I am born on a Saturday in Tanzania, a country with the tallest volcanic mountain in Africa. A country with low-quality of public services such as health and education. I was born not long from the time or far from the place where my grandparents were forced from their homes, walking almost 1,000 miles barefoot, hungry, and thirsty, walking day and night to Tanzania. 

I am born as the Congo explodes, one year after the first war, referred to as the African world war. People who look like me keep running, forced to move from their homeland so that from the day of my birth and every day from that moment on, immigrant children like me can grow up -- can grow up, protected from abuse, and with the freedom to seek asylum. That journey led me to find a new home at Purcell Marian.

At Purcell Marian, we are educated for service, justice, peace, and integrity of creation. Since my freshman year, I’ve been an active member of the Lavatus Powell Program, which helps students meet their academic and personal needs, and also promotes justice and peace among all its students. The directors of LPP, Ms. Julie Wilke and Sr. Janet Linz, have been great mentors and advocates for justice and peace.

During my time in LPP, we've done many service projects for the community. We've made over 1,000 sandwiches and goody bags for Our Daily Bread, put together learning packets for children with special needs, and even knitted scarves last year, my favorite service project. Through all of the projects, I was able to learn alongside some of my friends and meet new people, who were really just familiar faces around the school.  

These moments meant a lot to me because they showed me the importance of community service as a way to not only benefit the community, but to connect us as human beings. Gandhi once wrote that, “the quickest way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” 

- Berice, Class of 2023

Berice is enrolled at Mount St. Joseph's University.