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Campus Ministry

Campus Ministry at St. Thomas ensures that the young men who are entrusted to our care receive the opportunity for daily spiritual formation and growth.

Campus Ministry provides opportunities for Christian Service Learning, Retreats, Sacramental Ministries, and Student Ministry Opportunities.

100 Hours over four years at St. Thomas High School

Philosophy

The goal of service is not for the sake of collecting hours, but rather to be the “hands and feet” of God to God’s people. Each young man will go through rigorous hours of theological content as a student at St. Thomas High School; being of service to the community allows each to put into action what he has learned, while honoring our mission to uphold Goodness.

Minimum hours required per class level
  • Freshmen: minimum of 10 hours; additional hours roll only to Senior year
  • Sophomores: minimum of 20 hours; additional hours roll only to Senior year
  • Juniors: minimum of 30 hours; additional hours roll only to Senior year
  • Seniors: minimum of 40 hours, plus Reflection Essay (more info to follow) 
Community and Faith-Based Service 

These two categories of service, community and faith-based, offer a robust perspective for each student as they build life skills and relationships outside of the classroom. Accordingly, we recommend that students earn half of their hours within each category.

Examples of Community Service
  • Service to our own school is both useful and rewarding. Some examples:
    • Assisting at Camp Aquinas;
    • Open House Night;
    • Serving as a Senior Leader, Eagle Ambassador, or Shadow Host;
    • National Honor Society Tutoring for peers;
    • And many other campus-based options.
  • Community Stewardship:
    • Planting or tending public gardens;
    • Fundraising for medically compromised individuals;
    • Environmental clean-up efforts;
    • Hospital or senior home volunteer'
    • Plus much more.
Examples of Christian Faith-Based Service
  • Camp counselor or helper;
  • Sunday School helper;
  • Altar Service;
  • Missions Trips;
  • Leading a Bible Study or small group;
  • Christian meal programs, such as Loaves and Fishes™;
  • Plus many more.
Pre-Approved Opportunities

We regularly publicize opportunities that meet our requirements and utilize a wide range of skills and interests. Please visit: 
www.x2vol.com, log into the student’s account, and visit the section entitled, “Find Opportunities”. There, the student can register for events and receive notifications as the service date draws near.

Other opportunities 

If a student wants to take part in a service opportunity that is not listed in the “Find Opportunities” section, or pre-approved by the school, then the student must ask Campus Ministry to approve the project before he takes part. Note that in most cases, approval is granted promptly.

Reflection Essay
A two-page essay is to be submitted Senior year, before graduation.
    Requirements:
  • MLA formatting; first-person voice is permitted.
  • Answer this prompt: “What has impacted you the most in serving others during your time at St. Thomas High? How do you think your contributions affected the community and others around you? Please elaborate.”
Total Service Responsibility for all Graduating Seniors
100 hours and the Reflection Essay


Additional Guidelines:
  • STH retreats are an integral requirement yearly for every student.
  • Volunteer hours performed in the summer are applied to the following academic year.
  • If one is a transfer student and performed hours at his prior school, please speak to the Campus Ministry team to ensure those hours are given credit.
  • Students are solely responsible for tracking and entering their own service hours into the x2vol™ system. If help is needed with x2vol™, please contact Campus Ministry.
  • All hours submitted* are inherently presumed to be accurate and true, according to the St. Thomas High School honor code, “As a man of St. Thomas, I uphold our honor through““As a man of St. Thomas, I uphold our honor through Goodness, Discipline, and Knowledge, and I lead my brothers to do the same.”
*All hours must be verified by an adult, who is able to attest to the completed service.

Rollover Hours
Although service hours are not carried over year-to-year, the excess hours earned in Freshman through Junior years will be rolled exclusively to the Senior year. For example: If a Freshman accrues 30 hours of service during his Freshman year, 10 hours will account for his Freshman requirement, and 20 are banked for his Senior year. When his Senior year arrives, he will have less hours to perform then, since he will have pre-banked the rollover hours. As such, the Sophomore and Junior years are unaffected, since they don’t receive any rollover hours.
The allowance for rollover hours helps to create: 1) incentive for students to serve more generously, and 2), the advantage of achieving all hours prior to the start of Senior year, when the student will understandably be focused on all things graduation.

Documenting Hours All hours are tracked and uploaded by the individual student on www.x2vol.com.* The student will automatically be given an account, for which registration is required. Thereafter, students are asked to submit their hours, which will go through a 2-step process.
  • Step 1: Verification:Hours must be verified by the adult supervisor or coordinator of the project or organization served.
  • Step 2: Approval: Hours that have been verified then go to Campus Ministry for final approval. Hours will remain preserved for posterity, and can be reproduced in an official transcript via x2vol™.
*Much more information to support x2vol™ is in the FAQs section below.

Service Awards
  • Students who achieve the most hours among their peers during their four-year career at St. Thomas will earn an achievement award upon graduation.
  • Students who achieve the most hours in the current year, no matter their class level, will receive recognition and an achievement award at the conclusion of the school year.
Q: What is x2vol™?
A:  x2vol™ is an online platform that provides an easy way to log service hours and find volunteer opportunities. This system will allow the elimination of paper forms and help to establish efficiency in reproducing information when requested by students, colleges, and the like. x2vol™ allows students to enter their service hours online at any time, browse and sign up for volunteer opportunities, receive reminders about the opportunities and print a service transcript that can support college applications.

Q: How do I “log hours”?
A: Simple instructions are available by downloading this powerpoint

Q: What is my username?
A: Your username is your STHS Student Email: First.Last@students.sths.org (Tip: Use a capital letter on your first and last name the first time you enter.)

Q: I have a sheet from the volunteer coordinator saying I did these hours; can I just hand that in to prove I did my hours?
A: All hours need to be entered into x2vol™ by the student; there is a file-upload section that allows the student to attach any files or documents. Everything has to be entered into the system in order to count toward service hours.

Q: How can I find the mobile app for x2vol™?
A: Download it here for Itunes, and make sure to use the STHS “CEEB #”, which is: 443435.

Q: My hours are not right; what do I do?
A: Contact Campus Ministry; errors will be clarified and corrected.  

Q: My volunteer organization hasn’t verified my hours yet; what should I do?
A: Make certain to submit hours with an accurate contact email for the person verifying the hours; ask to be certain, call the organization, or check their website. If the organization is not sure how to verify the hours served, please email or download this letter of explanation and give it to the organization. Questions are always welcomed by Ms. Looper via email or phone.
All Freshmen, Sophomores and Juniors are required to attend one retreat each year.
  • All Freshmen attend Camp Aquinas in August.
  • All Sophomores - Seniors are required to attend an overnight retreat offered by STH.
  • Daily Mass is celebrated in our school chapel.
  • Mandatory all-school liturgies throughout the school year
  • Benediction and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament during Lent
  • School Chapel is open to students for silent prayer during all school hours
  • Thanksgiving, Advent, Lenten prayer services and liturgies
  • Reconciliation
    • The Sacrament of Reconciliation is offered weekly and by appointment
    • Reconciliation is available on most student retreats
    • Lenten Reconciliation Service
Campus Ministry at St. Thomas also includes the following clubs, organizations, leadership development and student ministry opportunities:

Campus Ministry Senior Leaders: The role of Senior Leader is a rare honor, reserved for senior students commissioned to assist Campus Ministry with student retreats, student liturgies, and various ministry offerings at STH. Senior Leaders share Witness Talks on student retreats, while also liturgical ministers at student liturgies. Senior Leaders are also invited to an exclusive leadership camp during the summer prior to their Senior year.

Fellowship of Christian Athletes: FCA is an interdenominational Christian sports ministry to see the world impacted for Jesus Christ through the influence of coaches and athletes. STH has a very popular and active FCA huddle. Students and coaches gather regularly for Bible study, faith-sharing, and fellowship. FCA at St. Thomas also includes guest speakers (i.e. current and former professional athletes, alumni, coaches), social events and leadership development. Visit www.fca.org for more information.

Liturgy Team: altar servers, Eucharistic Ministers, lectors, ushers, sacristans

Music Ministry: St. Thomas Singers

Eagles for Life Club: planning and participation in respect life activities/programs

Alex Gotay Director of Campus Ministry. Alex is Catholic, a husband of 19 years, father of three boys, and blessed to have been involved in Youth Ministry about 18 years. He holds a Doctorate in Ministry, Master's degrees in both Theological Studies and Philosophy, graduate hours towards another Master’s Degree in Counseling, graduate hours towards a Graduate Certificate in OT Biblical Theology, and a Bachelors in Criminal Justice and Child Psychology. Alex is a military brat, went to High School here in Houston, was a Marine Infantryman and is a Black Belt in Brazliian Jiu- Jitsu. He loves mixing our faith with teen and American Culture.

Fr. James Murphy, CSB (BA in Journalism and European History from St. John Fisher College. M.Div from University of St. Michael’s College. M.Ed. from Boston College) joined STH in 2011 and has served in various roles from teaching to drama and athletics. He is currently an Assistant Dean of Students and is the local Superior of the Basilian Fathers of STH.

Deacon Leonard Lockett (B.A. University of St. Thomas, M.A. Pastorial Theology, and M.A. Theology) began teaching here in 2015. He teaches Theology II and Theology III and serves as a Campus Minister.

Campus Ministry works in conjunction with the Theology Department, the Fine Arts Department (liturgical music) and the entire faculty and staff (retreat program). In addition, our resident Basilian Fathers, Rev. Kevin Storey, Rev. Jim Murphy, Rev. Mitch Dowalgo, Rev. Ronald Schwenzer and Rev. Al Gaelens, meet the sacramental needs of our students, faculty and staff by presiding at daily Mass and hearing confessions.
Mass will be held during flex time and on block days the first 30 minutes of lunch.