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Students to serve local neighborhoods on annual Intercambio and New Orleans trips

During the summer break, 42 students will embark on national and international community service trips. Thirty of those students will travel to New Orleans, La., for a week to repair houses damaged by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Twelve other students will travel to Argentina and Uruguay for five weeks on the annual Intercambio trip.

Moderated by mathematics teachers Matthew Baham and Paul Pascale ’78, social science teacher Levi Line and English teacher Christine Alcantar, students participating in the New Orleans Summer Immersion trip will be in Louisiana from June 10-17.

In addition to building homes, students will dine at local traditional Cajun food restaurants and tour Loyola University New Orleans.

Baham has been a part of the New Orleans Summer Immersion trip for the past six years.

“Louisiana is a diverse community, and the people who live there are very personable. Helping out the people in Louisiana gives me joy every single year go there,” Baham said.

Sophomore Pavle Trapani said, “I wanted to go on the New Orleans Summer Immersion because my friends who went on it last year recommended it not only for the service but also helping those in need.”

During the same week, twelve students will depart to Argentina to participate in the five-week Intercambio, accompanied by Community Service Director Tom Zeko, theology teacher Jack Krouse, S.J., Spanish teacher Ana de Castro and fine arts department chairwoman Cristina Saggese.

The Intercambio trip will take place over five weeks during summer break from June 9 to July 16. Through the cultural immersion, students will live with host families whose children attend Colegio Del Salvador and Colegio San Javier in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Colegio Seminario in Montevideo, Uruguay.

The group will attend classes at these schools and at Pachacutí, a service camp where students will build houses and other construction projects. While the group is in Argentina and Uruguay, participants will be able to tour the local community by attending sporting events, visiting art museums and sampling various local cuisines.

Saggese, who will be participating in the Intercambio for her third time, said, “I can’t go somewhere exotic like Argentina and Uruguay without learning something new every time I go there. I am able to watch students grow not only as a student but as a man for others.”

The Intercambio trip requires participants to have an understanding of Spanish as they will be living with Spanish-speaking residents. “The Intercambio would also be a great opportunity for me to practice my Spanish also since my family mostly speaks Spanish, and  I wanted to get better at speaking Spanish since I do not speak it as often as my family does,” junior Antonio Gomez said.

Zeko said, “These summer trips are all about language, culture and service. Interacting and integrating with the local community allow the students to gain a deeper understanding of the world around them.”


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