From April 17–24, we celebrated our annual Justice Summit, which is meant to provide increased awareness of a social justice topic for all members of our community by creating immersive educational experiences involving experiential learning, prayer & reflection, as well as service and advocacy. This year's theme is a continuation from last year's summit, which was canceled due to COVID-19—Caring For Our Common Home: Challenging the Throwaway Culture.
Several students kicked off the week by planting 75 trees at the Loch Raven Skeet & Trap Center with the Gunpowder Valley Conservancy on Saturday, April 17. The GVC has a 90% success rate for tree survival and has planted thousands of trees in the Gunpowder watershed. Peter Lukish '21 organized the event with fellow seniors Brian Clagett, Tommy Hirsch, Josh Edwards, Tyler Brady, Chris Fleschner, Mateen Kane, Will Stocksdale, Julian Javillo, and Sean Reiners.
On Monday, April 19, our school community took part in a campus-wide Mass led by Fr. Steggert. During Mass, Fr. Steggert blessed one of three trees that was planted next to our track throughout the week. Several Dons helped plant that tree after school on Monday.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, students had the opportunity to attend a special viewing of Mossville: When Great Trees Fall in Wheeler Lounge, a 2019 documentary that tells the story of a centuries-old black community in Louisiana laid waste by a chemical company, and of the residents who refuse to leave. Students in our Environmental Club also organized a campus cleanup after school on Wednesday.
The culmination of our Justice Summit took place on Thursday as we celebrated Earth Day with a special assembly featuring guest speakers Sasha Adkins, PhD, MPH (Institute of Environmental Sustainability, Loyola University Chicago), Adam Lindquist (Director of Healthy Harbor, Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore) and Destiny Watford (2016 Goldman Environmental Prize Winner). They shared their passion for environmental sustainability and conservation with our students, faculty, and staff. You can watch the Justice Summit Assembly in its entirety below.
After school on Thursday, several of our students organized an Interscholastic Earth Day Summit with students, faculty, and staff from Georgetown Prep, Gonzaga College High School, and Cristo Rey Jesuit High School to examine our call to be a force for environmental good. The summit fostered an environment of vibrant discussion in breakout rooms and culminated in a revitalized strive for change so that we can return back to our communities with a collective vision to fortify environmental justice.
Additionally, throughout the month of April, our Introduction to Engineering students have been developing products that they believe address an area in our society where materials are wasted, neglected, or misused. This project coincided with the theme of our Justice Summit. Students developed a variety of prototype solutions, which were on display in the lobby of Burk Hall throughout the week.
A special thanks to our students and our Director of Ignatian Service Mrs. Beth Ann Szczepaniak who spent several months planning our 2021 Justice Summit. You can learn more about how the Justice Summit connects to our mission here.