Volunteers prepare some 5,000 sandwiches Aug. 22 for the Lebanese army, which is waging an offensive against an Islamic State enclave. CNS photo/Mother Agnes Mariam of the Cross

Speaking Out: Answering my call to serve

By  Vincent Pham, Speaking Out
  • October 13, 2017
I didn’t know what it meant to truly serve others until I became a part of student council.


The student council has played a big part in my extra-curricular life from Grade 7 to now as a Grade 11 student at Chaminade College School. As a student council member, I must commit to attending weekly meetings after school and taking part in all events hosted by the council.

Chaminade’s Student Council hosts many events throughout the year, from monthly hot dog lunches and civvies days to annual events such as the homecoming football game in early October and the annual clubs’ barbecue in June. These events have one main goal: to serve the school community.

There are days when I want to go out with friends or simply have time to myself after a long school week, but my commitment to student council comes first. To truly serve, you cannot pick and choose the things you like to do and disregard the things you don’t like. That is the price to be of good service to others.

I am grateful to work with others who share my views and hopes, and are committed to serving the school community. But being a council member can be tough.

Recently, student council was helping with the homecoming football game. Some students were responsible for tickets at the doors, some were emcees for the event and others, like myself, were tasked with preparing hamburgers and hot dogs.

Grilling over 600 hot dogs, filling the hot dog buns and serving them wasn’t as easy as I thought. There were a lot of people waiting for their free hot dog and some complained about their food being cold. No one really wants togo through the trouble of reheating someone’s hot dog, especially if there is a long line behind them.

Nevertheless, I did see a lot of people who enjoyed the food and the homecoming game. Seeing the smiles eased my frustration and motivated me to move on with service, knowing that I made somewhat of a difference.

Council members are not only committed to serving others but also to helping their fellow members to serve through encouraging words and hands-on support.  All council members try to be less self-centred and focus more on bringing each other’s spirits up.  After all, what is the point of participating in any ministry if people are self-centred?

When we become less self-centred and “step out of the box” to serve others, our service becomes much more meaningful. To see another person benefitting from the work I have done not only puts joy in that person’s heart, but also in mine.

Your call to serve is right at your fingertips. It can begin in your own family, school, workplace and parish. Don’t sit around with your phone or computer — get on your feet, go out and answer the call to serve!

(Pham, 16, is a Grade 11 student at Chaminade College School, Toronto.)

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