Roanoke College

Spring Break 2014: Hard work, some play, for Roanoke students

  • Spring Break 2014: Hard work, some play, for Roanoke students

  • 03/20/14
  • Spring break wasn't a respite from hard work for some Roanoke College students.

    During this 10-day period between Feb. 28 and March 9, students built houses, taught lacrosse to children and competed in tournaments and track meets.


    Families in need of housing in Nicaragua benefitted from the willing labor of 10 Roanoke students during spring break week. The students, led by Jesse Griffin, director of the Center for Civic Engagement at Roanoke, helped to build 11 houses in a small village in southern Nicaragua. Dr. Rich Grant, a professor in the College's Math, Computer Science and Physics department, also was on the trip.

    The students, who stayed with Nicaraguan families, split into groups at home construction sites and acted as building assistants, soaking and laying brick and assembling materials, for what Griffin described as "grunt work."

    All along, while this group of students learned home construction, they also soaked up life lessons. They are enrolled in a course that Griffin is teaching this semester at the College, called Culture and Civic Responsibility. The class, which has an experiential learning theme, teaches students to consider the factors that influence their attitudes and feelings for serving the community.

    The Nicaragua trip is one of the requirements for the course, though this is the fourth year for this specific building project that Griffin organizes.

    Spending a week in Nicaragua brought the course's concepts to life for students. Now back in class for the rest of the semester, students are reflecting on this powerful experience and asking themselves, "What does this mean now?" and "How do I look at poverty?," Griffin said.

    Habitat for Humanity, Columbia S.C.

    A group of Roanoke students traveled to Columbia, S.C., for spring break to work with the non-profit organization, Habitat for Humanity, to build homes for families in need.

    Roanoke Chaplain Chris Bowen also traveled with the group, and President Mike Maxey even stopped by for some of the week to help with the construction.

    The group helped to renovate a house that formerly was a dentist's office. They rebuilt floors, did finish work and poured concrete. The house's owners also were present and helped with the construction work alongside the students.

    "It really made us reflect on the reason we join Habitat," said Katie Larrivee '14, who is president of Habitat's Roanoke group.

    The trip benefits the homeowners and students alike. While working on the house, students live together, and group bonding is inevitable. Students meet and get to know other students. It is learning beyond the classroom.

    Women's Lacrosse, Puerto Rico:

    The Roanoke College Women's Lacrosse Team escaped the chilly Virginia air for a week on the warm island of Puerto Rico.

    Between relaxing in the Caribbean and experiencing the culture of Puerto Rico, the team spent spring break playing and coaching lacrosse.

    The team played two regular season games against No. 15 ranked St. John's Fisher College in Rochester, N.Y., and Misericordia University in Dallas, Pa.

    The Maroons fought a tough fight against the Cardinals from St. John's Fisher, falling 20-15. Two days later, the team beat Misericordia 19-9. 

    After seizing a win, some players traveled to the nearby U.S. Army Base to teach Puerto Rican children the fundamentals of lacrosse. From passing and catching, to stick tricks, the children of all ages learned the ins and outs of lacrosse.

    Men's Lacrosse, Texas:

    The Roanoke College men's lacrosse team put on their cowboy boots and traveled to Texas to compete and teach lacrosse during spring break week.

    The Maroons competed against Colorado College and Southwestern University during their stay, leaving the state 2-0 as a part of the 2014 Patriot Cup in Dallas. 

    While the team worked hard on the field, they also gave back to the community by teaching lacrosse skills at a free clinic on March 2 for the Frisco Lacrosse Program in Frisco, Texas. The clinic was held for more than 150 youth lacrosse players. The Roanoke players taught the young athletes small scrimmage scenarios, lacrosse drills, faceoffs and goalkeeper skills.

    During their stay, the men's lacrosse team also visited several historic sites, including the George W. Bush Library and Dealey Plaza, which is the location of President John F. Kennedy's assassination.

    Other sports teams traveled for competitions during spring break:

    ·         The golf team took 16th in the Callaway Gardens Intercollegiate tournament in Pine Mountain, Ga., on March 1 and 2.

    ·         The men's and women's tennis teams traveled to Hilton Head, S.C., where the women won three matches and the men won two.

    ·         The men's and women's indoor track teams competed in the ODAC championship in Hampton, Va., on March 2, where the men placed fifth and the women were second. The next week, the outdoor track teams kicked off the season at the Tarlton State Invitational in Stephenville, Texas.

    -Published March 20, 2014

    -By Morgan Conroy '14, Alejandro Menjivar '15, Allison Shannon '15 and Jenny Kincaid Boone '01