Kristina “Kris” Marie Plunkett, a junior at St. Mary’s Dominican High School, received her inspiration to volunteer through the selfless acts of her parents.

Plunkett’s family has always donated clothes and toys to acquaintances that needed the items, and when that wasn’t an option the family would donate the items to Bridge House.

Plunkett is highly involved with The Good Shepherd School, where she’s a kindergarten after-schoolteacher. She enjoys working at there because, she says, every day is new and challenging and full of surprises.

“I know the students look up to us because we’re older, so it’s important that we not only do what the teacher asks us to do, but to do it in such a way that shows the little ones how to act. That means everything must be done with a smile, pleases and thank yous are mandatory, and when the announcements come on at the end of the day, we had better be silent,” says Plunkett.

Every day is different at Good Shepherd because sometimes the after-school teachers have to deal with children not feeling well, behavioral issues or other hiccups that could ruin a kindergartner’s day.

“The teachers work so hard to make sure that their school is a haven for their students,” says Plunkett. “I am really inspired by their dedication every time I walk through the front door. It’s the little things they do that strike me.”

Plunkett is in many different clubs at Dominican, including Junior Classical League, Science Club, Speech and Debate, Quiz Bowl and Euphonium, the school’s band. Currently, Plunkett would like to study physics and history in hopes of becoming a teacher. Regardless of what she decides to do professionally, Plunkett knows she’ll keep up her volunteer work because activism is a large part of her life.

“I think that the best way to make your world better is to improve other people’s worlds. This doesn’t have to be through volunteering. Helping out in little ways, like decorating the church for Christmas, or helping a teacher move textbooks, or even just walking the neighbor’s dog are all perfectly good ways to help out in your community,” she says.