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Wednesday, December 12 , 2018, 12:56 am | Fair 45º


Cate Students Use Grants for Service Projects at Home and Abroad

Luca Kim, Maddie Erickson win Mark Metherell ’87 Memorial Service Challenge funding

Maddie Erickson will run three lacrosse camps around Carpinteria.
Maddie Erickson will run three lacrosse camps around Carpinteria. (Courtesy photo)

“I will try my absolute best to execute a successful project that will spark a positive change in the lives of these children,” said Cate School junior Luca Kim of his planned service trip to Guatemala this summer.

Kim and fellow Cate School classmate Maddie Erickson (both class of 2019) are this year’s recipients of grants provided by the Mark Metherell ’87 Memorial Service Challenge.

Named in memory of Metherell, who died in 2008 while training and supporting Iraqi special forces, the challenge has given Cate students the opportunity to underwrite a service project of their design for the past eight years.

Students are awarded $5,000 for their projects, which in the past have ranged from building a playground in Montana to a water filtration system in Southeast Asia.

Kim’s project will take him back to Guatemala, to the Hogar Casa de Ángel orphanage and school, where he spent his Thanksgiving break teaching music, art and English. This summer, he will continue the work he started with the orphans, many of whom he says have endured traumatic experiences.

“Music seemed to be a way to cope with their feelings and express their pain and struggle,” Kim said.

He plans to use his Metherell grant to renovate a classroom into a music room and purchase instruments for a wind band. With a music teacher on staff, the long-term plan is to incorporate music into the curriculum.

Kim, a gifted cellist, was selected from some 1,000 international student musicians to perform with the Honors Performance Series at the Sydney Opera House this summer.

While he is eager to share his musicality with the Guatemalan orphans, he said he is most excited to see their growth through practice and playing their own instruments.

Erickson’s project, like Kim’s, is building off prior service, though hers will take place closer to home.

In 2016, Erickson and classmate Brie Walker (class of 2018) both avid lacrosse players, devoted one afternoon a week to teaching the sport to girls from Canalino Elementary School.

This summer, Erickson is using her Metherell grant to run three lacrosse camps at four different locations around Carpinteria.

She recognizes that sports opportunities are more limited for young girls than boys, and she hopes to use her role to inspire confidence and healthy habits to her young squad, who chose the team name Carpinteria Flames in honor of the tragic events related to the Thomas Fire.

“I am so grateful to have the opportunity to grow this program," Erickson said. "The girls have become such a big part of my life, and I can't wait to give them an opportunity they otherwise wouldn't have access to.”

“This year's Metherell Service Challenge proposals were impressive in two ways," said Will Holmes, Cate's director of public service.

"More proposals were submitted this year than ever before. Also, the quality of the four finalists was the best yet. After reading all of the proposals, each of the students did a presentation in front of the selection committee,” he said.

This year marks the first time two grants are awarded. “Being able to select two grant award winners this year helped make difficult decisions a little easier," he said.

"It is fun that Maddie Erickson is doing her grant work in Carpinteria, which is a nice balance to the other award recipient, Luca Kim, who is doing his project in Guatemala," Holmes said.

"Luca had already volunteered at the orphanage, and the details and plans of his project were spot on. Maddie’s grant is going to ensure the long-term sustainability of the lacrosse program,” he said.

Jose Powell, director of multiculturalism and inclusion, who sits on the Metherell selection committee said, “We were quite fortunate to consider an impressive range of compelling submissions.

"The projects varied from ecological; ride-share challenges; athletics; an introduction to music; landscape preservation, and more," he said.

"The research the candidates presented was eye-opening and revealed the breadth of need that many have across our world. Cate School students are eager to engage in closing this chasm,” Powell said.

— Joe Gottwald for Cate School.

Cellist Luca Kim will work with orphans in Guatemala. Click to view larger
Cellist Luca Kim will work with orphans in Guatemala. (Courtesy photo)

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