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Mount St. Mary Academy’s Class of 2016 averaged 110 hours per student, leading the school to a total of over 20,000 service hours.

“Mount St. Mary Academy was founded on a mission of service.” says principal, Dawn Riggie. “To see students strive to find volunteer opportunities, compete for the most service hours and ultimately receive recognition from the President of the United States shows a realization of our purpose.”

Under the leadership of Campus Ministry Director, Monica Saltarelli, the Mount St. Mary student service program will expand in the 2016-17 and focuses on the Corporal Works of Mercy.

“In helping the poor out in the community, students look at ways they can do simple things and encounter each other, using works of mercy,” says Saltarelli. ““What comes from mercy is an experience of joy.”

Service is an integral part of the school’s curriculum. Each student is required to participate in a quota of service hours, depending on her grade level. Seniors are required to perform 60 service hours, a requirement which Saltarelli feels trains students to consider service a necessary component of their adult life.

Students volunteer in their communities, parishes and even in the school neighborhood. School-organized volunteer hours have included working at St. Luke’s Mission of Mercy, an inner city mission which strives to help some of Buffalo’s neediest.

Though most volunteer hours are performed independently, many participate in school-wide initiatives including UNYTS Blood Drive, food drives and collecting Christmas gifts for the needy.

Sixty Mount St. Mary Academy students have been awarded this year’s President’s Volunteer Service Award, the nation’s highest honor of recognition for student service.

The President’s Volunteer Service Award recognizes young adults who have demonstrated exemplary citizenship through volunteering. Nineteen students received the Gold Award which recognizes 250 or more service hours performed over a 12-month time period.

The President’s Volunteer Service Awards have motivated students to volunteer more than needed for class participation. Over 25% of the student body performed substantially more service hours than the school requirement.

Mount St. Mary Academy, founded by the Sisters of St. Mary of Namur in 1927, is an all-girls Catholic college-preparatory high school located at 3756 Delaware Avenue in Kenmore. Mount St. Mary’s is consistently ranked among the top Western New York public and private high schools.

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