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BSM Students Connect With Risen Christ Students

BSM Students Connect With Risen Christ Students
  • Academics
  • Community
  • Senior High School

Nearly 150 students from Benilde-St. Margaret’s completed a month-long service project creating original, personalized bilingual stories about students at Risen Christ Catholic School in South Minneapolis. The stories were then published in book format and presented to the students at Risen Christ on Friday, April 21, 2023.

BSM and Risen Christ students share a project together.

Risen Christ students enjoy a story written by BSM students for them.


The collaborative program brings together BSM students in grades 9-12 and students in grades K-3 from Risen Christ for a morning of reading, practicing writing skills, and enjoying time together at recess.

“We’re so happy to welcome students from BSM to Risen Christ,” said Carmen Grace Poppert, Risen Christ Catholic School’s K-5 director, “The books you’ve created are unique to each student, allowing them to be part of the stories they can take home and read with their family – you’re helping them see themselves in books – thank you.”

The project, which began in 2015, provides Risen Christ students with resources created by BSM students that help strengthen the younger students’ ability to read and write in Spanish and English. At the same time, BSM students strengthen their own comprehension of Spanish while also developing their storytelling ability, design talents, and interpersonal skills by interacting with the Risen Christ students.

“There’s a lot of work invested by our students in creating these books,” said Alison Terrell, Spanish teacher and one of the organizers of the service project from BSM. “After receiving details about the Risen Christ students – their name, interests, pets, hobbies – our students create an original story in English and Spanish about them, adding graphics and features to inspire reading and interest.”

BSM and Risen Christ students enjoy time together at recess.

BSM provided two copies of each book to the students at Risen Christ. Younger students receive laminated story books to practice bilingual writing and reading skills while older students receive bound bilingual stories to practice comprehension and fluency. “Having the books in our library allow future students to learn about those who came before them,” explained Poppert. “The legacy of our students lives on in these books, so that our students can feel inspired to possibly one day become authors themselves.”

While the program was suspended during the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a lot of excitement among all students to share and receive their books. For second grader Mateo, his book was well received. “It’s a wonderful book, showing my favorite animals and the things important for me.” His book, created by Ellery Schoen, ’25 featured a story about Matteo and pandas – his favorite animal.

“I think this event helped me as a Spanish student in a variety of ways, for starters, listening to Matteo read the book to me really helped my Spanish comprehension,” said Schoen. “Writing the book made me work on my translations and working my way around what I want to say when I don't know the word I intended to say. It felt good to give and Matteo said to me "my mom is going to love this!”

BSM and Risen Christ students practice their bilingual skills together.

The project provides BSM students with a service project that helps them understand the value of building relationships with others while also applying classroom skills of service and social justice to real life situations. “This is the perfect service learning project for teenagers,” said Peg Hodapp, BSM’s director of service learning. “Helping students make connections with others is central to our LaSallian tradition at BSM – the classroom experience touches the real world in meaningful ways which truly help our students understand the value of giving of themselves to others.”

Plans are already underway for next year’s book project, as faculty at both schools collaborate on the project, its format, and goals. Teachers at Risen Christ want to help deepen the connections made between the older and younger students. “Being bilingual or multilingual is important in today’s world,” Poppert told the BSM students, adding, “These books you’ve created provide our students with adventures and inspiration, because you’re being examples for them by sharing your talents and gifts with them.”



Benilde-St. Margaret's is a Catholic, co-educational college-preparatory school serving over 1,150 students in grades 7-12 from across the Twin Cities. BSM provides a holistic education for students through a rigorous curriculum, leading-edge learning experiences, extensive co-curricular opportunities, faith formation, and a vibrant school community. Learn more about Benilde-St. Margaret’s at

Risen Christ Catholic School is a co-educational dual immersion school serving students in grades K-8 in South Minneapolis. Risen Christ offers a fully bilingual and bi-literate educational program preparing students for success in high school, college and beyond. Learn more about Risen Christ Catholic School at

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  • service-learning

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About Benilde-St. Margaret's School
Benilde-St. Margaret's (BSM) is a Catholic, co-educational private prep school for grades 7–12 located in St. Louis Park, Minnesota, that draws its over one thousand students from throughout the Twin Cities Metro Area. It is located in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis.

The mission of BSM is to educate, empower, and inspire learners within a Catholic community to lead lives of faith, achieve academic excellence, and contribute meaningfully to a global society.

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