By Debbie Shelley

The Catholic Commentator

Baton Rouge recently served as the destination for students across the country learning about leadership in action at the CSJ|SSJ Leadership Conference. The conference was for students from the Congregation of St. Joseph’s Schools in the United States. Part of their conference included volunteering at SVDP. They served lunch alongside volunteers from the American Association of Retired Persons.

“I wanted to learn about the world and liked the idea of meeting other kids, getting involved and making a difference,” said Connor Dempsey of Nazareth Academy, a co-ed school in LaGrange Park, a suburb of Chicago.

“We have different personalities, such as ‘Geux’ and ‘Go’, but it’s so fun to also see the whole culture and how we’re together,” said Dempsey.

Coming to Baton Rouge was also a way to broaden his world vision for Connor Uphues, also of Nazareth Academy.

“I’m involved in leadership at school and I want to improve things on a larger scale,” said Uphues.

Gretta Schlueter and Kerrigan Pansart, of St. Joseph Academy in Cleveland, were taken with the southern hospitality they received.

“When we got off the plane, they gave us Mardi Gras beads and there was an instant connection,” said Pansart.

She further noted, “We learn different things about social justice in theology class, now we are actually doing it.”