“It is by touching the lives around us that we change the world. There are always people who need us in our own neighborhood,” says Carina Ruth Swonger, a senior at Archbishop Chapelle High School.
During her junior year, Swonger was very active at Archbishop Chapelle High School with many honor societies and various leadership positions.
She is also involved in many Catholic organizations including Teen C.R.O.S.S., a youth council that organizes the local World Youth Day, an altar server at St. Clement of Rome and a teacher for weekly catechism classes.
One of Swonger’s most rewarding experience has been her volunteer religious teaching. Swonger loves working with kids and teaching them about faith. For many of these kids, this is the only religious education that they get outside of the home.
“I never would have thought I could use my love for education and passion for my Catholic faith as a form of activism,” says Swonger. “But, by impacting the lives of one class, I’m changing the world through them.”
The summer before Swonger’s sophomore year, she went on a mission trip with St. Clement’s CYO to Atlanta, Georgia.
During that week, Swonger assisted in a soup kitchen.
“It was humbling to feed the hungry and share a smile with the homeless,” she says.
During that trip, the CYO also planted a garden for a school in need. The school children were appreciative of the new garden.
“I am proud I participated in this trip because I got to get out of my comfort zone. Working with Atlanta’s less fortunate also helped me to appreciate what I have and want to give back to my community here at home,” says Swonger.
Patty and Bill Swonger, Swonger’s parents, have guided her through a life of service. Her father has demonstrated what it means to be a hard worker while her mother gives her whole life to the church.
“They remind me every day that life is meant to be lived for others,” she says.
Even though Swonger doesn’t know where she wants to go to college just yet, she is looking forward to attending a university after she graduates. She hopes that she can participate in more mission trips in the future and can combine her passion for serving others with her desire to travel. She hopes to be a teacher and is committed to using her gifts and talents to help those around her. ✦