Vierheller runs successful Dominican trip

Alex Hau, Media Editor

Many teachers at JC have a lot on their plates. They are either teaching multiple classes, running clubs, coaching sports, or planning and running service trips. Religion teacher Tom Vierheller has been running the Dominican Republic service trip for six years now.

As a former Dean of Students and current religion teacher, Mr. Vierheller has showed interest in service and helping the JC community to participate in service.

“I have always been compelled to service,” said Mr. Vierheller.

Unlike other service projects and trips that arise at JC, the Dominican Republic trip is extra tricky because it is not only out of state, but it is out of the country.

Running a trip like this, especially to a foreign country is stressful. It’s how they handle the stress and use it to their advantage that make the trip successful.

 “You have to be situationally aware” said Mr. Veirheller.

The two most stressful parts of the trip for Mr. Veirheller are the events leading up to departure and the airport.

“People sign up for the trip sometimes unaware of what it entails,” said Mr. Vierheller.

In the events leading up to the departure of the students, there are many things that need to be taken care of.

First, all of the payments have to be collected with plenty of time to spare.   Second, Mr. Vierheller has to make sure that everyone has what they need for the trip (boots, bug repellent, etc…).

Lastly, everyone has to have boarding passes and passports. Worrying about having this can be a lot for some people, but in Mr. Vierheller’s case, he has to worry about every student.

The Dominican Republic trip is with the organization Cambiando Vidas, a non-profit organization that helps families in need of new homes through the work of volunteer groups, like JC and citizens from the Dominican Republic.

 “This is not a touring trip…” said Mr. Veirheller. “The work done is difficult, but we are really helping those in need.”

Some students choose to go on the trip more than once. Senior Julianna Donnelly is one of those returning students. Julianna went on the trip her freshman year in 2017 and returned for the 2019 trip. There are several reasons Julianna chose to go again.

 “I enjoy helping the less fortunate…” said Julianna. “It is also cool to be immersed in a different culture.”

A service trip that is well-organized, helpful to the needy, and one that makes people want to return is considered quite a successful trip. The Dominican Republic trip run by Mr. Vierheller checks all of those boxes.

One of the key components of being a Patriot is helping the community, both in and out of the country.