Students Learn and Serve on Alternative Break

by Katie Bradley | Mar 30, 2017

Many Knights spent their spring breaks out of the classroom but still learning. Through the Alternative Break Program, students traveled to Appalachia, New Mexico, and Puerto Rico to immerse themselves in different cultures and serve the local communities.

"Alternative Break is an opportunity to humbly walk with others as God walks with us," Jeanne Grammens Hidalgo, advisor to students leading and participating in the trips,  said. "The important part of this opportunity is students' willingness to say yes to experience the uncomfortable, to go outside the realm of the familiar, and be present to another. That is where the transformation occurs, just as Pope Francis and Jesus said!"  

 Here's a look at each group's experience:

Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico

"Alternative Break is an experience second to none. You not only get to meet new, really cool people from Marian, but you also get to discover yourself,"said Victoria Yagodinski, a junior double majoring in biology and chemistry. "It is the perfect balance of community service, spirituality, and work. You will never leave an alternative break feeling the same as when entered into it."

Victoria co-led the alternative break trip to Puerto Rico, where highlights included exploring the National Rainforest El Yunque, spending time with veterans at a veterans nursing home, and working with missionaries at Camp Caribe.

"I learned the meaning of serving God through hearing the life stories of the missionaries working at Camp Caribe and how they got there," Morgan Stricker, co-leader of the trip and a junior double majoring in biology and chemistry, said. "The whole trip was a positive experience. Whether it was jumping off cliffs in the rainforest, learning to cement and build walls, or going to the local frappe stand for a cool treat, it was all memorable." 

Tohatchi, New Mexico

Tohatchi trip 

"The trip was one of the greatest weeks of my life," said Shelby Lefeld, a junior majoring in psychology with a social work concentration and a pastoral leadership minor. "I am so grateful for the opportunity to experience Tohatchi. Not only did I learn a lot about the Navajo people and their culture, but I was also able to connect with fellow students and the faculty advisors who attend the trip." 

Shelby co-led the alternative break trip to Tohatchi, New Mexico, where students spent time working alongside the Navajo community and even had the opportunity to participate in a "sweat," which is a traditional ceremony and spiritual ritual of the Navajo people. 

Appalachia (Campton, Kentucky)

 Campton trip

"I learned so much about the culture of Appalachia this year," Lexy Griggs, a junior majoring in nursing said. "During the trip, we spent time with the people of Campton and that helped me learn even more."  

​Lexy co-led the alternative break trip to Campton, Kentucky, where students immersed themselves in the culture of Appalachia, serving the local community and also hiking the beautiful mountains the area is known for.  

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