BY HANNAH KESTLY
On Wednesday, April 30, 134 fifth-grade students from St. Anthony School in Milwaukee visited the St. Norbert College campus as part of this year’s TRIPS Urban Education: Milwaukee reorientation project.
During the 2013–2014 school year, SNC’s TRIPS (Turning Responsibility Into Powerful Service) program sent two trips to work at St. Anthony School in Milwaukee as part of the urban education social justice issue. The first trip went in December and the second went over spring break in March.
The goal of the reorientation project was to give St. Anthony School students an opportunity to explore a college outside of an urban setting, as many of the students had never even been outside of Milwaukee.
Katherine Spude ’14, Katie Stewart ’14, Allyson Bills ’14 and Hannah Sternig ’15 were the four TRIPS leaders that that spent months of planning to organize the visit day, with help from the Sturzl Center as well.
SNC students volunteered to help make the day run smoothly. From leading tour groups, facilitating discussion about college and SNC or having a casual conversation with the fifth-graders while they ate lunch, the efforts of the SNC students helped to make the day an overall success.
The fifth graders’ visit to SNC started off with their arrival at Old St. Joe’s Church for Sacred Hour. They were welcomed afterwards by President Thomas Kunkel and Allyson Bills.
One SNC student in particular also played a large role in making the St. Anthony visit day a success—Jose Castillo ’17, a student of the first graduating class of St. Anthony high school and the first student from St. Anthony to attend SNC.
After Kunkel’s welcome, Castillo participated in a short question and answer session for the fifth graders and expressed his excitement for their visit.
“I’m glad that St. Norbert and St. Anthony are beginning to form this relationship,” said Castillo. “It’s a new era for Hispanic education and it’s great that we’re getting a start in diversifying that.”
The rest of the day was divided into three rotations. All of the fifth-grade students were given a short campus and residence hall tour, went to the library to participate in a question and answer session with current SNC students and tour the broadcasting room in the Mulva Studio and ate lunch in Michels Commons.
“When St. Anthony School visited it was complete success! The students were in awe of St. Norbert College and everything that was offered here” said Bills.
Continuing to reflect on the day, Bills commented, “My favorite part about serving as a TRIPS leader for the Urban Education social justice issue was that I simply love being around kids and therefore there was no other place for me to serve. Being a teacher is all I ever wanted to be and this trip made such an impact on my own life that I am even considering applying to teach in an Urban setting—don’t tell my mom.”
“The St. Anthony visit day was a huge success from the point of view of the leaders. All of the students enjoyed their time on campus, and they seemed to learn a lot about college and what college is like as well,” said Sternig. “Almost all of the students said that they wanted to come to St. Norbert when they are ready to choose a college.”
Reflecting on her experience in serving as a TRIPS leader, Sternig commented “The thing that I liked best about leading the urban education trip to Milwaukee was being able to help other college students to understand the difficulties of teaching in an urban school, and some of the social injustices that come with it. We watched all of the participants learn and grow throughout the week, and it was simply an amazing experience.”