community. Kasey Leake and Cindy Heffron, two beloved faculty members, fought battles against the disease. The battle against breast cancer is strenuous, to say the least, and the community is proud that two of our family members have beat cancer. Many people suffer from breast cancer and raising awareness is the least we can do. The girls strive to make the fundraiser a night to remember. Cancers of all types have taken beautiful souls too soon, and showing appreciation and awareness for those who have to fight this battle is what Breast Cancer Awareness Month is all about. La Lu’s efforts show that there are people everywhere supporting a fighter. 

What’s coming up: Freshmen trip to the Center for the Homeless

La Lumiere encourages all students and faculty to take part in serving the community. Part of the school’s mission is forming character. Throughout one’s years at La Lu, there is time to be dedicated to helping those in need. The goal of this is to show students that giving back is one of the most important acts you can do.

One of the many things students learn throughout their time at La Lu is that the smallest act of kindness can impact someone’s life in a tremendous way. Soon, the freshmen will take a trip to the Center for the Homeless. This is a new tradition started by Chad Perney last year.

“I started this to teach the freshmen the value of serving the larger community,” Perney said.

Last week, Ms. Beck and Matthew Shuck put together a drive for the Center for the Homeless, encouraging students to bring in non-perishable items like canned/boxed foods or hygiene products. Upon arrival, the students will receive a small lesson about homelessness in Northwest Indiana and homelessness as a whole. They will meet a few of the residents and split off into stations. They help out in the food pantry, clothing center, and community garden. Wherever help is needed, La Lu students try to be of assistance.

Teacher spotlight: Megan Beck

Service and faith are two extremely important aspects of the community at La Lu. All this is thanks to Megan Beck, Director of Faith Exploration. Her job entails supporting La Lu’s mission– “Forming Character, Cultivating Scholarship, and Exploring Faith.”

Originally from Martinez, California, Beck spent a lot of time outdoors and with family. The most important lessons Beck’s parents taught her and her siblings were the importance of family, giving back, and serving others. Her mother was an amazing role model growing up because she would cook dinner for those who were sick and sign her family up to volunteer at their parish or local homeless shelters.

The lessons Beck was taught growing up lead her to where she is now. She organizes morning prayer and community service events, and teaches Biblical Literacy. She also mentors Matthew Shuck (Servium Prefect) and Christian Clark (Sacristan Prefect), and holds a Wednesday elective called “Social Justice Through Service-Learning.”

Beck loves teaching and is extremely passionate about learning. She strives to inspire her students to be life-long learners. Teaching is another way for Beck to learn as well, right alongside her students. One of the most rewarding things about teaching is introducing students to popular and widely known stories they have never read before.

“They bring a fresh perspective to these ancient stories,” she said.

Beck loves to sing and play the piano. She's always had a strong love for music, and she gets to collaborate with the music teacher, Dr. Yun, in choosing the music for school liturgies.

Beck cantors for school masses and sings for her local parish. She loves to read and educate herself as much as she can. Throughout her life, she has been faced with many concussions that ultimately set her back, but she learned an extremely important lesson— empathy. The concussions she suffered from hindered her from reading and playing sports, two things she loves to do.

However, she always found positivity in a rather upsetting situation. She took up painting and found calmness within herself. At La Lu, the community loves the stories and experiences each and every person shares, as well as the advice and lessons they’ve learned along the way.

“Take time to figure out what your own unique gifts are and then share them with the world! I love getting up every morning because I’ve found a place where I can use my gifts to serve others,” Beck said. “Faith is the most important thing in my life, and I get to share that with the community at La Lumiere.”

Student spotlight: Matthew Shuck

La Lu strives to teach its students about service. The student leader the community looks to is Matthew Shuck. Shuck is one of the Crew Captains and is the 2019-2020 Servium Prefect. His role is to get students involved in service on and off-campus.

Family is something that the La Lu community cherishes greatly and for Shuck, it is especially important. From a young age, Shuck has always been taught that kindness and compassion for others goes a long way. He strives to be kind to everyone because you never know what people are going through.

As everyone knows, obstacles are bound to happen in life. Last November, he experienced a major obstacle that ultimately taught him an extremely important lesson. Shuck’s lung had collapsed, sending him to the hospital for two weeks. While this was happening, his cousin was battling cancer. Both were starting to recover, and ultimately fight for their health, which brought them out on top. These experiences taught him to be strong while also encouraging others to be strong.

The importance of kindness and perseverance can truly go a long way. Outside of La Lu, Shuck serves as a leadership counselor to inspire kids to learn and cultivate leadership skills. He strives to help the community in any way possible. Shuck shared one piece of advice—

“Be as kind and understanding to other people as you can. Everyone goes through a lot in their life, and you never know what they are dealing with. Always keep an open mind. Kindness is one of the most important things in life.”