News Post

Students Join SJA-Cleveland on NOLA Mission Trip

St. Joseph’s Academy students partnered with students from sister school St. Joseph Academy in Cleveland for a mission-trip experience in New Orleans. The trip took place June 3-8. 

The students served the dear neighbor at Love in Action Outreach, a New Orleans food bank; ArcGNO, a Mardi Gras bead recycling center; and Akili Academy, an elementary school located in the Upper 9th Ward. The group was accompanied by SJA faculty member Nicole Lane. 

In their spare time, the SJA students enjoyed sharing the culture and cuisine of New Orleans while creating friendships and memories with the Cleveland girls. SJA students especially enjoyed introducing their counterparts to red beans and rice, crawfish, snowballs and beignets. 

Mission trip participants also toured the Catholic Cultural Heritage Center, enjoyed time in the French Quarter and visited City Hall to learn about the act of land donation by the Congregation of St. Joseph to the City of New Orleans for the development of the Mirabeau Water Garden project. The land is the site of the former convent and land of the Sisters of St. Joseph on Mirabeau Avenue. The water garden will be used for storm water management to enhance and protect the Gentilly neighborhood. 

“The girls worked very hard to serve those who are less fortunate,” Lane said. “By serving the people of New Orleans, our girls saw the need in that community and were able to strengthen their compassion for others.”

Junior Caroline Causey said she particularly enjoyed getting to know the SJA-Cleveland students. “Our SJA girls from up North fit in perfectly with our girls,” she said. “They are truly our sisters. At night, we would sit in a big circle to have a meal and prayer time. Everyone would go around and talk about the best parts of their day and any lessons we may have learned. The thing that made this trip meaningful was knowing that there are girls from across the country who are striving to serve the dear neighbor just as we are. I know that I have made lifelong relationships with people I would have most likely never met if I had not gone on this mission trip.” 

Junior Celia Dooley said the group’s work at all three venues was eye-opening and helped her realize how fortunate she and her classmates are. She said the time spent with her Cleveland counterparts was memorable. “It was a blessing to meet the SJA-Cleveland girls,” she said. “Many times we laughed and joked about how funny the other sounded, but we definitely bonded on a meaningful level. I know I have made some lasting friendships, and I plan to visit Cleveland soon so I can reconnect with all of the girls I met.”

Mindy Brodhead Averitt
Communications Director