Student life: On the border

KINO Border Initiative is eye-opening for NDP students


Senior Sean Lillis shared some insights on his KINO experience (John Byrne/The Seraphim)

By John Byrne, Staff Writer

Shivering in the freezing, winter darkness, a few Notre Dame Preparatory students arrived on campus at 5:00 a.m. on Dec. 1 to depart for Nogales, Sonora, Mexico. The KINO Border Initiative is a service trip designed to help NDP students understand the dignity and backgrounds of deported immigrants and current migrants. After approximately three hours of driving, the students, accompanied by Señora Santaella, crossed the Mariposa Port of Entry into Mexico, and proceeded to the dining house, where they served migrants and recent deportees from Arizona.

“Normally, there are a lot of deported Mexicans,” said Santaella. “ . . . This time, there were a lot of Central Americans: people from Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador. They were about to try to cross the border and get into America.”

After feeding the migrants a soup and tortilla breakfast, the students  went to a shelter to hear heart-breaking stories of poor migrants. Next, they walked around Nogales to eat lunch and learn about migration and border security.

“It’s absolutely incredible,” exclaimed senior Sean Lillis. “We just don’t appreciate how lucky we are. Some of the stories I heard on that trip are heart-breaking. I don’t think people ever stop to think about why these immigrants are risking their lives to come to America.”      

After a long day of walking, the students returned to the dining house to serve dinner before re-entering the United States. Following a much- needed pit stop at a Jack In The Box in Tucson, the students pulled into NDP’s parking lot around 9:30 p.m. to conclude a life-changing excursion.