Share this story

Giving Back - Not Words, but Deeds

By Presentation High School

Giving Back - Not Words, but Deeds

Presentation High graduate Isabella Correa of Gilroy, Ca. learned about the foundations of faith while attending Catholic school as a child. However, it wasn't until she took her two favorite high school courses, moral theology, and social justice, that she began to actively look for ways to help improve the world in her daily life.

After studying Pope Francis' powerful encyclical letter, which linked climate change to overconsumption, Isabella, who is starting her freshman year at Stanford University, served as co-president of The Tech Interactive's Tech for Global Good Student Board. In that role, Isabella helped plan and facilitate the 2021 Youth Climate Action Summit. The virtual event featured dozens of workshops, keynotes, and speaker panels and was attended by 900 students worldwide. During the year-long planning, Isabella, just 17, called and Zoomed with educators, scientists, and CEO's. In addition, she completed a virtual internship at The Climate Museum in New York City.

"Interning at the museum and planning a big summit felt really good because my faith aligned with issues I'm passionate about," said Isabella. "I wasn't just saying I like the planet and condemn climate change; I put in an effort to make a difference in my community."

Similarly, after studying education disparity, Isabella thought: Now what? What am I going to do with what I've learned? Guided by Presentation's mission and motto, "Not Words, but Deeds," Isabella volunteered as a bilingual homework coach at MLK Library. She wrote original lesson plans and tutored underserved 5th graders through the Read, Write, Discover program.

As she closed her high school career, Isabella will hold dear the many faith-based opportunities afforded her at Pres, including her involvement in peer ministry, a program designed to deepen the spiritual experience of its members. She found the intimate faith-sharing "Angel Groups" (comprised of 5-6 students of varying grade levels) particularly rewarding. "Everyone listened to each other's ideas, and it was a great place to get and give advice," said Isabella.

Isabella appreciated the opportunity to learn and grow with classmates of all faiths. "It was cool to see some of the overlaps in our traditions, and [this exposure] taught me and a lot of my Catholic classmates to see the world from a more open-minded place and be more compassionate and flexible with our perspectives," she said. She noted in her upper-division classes that she learned about social injustices worldwide, including the garment industry and water and food scarcity. This exposure helped her shift from a small, specific Catholic perspective to a more global perspective. "I learned that just because someone isn't Catholic doesn't mean they're any less worthy of our help and support," she said.

"Isabella is an example of what we at Presentation High School strive to accomplish with all of our students. We encourage our students to grow academically, but most importantly, to give back to our community," said Holly Elkins, President of Presentation High School.

Giving Back - Not Words, but Deeds 2