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Ireland is new senior service trip destination for 2017

Current sophomores will have a new option when choosing their service trip destination.

As first announced at a service trip meeting for the Class of 2018 and their parents on Tuesday April 26, Ireland will be added as a service trip option next year.

But, this new addition won’t be your typical Malvern Prep senior service trip.

“We have always wanted to have service trips where the students prepare for it before they go,” said Larry Legner, Director of Christian Service.

For the new trip to Ireland, this idea will become a reality.

“The kids that are going to Ireland are going to sign up this year, but all of the other students are going to wait until next year,” Legner said.

According to Head of the Upper School Ronald Algeo the target number of students for the trip is fifteen or sixteen.

“We could get less than sixteen students, but if we get more than sixteen students we are still figuring out how we would get the number down,” he said.

According to Algeo, this would entail an application with essays and student-produced ideas for the trip.

The students who are selected for the Ireland service trip will all be put in the same theology class for their junior year.

According to Legner, the class will be the “home base” of the Ireland service trip studies. In it, students will not only learn theology, but put together a major project of what they are going to do when they are in Ireland.

When the theology class falls before community time, the students will stay in class and have an extended period in which a different teacher will come in every time.

“It will be a social studies teacher who will teach them about government of Ireland, a music teacher who will explain the music culture of Ireland, or an English teacher to illustrate the literature there,” Legner said to give examples.

However, teachers will only be giving the students background information and ideas. It will be the students themselves who determine what service they should do in order to have the most positive impact on the trip.

According to Legner, the trip will be centered in Dublin, but the students will have flexibility in choosing where they go to for service.

And when the students come home as seniors, they will pass down their experiences by teaching the next class going to Ireland.

The service trip to Ireland will take place over the last two weeks of August, in the summer between the students’ junior and senior years. Legner approximated that the trip will require students to raise $1,500.

It is currently set to replace Fiji service trip, but this could change.

According to Algeo, because many students have to go on the Fiji trip due to sports and other obligations, it is possible that one of the two groups going to the Dominican Republic will be replaced instead.

Sophomore Pat Keenan thinks that the the trip to Ireland will be a great opportunity to do service around the world.

“I think it would be really cool to do service in Ireland. I think it’s great that Malvern gives us opportunities to branch out to other regions of the world,” he said.

Keenan also thinks that the student-based planning of the trip is a great idea. “It will ensure students are interested in and passionate about the service that they are doing,” he said.

The idea of having a service trip to Ireland has been long in the making, according to Legner, and he believes that it will also provides a perfect opportunity to test this new service trip style.

Algeo hopes the new student-based approach will provide a more authentic service experience where students can fully understand what people are going through, work together to solve problems, and possibly work with other schools.

This new format is being tested in the Ireland trip, and may have long term ramifications on all the senior service trips.

“We’re going to see how it works, and if it works, then all the other trips will do the the same thing,” Legner said.

The new service trip to Ireland could lead to big changes in the way that the service trips are run, but the goal of service remains the same.

“People look at Ireland and other service locations as great vacation spots, but there are a lot of poverty and homelessness in these places,” Legner said.

About Sean Ward

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Sean is a senior at Malvern and has been a reporter for the BFC since his sophomore year. He is also a co-captain of the Rowing team and president of the Speech and Debate team. He lives in Downingtown, PA.

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