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Red Knights Make a Difference in Guatemala

Red Knights Make a Difference in Guatemala
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  • Senior High School

17 current Red Knights spent a week in Antigua, Guatemala building homes as part of BSM’s seventh annual service learning mission trip in July 2023. The project enabled the students to experience the rich history, culture, and natural beauty of Guatemala, strengthen their language skills, and make a meaningful contribution in the lives of others.

“[When] we completed the house with the families, we got to see the joy and gratefulness on their faces,” said Frances Steichen ‘24. “We will forever remember this unforgettable moment where we were able to supply a family in need with something that will last forever.” Once construction ended, students gave housewarming gifts and, with the help of bilingual students, participated in a blessing ceremony over the families and their new homes.

The students were accompanied by BSM Spanish teachers Matthew McMerty-Brummer and Berenice Nava who organize the trip with the Dreamer Center, the Central American operational base for the God’s Child Project (GCP).

In addition to volunteering on construction sites, the Red Knights enjoyed opportunities to adventure through the country, visiting the Mayan city of Iximché, crossing Lake Atitlán, and attending Mass. McMerty-Brummer and Nava shared, “We were proud to hear so many of our students reciting the Our Father and Hail Mary in Spanish.”

One of the primary goals for the students’ service immersion trip includes working with families in the villages surrounding Antigua to collaboratively build homes and outdoor kitchen areas without the use of power tools. On their final day in Guatemala, the group visited the barren terrain of Pacaya Volcano for an early morning hike complete with lava-cooked s’mores and breathtaking views.

“We could not ask for a more amazing trip run by more wonderful people,” said Steichen. “Special thanks to MB and Profe Nava for organizing and chaperoning this trip and providing us with an unforgettable experience. We could not be more grateful!”

Members of the BSM World language department established the Guatemalan mission trip program in 2015 under the leadership of department chair Megan Hansen and in partnership with GCP. Since then, a total of 243 Red Knights have participated in the mission trips and have built 32 homes to date.

Plans are underway for next year’s trip to Guatemala which is open to all current 9-11 grade students. An informational meeting will be held in January 2024 for interested students. Families can also contact Matt McMerty-Brummer or Berenice Nava for more information.  

  • 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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