Voice of the Notre Dame Prep Saints

The Seraphim

Three alumni who serve

Grace Heigl, Staff Writer

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In addition to all of the cool jobs that NDP alumni find themselves getting, many who have graduated from here have also found themselves answering God’s calling to serve Him and others.

Campus minister Sister Yolanda Mendoza said that a lot of the students who go off and do service with their lives have come from great families, with Notre Dame Prep as the secondary education source to living out their faith.

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Garrett Riggio, Class of ’09, has been working as a leader of The Red Road Foundation for more than two years and currently lives in Florida. He said he got involved in it through “my passion since I was very young to work with kids, and I always saw the playful and joyful side to this.”

His sister adopted two 16-year-olds at the age of 25, which was when she realized she want to build orphanages with younger children who would be easier to look after.

A sponsor was paying for her to go to Cambodia, where a lot of children are orphaned or victims of sex trafficking, and when the sponsor cancelled due to illness, Riggio said he did not want her going alone, so he took a semester off playing football for University of Montana, where he had a scholarship, which he later earned back after talking to the dean about his volunteer work.

Through his work with children in Cambodia, he found that “smiling and playing with them was worth more to them, even though they were out begging for money. I also saw that these children were incredibly smart and understood business and money; they just didn’t have the direction.”

At NDP, Riggio participated in volunteer projects with the football team doing yard work for the elderly. He also said that he had a lot more opportunities as a college athlete that were almost an everyday thing. His volunteer work in college included hanging out with people’s kids and inspiring them, which sometimes lead the children to want to be athletes.

Through his service, he said that it is more about passing along the gifts he has been given. He said, “When we serve others, what we get in return is tenfold.”

He added that the community at Notre Dame Prep had a huge impact on him. “You are surrounded by a tight-knit group of people that really care about you. The teachers and others have huge faith in the Lord that guides them and makes your relationships stronger.”

The Red Road Foundation is currently partnering with a wallet company, Trayvax, to develop organic water filters for people in villages and in the United States. The profits of this project will contribute to their next project to build another school.

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One who has answered the call in a religious role is Dominic Bui, Class of ’14. He is  studying at Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio, to be a diocesan priest for the Diocese of Phoenix. With his plans to be a priest, he also said that “it is possible that God will call me somewhere else after some time in the seminary.”

He described the seminary as “training for men who have heard and answered the call from God to become priests, “similar to how the Virgin Mary said ‘yes’ to God’s plan for her.”

During his time at NDP, Dominic served in Liturgy Choir, Peer Ministry and Kairos. He said these “helped me to grow in my relationship with God through prayer.”

 

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English teacher Katie Peyman, a member of the Class of ’08, said that she has always wanted to be a teacher and even wrote in first grade that she wanted to be one. For her, becoming a teacher was not much of a choice as she has known her whole life that this is what she was meant to do.

During her time at NDP, Ms. Peyman did service at Maggie’s Place, St. Mary’s Food Bank, adopted a family for Christmas with her pom team and was in Key Club. Having always known that she wanted to be a teacher, her volunteer service “reinforced the fact that it is in my nature to help people.”

She was graduated from the University of San Diego, where she was involved in a dance team and a sorority. In college, Peyman performed with her dance team for off campus charity events. She was also involved in the leadership of holding a festival with her sorority to raise money for breast cancer awareness.

She said that NDP’s focus on the formation of the whole person, mind, body and soul, is incorporated fluidly in the daily schedule, and this is how she has been lead to be devoted to serving others. The reason she wanted to come back to NDP is “not just for teaching. It is very rewarding to help the students as a whole and really make a difference in their lives.”

Her experiences at NDP have continued to influence her outlook as a teacher. She said that some of the things that make a difference in her life now are the faculty trips and service projects that she has gone on. During these, “It all comes together,” and she said she sees the positive effect that her work has on others.

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Voice of the Notre Dame Prep Saints
Three alumni who serve