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Loyola seniors give back through service

January 15, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
Most high schools require some hours of community service, but there's one in Los Angeles that has made community service part of its curriculum.The Senior Service Project at Loyola High School takes 300 students out of the classroom for three weeks in January.

For the past 30 years, each senior at the Jesuit all-boys prep school just west of downtown spends 85 hours in schools, shelters or agencies, mostly in the inner city.

Once a week, the seniors gather in small groups back at school to reflect and share experiences.

"I just feel so fortunate to said to give back," Loyola senior Ricky DaSilva. "I've gained a lot of experience from it."

The intensity of their time gives the service more meaning. It is a course in social action and awareness.

At Homeboy Industries, founded by a Loyola graduate, seniors work in the bakery alongside former gang members who are finding new lives through the program.

School service is not just the senior project. By the time a student graduates from Loyola, they will have served at least 150 hours in four years.

All together in the last 20 years, Loyola students have donated more than 1 million hours of community service.

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