Service Learning

About the program

St. Michael’s Service Learning Program's purpose is to support the school’s mission of inspiring lives of service through a relationship centered on Jesus Christ. This program encourages students to become servant-leaders who encounter Christ in every person and who make difference in their communities.

Frequently Asked questions

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  • Service Learning During Quarantine

    In light of the pandemic and the moral imperative to maintain social distancing (unless doing essential work for the community), the service requirement for graduating seniors of the 2020 class has been waived. In addition, given that our four-year goal is to reach 80 hours, we are waiving 10 hours for class years 2021-2023 , meaning the underclassmen graduating total is now 70 hours.
    Typically, the St. Michael’s service program encourages doing work outside one’s own immediate family and friends. It is an opportunity to grow by engaging difference, whether that is economic, cultural or otherwise. While this is made much more difficult, there are still ways to serve, with the reminder that the spirit of service has inherent value beyond fulfilling a requirement.

    Some have suggested writing letters to people at nursing homes or bringing groceries to those more vulnerable to the current pandemic, as just two examples. In this situation we must be creative, knowing that all of our action is made more effective as an extension of a prayerful and open heart to God and all those around us. Perhaps now more than ever, in the words of Theresa of Lisieux, it is a time to “do little things with great love.” The spirit with which we attempt to be a better brother, sister, son, daughter, mother, father or spouse, all creates a space for the Holy Spirit to dwell and bring opportunities for healing.

    We are encouraged by those students and families who have already created many ways to serve during this difficult time. Please do not hesitate to contact Rae Harrison with any questions or concerns.
  • What are the service requirements for students?

    • 20 hours minimum due at the end of each academic year
    • Four-year students must have 80 hours completed by the end of their senior year
    • Transfer students must complete the minimum number of hours for each year while in attendance at St. Michael's
  • How are service hours logged?

    • Service hours are logged using the MobileServe software which can be accessed through the iPhone and Android app or an Internet browser. Service logs must include:
      • The Service Organization
      • Service Category
      • A story or description of the service
      • Either one form of verification from the following list:
        • Supervisor name and email verification of hours from an official address
        • Paper verification form (form link here) - fill out, take a picture of it and upload it to the service log, or give to the campus minister
      • Or two forms of verification from the following list:
        • Geolocation from phone
        • Photos of service work
        • Electronic Signature from supervisor
    • Follow this link and click on "Video: How to Create a Service Log” to see a step-by-step guide to logging service hours
    • Parents, guardians, family and friends cannot approve service hours unless written permission has been given by the Director of Campus Ministry
    • Service hours can be earned during the summer preceding the academic year, e.g., service completed in the summer of 2019 applies to 2019-2020 school year totals
    • Service awards will be determined based on hours submitted by April 1 of each year.
    • Students having trouble logging hours should contact registrar Rae Harrison at rharrison@smca.com.
  • What counts as service?

    • Anything on the SMCA Recommended Service Opportunities List
    • SMCA Service Trips (hours vary per trip)
    • Leading an SMCA retreat (Director of Campus Ministry will communicate number of hours to record)
    • Service hours acquired elsewhere must be at a non-profit organization that has principles consistent with Catholic values
    • Students are encouraged to find service opportunities that facilitate direct encounter with the poor, materially and spiritually:
    “Those who are oppressed by poverty are the object of a preferential love on the part of the Church which, since her origin and in spite of the failings of many of her members, has not ceased to work for their relief, defense, and liberation through numerous works of charity which remain indispensable always and everywhere” (CCC 2448) 

    • Service with a governmental organization requires approval from the Director of Campus Ministry
    • If in any doubt, contact the Director of Campus Ministry, Josh Coleman at jcoleman@smca.com.
  • What does not count as service?

    • Service to family members and friends like babysitting siblings, tutoring classmates, driving people to school or mowing the lawn
    • Working for an individual person
    • Internships
    • Political action and fundraising
    • Managing a sports team, SMCA or otherwise
    • St. Michael's calculates hours for fostering animals differently than the parent organizations.
    • Written permission from the Director of Campus Ministry, Josh Coleman (jcoleman@smca.com) must be acquired for any exception to these rules.
  • What service recognition awards are available?

    • St. Teresa of Calcutta Award - Granted to every student who completes 100+ service hours in the current academic school year
    • President's Volunteer Service Awards - Student hours will be submitted on April 1 each year to determine recipients for these awards
    • A graduation service cord, along with name recognition, is given to students at graduation who have earned 200+ hours in their high school career

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  • We are a

    Family of Families
3000 Barton Creek Boulevard, Austin, Texas 78735  (512) 328-2323
St. Michael's Catholic Academy is mindful of its mission to prepare the student holistically for leadership, service, and decision making consistent with Catholic values; and admit students of any race, color, or national and/or ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to the school. St. Michael's Catholic Academy does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and/or ethnic origin, age, or gender in the administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, financial aid and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs. St. Michael's Catholic Academy does not discriminate against students with special needs; a full range of services might not be available.