Focusing on others: Projects are part of Catholic school’s tradition

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Zach Spicer, The Tribune/ St. Ambrose Catholic School second-grader Landon Fugate makes a craft to give to a veteran Tuesday as part of a National Catholic Schools Week project.

Time, talents and treasures are focal points for students and staff at St. Ambrose Catholic School in Seymour.

That’s especially evident each year during National Catholic Schools Week.

One day of that special celebration is devoted to community service projects, which take place inside and outside the school building.

This year’s projects, conducted Tuesday, included sixth-graders helping with various tasks at the Jackson County Public Library, fourth- and fifth-graders cleaning gymnastics equipment and organizing rooms at Girls Inc. of Jackson County and eighth-graders visiting the Ronald McDonald House in Indianapolis.

In the school’s gymnasium, seventh-graders helped kindergartners through third-graders make crafts to give to nursing home residents and veterans.

Collectively, they took time to share their talents, which will be treasured by others.

“Part of our mission is to help others,” fifth-grade teacher Kim Stewart said. “It just reaffirms what they are learning about — helping other people and giving time and giving back to the community. This is one way we are giving our time today.”

Tennille Chandler, a third-grade teacher at the school, organized the activities in the gym.

At one table, students cut out red paper hearts and added a star and stripes to look like a flag. On the back, they wrote a personal message to thank veterans for their service.

At the other tables, students made heart-themed crafts for nursing home residents.

“Normally, they make the craft, and they get to keep it, and they are excited about that,” Chandler said. “But I said, ‘Today isn’t about us. We’re going to make somebody else’s day and put a smile on somebody else’s face.'”

She said local nursing homes often contact the school about having students make crafts for residents to hang up.

“Whenever we do deliver them, they are super excited,” Chandler said. “I wish for the kids that we could take a trip over there and they actually get to see that, but just knowing that they are making it for somebody else, they are excited about that, too. It gives them pride to know they are doing something for someone else. That’s what we’re about, just spreading that love and being kind to others.”

For St. Ambrose students, community service extends beyond National Catholic Schools Week.

Donations are collected throughout the school year for various causes, and middle school students help Community Provisions of Jackson County, Anchor House Family Assistance Center and Food Pantry and Meals on Wheels on a monthly basis.

Read the full story in Friday’s Tribune and online at

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Zach Spicer is a reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. He can be reached at or 812-523-7080.