Serving Christ through those who are sick, suffering or less fortunate has always been a part of the Church’s mission and Nicole Gehret, a 15 year old sophomore at Seton Catholic Prep, lives out that message in an active way.
Gehret spent hundreds of hours over the summer volunteering at various organizations in order to satisfy her passionate desire to help others. Much of her time was spent at Chandler Regional Medical Center, where she participated in the prestigious Dignity Health Volunteen Summer Program. Gehret was one of only 91 students who were selected for the program from a pool of 300 applicants.
Gehret said that spending time at the hospital taught her many lessons, especially the importance of volunteering. “At the hospital I delivered flowers to all the patients and these patients were in probably the worst circumstances possible,” Gehret said. “I really got to interact with the patients and their families and just help them through their day, and help them in any possible way I could.”
In order to complete the Volunteen Program, Gehret was required to serve 40 hours over the summer but she wanted to give even more of herself than that. By the end of summer, she had logged more than 80 hours of service with Dignity Health, in addition to the 500 hours she has completed with other organizations, such as St. Vincent de Paul. “I volunteer because I want to make any impact that I can,” Gehret said. “Right now I’m young but I know that through my volunteer work, I can actually make a difference.”
Gehret’s dedication and commitment to excellence is apparent not just in her volunteer work but also in the classroom. Amanda Bell, a theology teacher at Seton Catholic Preparatory, said that Gehret is a bright student. Bell also explained that after studying the love of God in class, Gehret then goes out and gives His love to those who need it most.
“Nicole is in my theology class where we talk a lot about how we were made for and meant for love as human beings…It’s one thing for us to talk about and understand it in class, but she gets to learn what it really means on a whole new level by actually doing it,” Bell said.
At Seton Catholic Prep, Gehret holds a 4.0 grade point average and was on the high honor roll for both semesters of her freshman year. David Sorkin, assistant principal at Seton Catholic Preparatory, testifies to the fact that Gehret is a devoted learner.
“Nicole epitomizes what it means to be a conscientious and diligent student,” Sorkin said. Sorkin also said that Gehret’s volunteer work is the perfect fulfillment of her education at Seton.
“Nicole is involved in a number of service opportunities that foster her ability to serve others, especially those who are most vulnerable,” Sorkin said. “These service experiences, which are an integral part of a Seton education, help develop young men and women who are prepared to lead in today’s world.”
Even though Gehret has spent so much time serving others, she said more time can always be given. “I started volunteering with my grandfather at St. Vincent de Paul… I really got to see poverty like you’ve never seen it before,” Gehret said. “Even though we were helping people, you still saw those right next door to them who were in the same circumstance, if not worse. I know that there’s always more work to do, there’s always more that you can do for others.”