Senior Porter Volk walks into Kathleen Palermo’s classroom for CCC, which happens to be next door to his younger brother Easton’s class. Even though Volk has grown up as an older brother he claims that working with children isn’t one of his strengths.
“CCC has taught me how to work with kids,” Volk said “I’m not super great at that, so I’m improving those skills slowly.”
Four days a week, Volk returns to the elementary school he attended, Ray Marsh Elementary. CCC was not a class that immediately came to Volk’s mind when choosing his classes, but he decided upon it when there didn’t seem to be a more appealing option.
“I didn’t want to do some basic art class or Intro to Video Production,” Volk said “I didn’t want to do any freshman class so I just decided I’d do CCC.”
Since Volk has returned to his elementary school, he has really enjoyed seeing his past teachers, as well as meeting new teachers and seeing the office staff. One of the best feelings for him is when one of his older teachers or staff members remembers him from when he went there.Volk has not only noticed a change in the school and staff, but also the students.
“I think it is a little bit more diverse ” Volk said “There were far more white students when I went there and now it is more diverse.”
He also expresses the fact that he not only works with the teacher he is assigned, but also works with others and gets to help with other students. Other than working with students, Volk makes copies of papers for his teachers, disciplines the kids, takes artwork and assignments down and hangs those up.
“I really enjoy getting to leave school with my friends,” Volk said. “We have good conversations on the way there. I really like meeting new people.”
When Senior Lucy Johnson was in sixth grade, she had a CCC student, everybody loved him. That was when she decided that she wanted to be that CCC volunteer that children looked up to. Now, Johnson volunteers at that same elementary school, Rhein Benninghoven.
“I just love it so much,” Johnson said.”It’s a good getaway from school to hang out with kids. I love kids.”
Johnson claims that CCC sponsor Sarah Dent has taught her and the other students in the program how to deal with young children and to be patient. All of these lessons from Dent have helped mold the person that Johnson has become.
Helping out in the classroom is not the only thing that has sculpted Johnson’s personality. She also helps host Cappuccino Days to raise money for various families in need. In order to achieve a good grade in the CCC class, students are required to gain 20 or more hours of community service per quarter to give back to the local community.
“I love being able to give back and feel like I’m making a difference,” Johnson said.
Johnson has had many moments throughout her CCC experience that make her feel like what she is doing is seriously impacting the community. Some of her favorite instances go back to the school day, helping out in the classroom.
“I have had so many cool moments with the students” Johnson said, “I would say my favorite was when all the kids in my class made me a goodbye card at the end of 1st semester junior year, my last day at my CCC site. We ate brownies that the teacher had made for us and we just sat around and talked. The kids thanked me for everything I did, they were all so sweet and it was just an amazing moment spent with them. “
Last year, senior Maggie Habben was amazed at how much things had changed when she walked in the doors of Rhein Benninghoven for CCC. Now, Habben is in her second and final year of the CCC program.
“It was really fun because we got to revisit and relive everything,” Habben said. “Some of my teachers are still there, so it’s fun to go say ‘hi’ to them.”
Habben enjoys going back to her old school through CCC as a way to thank her past elementary teachers for all of the education that they provided her with.
“I like how I can return the favor by helping out in the classroom,” Habben said.
Habben tries to be as involved in community service as she possibly can. One of the ways that she stays tangled up in the program is by actively running Cappuccino Day. Leadership is important to Habben both inside and outside of school, where she runs a small group at her church.
Habben loved and looked up to her CCC volunteer and when she was in elementary school, and her passion for teaching began there. In fact, she hopes to continue after college with a career in teaching.
“I remember when I was in elementary school with all my cool CCC students,” Habben said. “It looked like a lot of fun and now I want to be a teacher so I get to have the classroom experience.”