ALTON/GODFREY - Students from Marquette Catholic High School (MCHS) were spreading community and cheer by ringing bells for the Salvation Army on Saturday, Dec. 23, 2023.

Principal Tim Harmon explained that Mike Roberts, who teaches at MCHS and serves as the chair of the local Salvation Army Red Kettle campaign this year along with his wife Karen, approached Harmon about the project. They decided that it would be a positive team-building experience for students. From 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., students rang bells and the MCHS choir sang Christmas carols outside of the Godfrey Schnucks.

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“It [was] a good opportunity for our kids to do some good stuff,” Harmon said. “The school’s motto is ‘serviam,’ which means ‘to serve.’ A big part of what we do is we need to be providing that service element not only within the school but also outside of the school.”

Harmon explained that the students are divided into houses, which is part of a new system at MCHS meant to encourage relationships between the classes. Each house volunteered throughout the day on Dec. 23.

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“Mr. Roberts thought it would be a great idea for our community house system, the new system we started this year to try and build relationships and work on faith formation and do more outreach, for our community house system to get out there and do something in the community,” Harmon said. “I thought that was a fantastic idea…Altogether it’s been a really good program to help our students kind of come together from freshman class to senior class and kind of bring back that family element that I think Marquette has been known for historically.”

He added that the house system has encouraged more faith formation and outreach throughout the community. He hopes it continues to help build the “service mentality” that he wants to see in students.

As Christmas approaches, Harmon asks people to “remember the reason for the season” and celebrate the birth of Jesus. He hopes the bell-ringing will encourage students to help others where possible this season and beyond.

“As successful and well-off as a lot of people are just in general in life, there’s a lot of people that are having a hard time, especially at this time of year,” he added. “Any opportunity that we have, both as a school but then also as individuals in society, to try and help those that are in need, the holiday season is a time that people really do need that help. So I think a last message would just be, if a unique opportunity is presented to you to try and help somebody, get out and help people.”

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