This is the third year that all Legacy Christian Academy 11th grade students have taken on community service projects as part of their curriculum.
The “capstone projects” are about “cultivating Christian leaders to influence the world,” said Jake Mulvihill, principal of 7th through 12th grades at the K-12 private school in Andover. “In education, there is a lot of head knowledge, but not a lot of application of it.”
The projects are the culmination of the students’ required theology course that they take in 11th grade.
Mulvihill said the students, in this year’s case it was 38, are not directed to a specific project. They can choose whatever interests them the most.
Ken McLeod is “crazy passionate about LEGOs,” so naturally he chose a capstone project that involved the popular building blocks. “Brick depot” involved four 4th grade students putting together large LEGO kits that are too expensive for some family budgets. McLeod enjoys engineering and building things and he hopes to help cultivate the next generation of engineers by expanding the “brick depot” program to 4th through 6th grade students at Legacy Christian Academy and other schools.
“The main goal is to bring opportunities to children that otherwise wouldn’t have it,” McLeod said.
Sam Nauman recruited a dozen other students to help her knit 28 stocking hats for nine hours on a Saturday. The hats were donated to the Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis.
Nauman often sees Facebook friends “liking” a cause.
“Nobody’s actually supporting the cause that way,” she said.
Nauman chose this project because, “I like to knit and I know a lot of people who like to knit.”
Some capstone projects have continued beyond the start-up year.
The Coon Rapids police and fire departments’ Guns & Hoses hockey team has faced off against the Legacy Christian Academy Lions boys’ hockey team in an exhibition game for all three years that the school has been doing a capstone project. Donations go to the ACBC Food Shelf. Coon Rapids Police Officer Bryan Platz and his nephew Luke Stauffeneker organized the first charity event in 2012. Platz has subsequently organized the events with Gunnar Koski and Joe Olufson in 2013 and 2014 respectively.
This year’s game April 19 gathered donations of 422 pounds of food and $146. An additional 900 pounds of food was donated at collection spots at both Coon Rapids Cub Food stores in conjunction with the Guns & Hoses event.
The Coon Rapids police officers and firefighters ended up winning 7-6 in a shootout.
“It’s a good way to show God’s love through hockey,” said Olufson, who has played hockey for about 14 years and is a right wing player on Legacy’s team.
Dylan Johnson started the Anoka Hydro River WALK last year when he was in 11th grade. He is graduating June 6, but plans to keep organizing these benefits for hydrocephalus. This condition causes fluid to build up in the cavities of his brain. He has lived with it since he was 6 weeks old and now has a 6-foot long plastic tube that runs down the inside of his body to drain the excess fluid.
The inaugural walk Aug. 10, 2013 collected approximately $7,500 for the Hydrocephalus Association. Johnson’s leadership skills have made such an impression on this association that it asked him to take on a leadership role in this year’s Twin Cities hydrocephalus walk Sept. 7 at the Mall of America.
The biggest lessons these students learned from leading these capstone projects is to not be afraid to ask people for help whether seeking volunteers or donations.
“The worst thing they could say is ‘no,’” Johnson said.
Eric Hagen is at [email protected]