Cor Unum Days: Care for Creation
Profe Sarah Walker, Upper School Spanish Teacher

Before Thanksgiving, our Upper School students participated in the first annual “Cor Unum” days. Drawing on the RCSJ foundational precept “Cor Unum in Anima Unum Corde Jesus” (One Heart and One Soul/Mind in the heart of Jesus), Forest Ridge joined other Sacred Heart schools in devoting days to a Cor Unum topic related to Catholic Social Justice teaching, with this year ours being “Care for Creation.” The first day, students had the opportunity to hear from Christian Paige, renowned speaker and activist for environmental justice, and to engage in workshops related to the topic. Some of these workshops included modeling sea level rise, making art out of trash, and learning about current climate change policy in the U.S. Students had time in advisory at both the start and end of the day to reflect on their learning, both individually and as a group. All of the students I interacted with seemed excited by both the keynote address and the workshops.

The second day, students went to different volunteer sites throughout the local area to help neighbors in need. I had the pleasure of leading the freshmen to the Friendly Mobile Home Park in Redmond, a site overseen by Catholic Community Services. There, students helped with gardening and outdoor home cleaning activities. This was the second visit to this site for them, as they volunteered here earlier in the semester as well. It was a good opportunity for them to see that yardwork is not a one-time activity, but rather one that is continually needed. Despite the rain, the students worked incredibly hard to make these spaces cleaner and brighter for the elderly residents they were helping. For the afternoon session, they wrote Thanksgiving cards to these clients, and many bravely went (optionally!) back out in the rain so they could hand deliver the notes to those whom they had helped in the morning. The day of service was a beautiful example of putting Sacred Heart values into practice, and the students seemed to genuinely enjoy the experience. To conclude the Cor Unum days, the Upper School joined the Middle School for a prayer-service led by the 8th grade. It was a wonderful way to go into the Thanksgiving break, full of joy, gratitude, and community.