November 17, 2016
By Jessica Majerus | Assistant Principal of Culture for STRIVE Prep – Excel

In Northwest Denver, caring about one’s community is a long held tradition and a community norm, so when STRIVE Prep – Excel staff arranges for service learning trips, it’s never hard to find students to go.

This year alone, our Lions have fed families at the Ronald McDonald House, prepared food for homeless teens at Urban Peak, and bettered their own neighborhood by helping to clean up La Raza Park.


Alicia Matute and Shyanne Casias read to preschoolers as a part of a reading intervention group.

None of these events would have been possible without the dream team of Christine McDermott, AP Lit and AP Language teacher, and Alicia Matute, class of 2017 senior extraordinaire. 

Howard Zinn says this of service to others: “Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world.”  At STRIVE Prep – Excel we task students to go out and change the world when they leave our doors.  However, our students also don’t wait to leave before beginning the work and Alicia is a perfect example of this.

It is not unusual to receive an email from Alicia asking for donations in order to buy food for Ronald McDonald House, looking for staff volunteers who can drive students, or asking that the community devote itself to even closer to home projects like ensuring that the shared North High School and STRIVE Prep – Excel campus is litter free.

She does all of this on top of juggling classes, applying for college, and fundraising for the senior class trip.  

Alicia and Ms. McDermott make our community stronger because they help to weave a beautiful quilt of generosity between our small school and local organizations.  They also make our community stronger by leading with heart and reminding us all that, as Albert Einstein said, “only a life lived in service to others is worth living.”


Students and teachers got involved on a service trip to the Ronald McDonald House of Denver.


Scholars serve food on a recent service trip to Urban Peaks, a homeless shelter, where scholars helped to feed over two dozen young people who currently live at the shelter.


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