Katy Noetzel is a 2nd year LV serving at De Marillac Academy in San Francisco, California. Katy is a 2013 graduate of Loyola University Chicago.
There are few things that truly scare a 22-year-old. Come this time of the year, interviews are the scariest thing a person can face. Friends are buzzing with talk of jobs and applications for “the real world.” All too soon, graduation creeps up and these interviews start becoming the real deal.
Fortunately, the Lasallian Volunteers application process is unique in every way. As I was applying, I was aware that every step of the application process was special. My friends were saying how stressful it was to go on five job interviews a week, and always hearing the same negative news. I didn’t want to tell my stressed out friends, but I felt through my process of applying to be a Lasallian Volunteer, I was discovering the person I had become throughout college, and I was appreciating the amazing education I had received. The application had me evaluate the importance of everyday things. I was discerning life choices that I had always taken for granted. I slowly started to view the world a little differently.
After pouring endless, wonderful hours into my application, I was feeling very confident about where I stood in terms of where I was mentally and spiritually in my last semester of senior year. Not too long after, I was notified about scheduling an interview as part of the application process. It would be a phone interview with a Lasallian Volunteers alum. For some strange reason I felt completely at ease when I was informed that it would last an hour and a half. After writing my entire application I knew that I would have answers to complicated questions that could come my way.
The day of my interview came and I was so excited. I had written in bright, loud colors in my assignment planner warning me of the time it would be. After my last class, I walked to the library and rented out a quiet study room. I walked three floors up, set up my study room, and took a deep breath. I knew this interview stood between me and a future that I had longed for.
Sitting as comfortably as I could in a college library chair, the phone rang. I answered, my voice shaking, but a friendly voice welcomed me on the other end. My nerves were on overload as he asked me about my day. But as the interview got started and he asked me questions that I could really relate to, I felt much better about the situation. The interview was divided into three different categories: faith, service, and community. Within these categories there were questions that were similar to those of the application. I felt very comfortable answering these questions. The secret to my level of comfort? I talked from my heart. There were times that I was laughing telling a story that related to the question. There were times where I had to ask for a moment to think, and sometimes the silence between us helped me to understand what I needed to say. Overall, I was 100 percent honest with my answers, even if I was afraid of sharing something out loud.
The application process for Lasallian Volunteers was a great transition into the journey I am on now. I had to evaluate my priorities and experiences with faith, service, and community. It helped me to discern my college experience and the choices I wanted to make after graduation. My advice for the interview process is this: Take a deep breath, go to the library, and speak from your heart. Let God help you with your words and get ready for the adventure.
Samantha Hyland is a 1st year LV serving at De Marillac Academy in San Francisco, CA. She is a 2013 graduate of La Salle University in Philadelphia, PA.
Service Site: Saint Raphael Academy in Pawtucket, RI
University: The Catholic University of America
What do you do?
I’m a physical education teacher, tutor, assistant athletic director, girls varsity soccer assistant coach, Freshmen Class moderator, and after-school program coordinator
Have you noticed any signs of success in your work?
I witness signs of success on the faces of my students nearly every day. Whether it’s the moment that a student’s eyes light up after finally grasping the concept of an angle bisector during our fourth or fifth tutoring session, the tangible improvement in another student’s ability to bump, set, or spike a volleyball when just last week they might run from a moving ball in fear, the satisfaction on the faces of the Freshmen class officers upon planning their Freshmen-Sophomore semi-formal, or the palpable pride manifested in a beaming smile on the face of a soccer player who just netted her first varsity goal, my students experience successes large and small each day. These are successes that I am blessed as a Lasallian Volunteer to share in.
Give an example of a time when you knew you were making a difference.
Volunteering as an assistant coach for the Saint Ray’s girls’ varsity soccer team this Fall was one of the most gratifying experiences of my life, and a time when I knew I was making a difference. I learned that young athletes and young people in general respond to a teacher or coach’s behavior as much as their words, so I participated fully in every activity, drill, or sprint. I learned how to provide effective, honest feedback that inspired consistency and growth and watched as the team gelled more closely than any team I had ever been a part of. Further, I learned how to communicate my enthusiasm for a sport to the Lady Saints and watched them mirror that passion on the pitch and, more importantly, in the classroom. When our team, undefeated through 13 games, lost in the second round of the Rhode Island state tournament I watched a team of young ladies lose with grace. I experienced an entirely new sense of pride as a coach of that team, and am grateful to have impacted my community, if only in a small way.
Was there a moment where you felt accepted by your students?
As the second half of the school year progresses, I am beginning to feel an acute sense of trust between my students and me. On most days, students that I used to have to probe with “How are you today gentlemen?” and “Ladies, did anything exciting happen this weekend?” They feel more comfortable sharing that they’re excited for their basketball game tonight or that they participated in an acting showcase this weekend before I even have to ask. When a particularly gruff student exclaimed, “Mr. O guess how many detentions I’ve gotten this year! Three! This time last year I had 20!” I knew that their willingness to share their past shortcomings and current success was a sign of trust, and I shared with the student that I was proud of them. Lastly, when a stellar athlete that once excluded their peers who were less familiar with a sport or activity in PE class now patiently includes their classmates and shows them the ropes, I understand that they respect me and my expectations set forth for them, and are fulfilling their leadership potential. These small interactions challenge me to improve the relationships that I foster with Saint Ray’s students, and make me feel like an accepted member of the St. Ray’s community.
What would you say to a friend from home who questioned why you chose to live with the Brothers?
I would tell them that the Brothers are invaluable members of our community. Through not only their words but their actions, they inspire me to be the best LV, young Catholic, and young man that I can be.
Why would you recommend the LV program to a college senior considering volunteering?
I would recommend the LV program for a few reasons. First, I am genuinely excited about going to work every day and that is a phenomenal feeling. Second, I face and overcome new challenges every day, something critical to my personal growth. Lastly, I feel supported by the LV network, whether by my Community or Site Director, LV Staff, or community members, I know that they have my back.
Why would you recommend a contribution to the LV Program from a prospective donor?
I would recommend a contribution from a prospective donor because of the tangible, positive impact that this program creates in the communities in which LV’s serve, and in the hearts and minds of LV’s like me—someone who is experiencing the most fulfilling opportunity of my life.
How would you like to continue your involvement with the Lasallian family after your time with the Lasallian Volunteers?
Aside from my involvement in the lives of lifelong friends and mentors that I have made this year, I will search for Lasallian communities wherever I am, and be an active participant in those communities. I would also like to be an active participant in the LVs Run for years to come!