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Alumni Work Service Weekend



The first annual LSMSAAA social/service weekend combined giftie fun with the joy of getting Caddo ready for the next generation of gifties. Fourteen alumni + one alumna’s husband worked and played together in Caddo the weekend of July 18-20. We cleaned and upholstered a sea of desk chairs, scrubbed walls and bathrooms to create a healthier environment for the students, painted the foyer walls to create a fresh first impression, and repaired the back deck for the students’ leisure use. Even gifties who thought they did not have handy skills were surprised at their accomplishments. Laura Monk (’88), who wasn’t sure how she could help but came anyway, now proclaims herself “Mistress of the Power Drill”.

Although our sore muscles reminded us that we are no longer teenagers, the experience of living together reminded us of the creative fun that gifties have. Friday night included a moonlit stroll around campus, making it back just in time for our midnight “curfew.” We cooked in the Caddo kitchen and with an outdoor fish fry/jambalaya pot to enjoy the camaraderie of shared meals. We got sillier as the night went on.  Some “true confessions” about our student days were revealed.

Our group included alumni spanning the class of 1986-2004. Mark McKelvy and Josephine Ngo McKelvy (both ’04) were our youngest participants. Mark commented that, despite the range of ages, he felt that that we all had shared experiences and interests. The giftie bond does transcend our individual experiences at the school. This alumni event helped to cement that bond, while giving us the joy of contributing to the experiences of the next giftie generation.  Participants included: Charlotte (Rush '86) Steinmetz and her husband David; Laura Monk '88; Dixon Cole, Catherine Credeur, Amy Peck, and J.C. Wells (all '89); Amanda Portier Chauvin '91; Tesia Stanaland Albarado '97; Celia Mangham '99; Thuy an Nguyen, Mary Peralta, and Ashley Spicer (all '02), and Mark and Josephine Ngo McKelvy (both '04). 

One of the special features of the social/service weekend is the opportunity for alumni who are still in school and beginning careers to give back to LSMSA. Our primary donation for this weekend is our time and the cost of transportation to Natchitoches. We have free dorm housing and share our meals. Joining social/service weekend is the perfect contribution for alumni who are enthusiastic about the school but have tight budgets.

Our inaugural social/service weekend was such a success that we are eagerly planning for next year. Save the date of July 17-19, 2009. Our next event will be open to alumni bringing their children. Children aged 13 and older will be included in age-appropriate tasks. Younger children will enjoy parental co-op babysitting. We are hoping to have a cooking team, a babysitting team, an outdoor tasks team, and three teams to split the interior projects of cleaning, minor repairs, and painting. Please contact LSMSAAA Natchitoches liaison Catherine Credeur (’89) at catherinecredeur@hotmail.com if you would like to head a team. All alumni are encouraged to plan to participate. More details will be

The upholstery crew cleaned and/or recovered approximately 150 desk chairs. Pictured are: Amanda Portier Chauvin '91, Amy Peck '89, Laura Monk '88, and Tesia Stanaland Albarado '97. J.C. Wells '89 preps meat for Dixon Cole (also '89) to cook a Saturday night jambalaya dinner. Visiting while we waited on jambalaya. From left: Amanda, Celia Mangham '99, Tesia, Catherine, Josephine Ngo McKelvy '04, Mark McKelvy '04, and Laura. The foyer before David and Charlotte Rush ('86) Steinmetz got to work. Note the dingy walls and stained ceiling tile. The foyer got a fresh coat of paint and new ceiling tiles.
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