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Playing It Forward

Background

The early seeds of The Servite Play It Forward 100 Years program were sown in Spring 2017
as a way to engage Servite alumni with the Freshman Formation Weekend, which was in need
of funding for student bibles. Brendan Ronan (then Director of Formation) and Steffanie Early
(then Director of Annual Giving and Alumni Relations) contacted Mike Freeman from the Class
of 1971 about support from his class for the Class of 2021, who would graduate 50 years after
his class.
Mr. Freeman felt a more personal connection rather than just giving money would be more
meaningful for himself, his classmates and hopefully the Servite students. So the Class of 1971
bought the Bibles for the Class of 2021. Then, a few months later, at a 1971 alumni gathering at
Rick and Karen Julian's Home, Mr. Freeman proposed the concept of Play It Forward 100 years
to his classmates. There the effort was born with the Class of 1971 engaging with the Class of
2021 throughout their 4 years at Servite as both classes being the “pioneers” of this project.
The program serves to re-connect alumni with Servite and see the benefits of today’s Servite
education; to illustrate to current students the lifelong brotherhood shared by Servite Friars; and
to reinforce to both classes the value of a Servite education and a values-centered life. 

Program Highlights

Freshman Year

Freshman Formation Weekend:
Alumni donate $25 to pay for a bible for an incoming freshman. The bibles have bookplates recognizing the donor class. Experience has been that many of the alumni will fundraise among themselves to a target goal depending upon
the number of freshman students. Participating in Formation weekend is a huge and very worthwhile time commitment for alumni to actually engage with their chosen class.

Parent Meeting/Social - Alumni are invited to address the parents to share their
experience of brotherhood and introduce themselves. This is a wonderful and fun activity
that can get the parents support behind Servite and this program.

Saturday Bonfire Talk - An alumni speaker will work closely with the Director of
Freshman Formation to craft and deliver a talk about faith & brotherhood to the students.

Closing Mass - Alumni are invited to attend and celebrate the closing Mass as their
new brothers are officially welcomed into the Servite family. 

Sophomore Year

Sophomore Formation Day - Alumni to attend and participate as panelists, join for lunch
and fun activities. The more alumni that attend the better! Another opportunity to share about
the Servite brotherhood and its uniqueness and impact on our lives. Servite students love to
hear about what Servite was like when the alumni attend it.

Formation Auto Repair lesson - alumni share a lesson on changing tires,
jumpstarting a car, etc. (Lunch with selected sophomores included.) This takes about Half a day
with a different parts of the class attending at different times. As we talked about fixing
flat tires, jumpstarting cars, etc. Alumni share some of their own car breakdown stories,
predicaments and solutions so the students understand this is real world stuff!

Junior Year

Kairos - alumni will be invited to write letters to students on Kairos. Alumni who have
attended a Kairos or Cursillo retreat or similar may be considered for small group leader
positions. Alumni may also be utilized as kitchen help for selected retreats. All participation is
valued and worthwhile for everyone involved.

Senior Year

Aspire speakers - alumni to serve as presenters for the Aspire Initiative. This program
was developed by student request to help them get a foundation for managing their finances
and career development and is an outstanding opportunity for alumni to interact with the
students, share their success stories and mistakes, etc over the span of several weeks.

Senior theology talk backs - alumni speakers return to discuss life’s journey as
seniors prepare to graduate and enter “real life.”

Fun Activity/tournament - based on interest of both groups, Examples: talent show, a
cornhole tournament, mini-golf, bowling, game night. The Class of 1971 hosted a Game Night
that included a poker tournament, a blackjack tournament and cornhole. Various
awards, mostly gift cards to local businesses, were awarded as prizes. The Class of 1972 played a Servite-inspired game of Jeopardy! against students from 2022. 

Senior Day of Memories - alumni are invited to attend breakfast, speak, and present the
class with their plaque for Alumni Garden

To learn more, please email Austin McElrath '11, Community & Alumni Relations Manager at amcelrath@servitehs.org