Blessed Archbishop Oscar Romero

"Aspire to not have more but to be more... to give abundantly to others.”

Our Partners in Service

Service Learning

Service learning allows students to link school-based knowledge with the experience of actively living the Gospel. It encourages students to take the teachings of Christ beyond the textbook, and by so doing, become actively engaged in their Christian faith. It helps them to become other-centered in a culture that focuses primarily on the self.


  • To make efforts to act justly in regards to poverty, oppression, and marginalization
  • To instill in our students the responsibility to respond to the Gospel call of serving others
  • To expose students to the range of service and the opportunities they have to apply their gifts
  • To help guide students in the spiritual exercise of reflection, action, reflection
  • To challenge students to use their classroom experiences and apply them to service
  • To enhance and complement Father Ryan's curriculum by offering meaningful service and reflection opportunities

Service Learning Opportunities

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  • Service Learning Requirements

    At Father Ryan, we have a specific service-learning curriculum that empowers students to serve those most in need through the Works of Mercy. It is important that students understand these expectations before completing service hours. If you are a current or future student and would like to learn the details of these requirements, please click the link below.

    View the Service Learning Requirements
  • Special Olympics

    Each Spring, Father Ryan partners with Special Olympics of Middle Tennessee to host this regional event where nearly 400 athletes compete. Students serve as volunteers for a day of athletic competition for those with special needs. Click the links below to see news coverage from 2016's Special Olympics.

    The Tennessean
    The Tennessee Register

Recent Student Service Projects

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  • Elle Beierlein '21

    Elle Beierlein '21 recently organized a trip for the Rock Climbing Club, of which she is a member, to volunteer making gift baskets for children at the Ronald McDonald House. 

    Elle said of the experience, "I can honestly say serving others is one of the best ways to brighten my day. It may sound cliche, but knowing that I'm following Christ's example in helping others gives such a rewarding feeling."
  • Truman McDaniel '19

    A group of Father Ryan students recently spent the day at The Nashville Food Project's Urban Garden. This was a service project recently put together by Junior Truman McDaniel. Said McDaniel, "I chose to go to the Nashville Food Project urban garden because I thought it would be both a fun to work in a large garden as well as a great opportunity to help feed the less privileged in Nashville. We had an amazing time at the garden picking carrots, weeding garden beds, mulching, composting, and clearing brush. It was a truly inspiring experience to help out with the Nashville Food Project and hear about the impact our work will make on the community."

St. Vincent de Paul Service Society

Membership into the St. Vincent de Paul Service Society is conferred upon Junior and Senior students at Father Ryan High School who have completed at least 120 hours of service to the poor and marginalized through a corporal work of mercy. At least 40 of these hours must be with one organization, showing a depth of commitment and an ongoing relationship of solidarity that the student has built over time. Applications are available annually in March.

2018 Inductees

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  • Abbey Avila '18

    Abbey has devoted time to Catholic Charities Loaves and Fishes, Alive Hospice, Special Olympics, Relay for Life Committee, Safe Haven, and the American Cancer Society’s Hope Lodge. Abbey has identified that most of her hours connected with caring for the sick. She writes, “I remember talking with an older couple at the Hope Lodge who told me how they grew stronger in their marriage as they used each other for support systems. I could see God’s love in the way they spoke about and cared for each other.”
  • Ethan Baker '18

    Ethan gave time to Catholic Heart Work Camp, Relay for Life Committee, Special Olympics, and Catholic Charities Loaves and Fishes. As a leader on the core team for Special Olympics, Ethan reflects on the impact a simple interaction can have: “The deepest relationship I formed through Special Olympics was with a young man named Brian. After he finished the race I gave him a high five, told him congratulations, and sent him on his way to the awards table. You may be confused as to how such a brief encounter could be so meaningful, but this experience changed the way I serve others and view life.”
  • Hallie Braeuner '18

    Hallie has had a varied service career! Some of her notable service has been with Habitat with Humanity, March for Life, Hands On Nashville’s Urban Farm, and Hands On Nashville’s Youth Volunteer Corp Summer Camp. In reference to the importance of forming relationships through her service, Hallie writes, “I have learned to embrace the idea of having insightful and meaningful conversations with strangers, and I have grown immensely as a person because of this process.”
  • Olivia Coode '18

    Olivia has served with Relay for Life, Catholic Heart Work Camp, the Honduras Mission trip, and has had a special dedication to Room In The Inn at Christ the King and Nashville Dolphins. Speaking on the realities of working with the homeless Olivia writes, “As the weeks go by, I see the same guests come more than once, and I know their names and they know mine. At Room In The Inn, I had trouble trying to have the words to tell the guest that we do not have what they wished for in the supply closet because we ran out.”
  • Liv Cunningham '18

    Liv dedicated her time to working with St. Thomas Hospital. Liv writes openly and honestly in how the service changed for her: “My original motivation in volunteering at St. Thomas was to get a glimpse at what working in healthcare is really like, but it’s evolved into me looking forward to Mondays because that’s when I get to go work with fun people and serve the community at the same time. I volunteered alongside two elderly, yet hilarious old men: Phil and Bob. They told amazing stories about their lives and cracked me and each other up constantly.”
  • Rachel Cullison '19

    Rachel has worked with Room In The Inn at Christ the King Catholic Church, Relay for Life, March for Life, and Special Olympics. She is one of four Juniors being inducted this year. In reflecting on the hardships the homeless suffer, Rachel writes, “Through Room in the Inn I’ve met people that once had everything, but because of one mistake ended up losing it all. I’ve met people who grew up with nothing and are still stuck but manage to have nothing but love in their heart. I’ve met people that have been faced with a lot of struggle and have ended up going down a bad path because of it but are trying to find their way out. I’ve met people who have become so lost, they can no longer keep their thoughts together. The stories that I have heard from them have taught me that it’s not the circumstance surrounding your life that matter, but instead how you manage and adapt to these circumstances.”
  • Ella Delevante '20

    Ella has devoted her time with the Center of Empowerment, the Tusculum Reading Club, and MNPS Summer Program. She is the only, and first ever, sophomore being inducted! In reflecting on her time working with kids she writes, “My relationship with the kids has completely altered my perspective about what is important in life. The kids have made me aware of how lucky I am to have grown up in a safe environment with both parents, supportive teachers, and plenty of food. I didn’t find any challenges in completing the time for my service hours. If anything, I wish I had more time to devote to spend with these kids; the biggest challenges was understanding the frustration many of the kids had with learning.”
  • Will Drexler '18

    Will worked with Relay for Life, March for Life, Bethlehem Farms, Alternative Spring Break, and Cul2vate. Will states of his relationships made from service, “From the monks of Mepkin Abbey, to the impoverished Nashville food desert community we cater to at Cul2vate, and especially to the frontier community in Alderson, West Virginia, these relationships changed how I view the world. Through them, my random acts of kindness and minimal tasks I complete compound to ramifications I cannot fathom.”
  • Andrea Fonseca '19

    Andrea served Safe Haven Family Shelter, Special Olympics, Room In The Inn, Alternative Spring Break, and Bethlehem Farm. She is one of four Juniors being inducted this year. Concerning her service and the direction Jesus gives us Andrea writes, “Christ calls us to live in simplicity which I witness every time I serve at Safe Haven as well as the week I spent in West Virginia on The Farm. Working directly with people in need helps me visualize living the Gospel as it is meant to be lived. That is, helping others with my time and talent just like Christ gave his time to outcasts.”
  • Kade Foster '18

    Kade has served with the Heimerdinger Foundation, Habitat for Humanity, Relay for Life, and Catholic Heart Work Camp. On his time with CHWC and forming relationships Kade writes, “One lady still sends me a card every year on my birthday and randomly sends thank you cards. This woman lost all function in her arms due to the radiation therapy and has not been able to use her arms for nearly three decades. She spends her free time writing letters to all the people who have helped her throughout her life. She uses her mouth to hold the pen and writes very considerate letters. The has helped me to put my own problems into perspective and persevere through whatever minor inconveniences I experience throughout my life.”
  • Kelby Goetzinger '18

    Kelby is a true servant leader and mission trip junkie – she is one of only a few students at Father Ryan who has attended all domestic trips: Bethlehem Farm, Catholic HEART Workcamp, and Alternative Spring Break.  She was also only one of three juniors to be inducted last year.  When asked about her gifts, she writes: “I am very dedicated.  I am not afraid of hard work.  I hate not finishing tasks, and I always push whoever I am working with to finish our tasks in a timely manner.”  
  • Casey Hanrahan '18

    Casey was a member of the Relay for Life committee, attended three Catholic Heart Workcamps, and worked with many non-profits to serve the poor and homeless. Concerning her time with CHWC, Casey writes, “I still talk to some of the people in my small group from my first trip back in the summer of 2015. I was able to meet people outside of the types that I normally interact with – people living in poverty and who face real adversity every single day. I was able to see that my problems may not always equate to theirs, and it helped me be more grateful for the life I’ve been given where I have the ability to reach out and help those who need it.”
  • Mattie Hayden '18

    Mattie served as a member of the Relay for Life committee, a March for Life participant, an Alternative Spring breaker, with Cottage Cove, and helped organize several American Cancer Society Hope Lodge events. Concerning her time with Cottage Cove, Mattie writes, “I especially became fond of all the little kids and developed relationships with them. They would want to spend time with me and talk about their day. When I helped them with homework, they would just want to sit and talk.”
  • Emily Kendall '18

    Emily serves with strong leadership and action, and she was also only one of three juniors to be inducted last year.   Beginning in 7thgrade, Emily partnered with Second Harvest Food Bank to create a new location in an area school – the John Early Food Pantry.  Since 2012, Emily has logged 182 volunteer hours just with this organization, helping to literally build this pantry from the beginning. Through this work and through her time with Buddy Break, Emily writes: “When I see all that God has given me and then view their extreme poverty, hear about their traumatic life experiences, and experience the physical and mental restrictions of those with special needs, it is hard to stay positive.  However, I take it as a sign that I need to continue to share my time and talents.”  
  • Ryan Knapp '18

    Ryan served with Relay for Life, Nashville Dolphins, Habitat for Humanity, March for Life, and Alternative Spring Break. Concerning his time with Habitat for Humanity, Ryan writes, “My favorite relationship I have had while working here was with Ra and Asha from Angola. They were refugees trying to start a new life in American. When we taught him how to water his lawn, he seemed as if he was the happiest man alive. He truly seemed grateful to be alive and grateful for the service.”
  • Soi Lee '18

    Soi has served with Best Buddies, March for Life, the 40 Days for Life Campaign, Room In The Inn, Relay for Life, and Aemangwon Disability Home. She writes of her time with Aemangwon, an orphanage for people with disabilities in Korea, “I also became a best friend with a beautiful girl, Sohyun. The first time talking to her was awkward because I did not know a good topic, while the second and third time, I realized that she was just a 12-year-old teenager like me. She loved mint chocolate ice cream, wearing fluffy sweaters, and watching comedy movies just like me. She was not different from me. Surely, she was a little uncomfortable to move her body, and sometimes had seizures. These did not change the fact that she was a teenage girl and a beautiful human being just like everyone else.”
  • Erin Longest '18

    Erin spent time with March for Life, Cottage Cove, Special Olympics, and the Relay for Life Committee. In working with Cottage Cove, a non-profit that serves at-risk youth through tutoring and other services, she writes, “I have had to break up fights between small children, and it break my heart to see them so broken and upset. I have accompanied other volunteers to the government housing, and it was truly an eye-opening experience. I have never seen so many people have joy toward smashed bread or an oven-bake pie, and it was really hard to look poverty in the face during this. I saw God in them because of their immense joy to be present, and they make me want to live in the present.”
  • Anna Lummus '18

    Anna has served with Relay for Life and an incredible commitment to Room In The Inn at St. Henry. Of her time with the guests of Room In The Inn Anna writes, “During my first year at Room In The Inn, there were families coming to St. Henry; in one of them were two boys who were the same age as my brother and me. We were friends no different from one another, except for the fact that they were homeless, and we were not. That season was a huge awakening for me as I quickly realized homelessness was not an issue restricted to the stereotypical older, rough-around-the -edges men and women.”
  • Truman McDaniel '19

    Truman has served with the Downtown Presbyterian Church Homeless Breakfast Program, Room In The Inn, Alternative Spring Break, Urban Garden, and Servio Deo. He is one of four Juniors being inducted this year. In speaking on how service can make one step outside of the self and challenge us, Truman writes, “It’s very hard for me to take the first step, introduce myself, and build a relationship. I try and remove myself from my comfort zone every time I volunteer by meeting the people I’m serving and trying to get to know the other volunteers.”
  • Meghan McPhail '18

    Meghan has served American Cancer Society’s Hope Lodge, Relay for Life, March for Life, Room In The Inn, Special Olympics, and Alternative Spring Break. In writing about serving the monks of Mepkin Abbey for Alternative Spring Break, Meghan writes, “On this trip, we went to morning Mass and noon prayer with the monks. I had never experienced Mass this way. The subtle guitar strumming of Abbot Stan during the Our Father and standing around the altar during the Eucharistic prayer is a tangible feeling that I have never received from prayer anywhere else.”
  • Jeanne Meyer '18

    Jeanne served with Room In The Inn, the March for Life, Special Olympics, Operation Stand Down, and with Catholic Heart Work Camp. Concerning her time with CHWC and forming relationships, Jeanne writes, “I formed strong relationships with the residents I served. One who struck me in particular was an older man who wanted us to do some yardwork for him. He was especially fond of his garden, which was completely over run with weeds. Instead of just telling us what to do, he actually helped us weed his garden. It was inspiring to have him working alongside me.”
  • Rachel Phan '18

    Rachel served with Relay for Life, Shop with a Cop, and had a passionate focus with The Little Pantry That Could. Rachel writes of the varied relationships formed with those at the Pantry: “I formed relationships not only with those I serve but with the volunteers, as well. I’m able to see the same people quite often. I met one lady, Ms. Kelly, while helping her pick out Christmas gifts for her children, and I shopped with her twice later. I also have some interesting political conversations with Mr. Gary. My relationship with Ms. Stacy (founder and director of the Pantry) has been really meaningful, and her selfless desire to help others inspires me to continue to serve in my own life.”
  • Ellie Russell '18

    Ellie has quietly and compassionately completed 150 hours of service in less than 3 years here at Father Ryan as one of only 3 junior inductees last year. Few people knew this was the case, yet each week Ellie would continue to go serve at Cottage Cove or at Bridges Domestic Violence Shelter.  She attended mission trips to Honduras and through Catholic HEART Workcamp.  And in all of it, she did so by opening her heart to those she met and to their suffering.  About Bridges Domestic Violence Shelter, Ellie wrote: “women and children have experienced traumatic events in their lives, and it can be difficult trying to relate to them and knowing the right thing to say.  The average ‘it will all be okay’ speech sometimes is not good enough.”  This is what true compassion looks like – sitting with people in their pain, even without knowing the answer.  
  • Lanie Savage '18

    Lanie has devoted herself to Alternative Spring Break, Catholic Charities Loaves and Fishes, Rely for Life, Project C.U.R.E. and the Middle TN Angel Tree Program. Lanie writes of her time during Christmas: “Although I would only see Caroline during Christmas time over the next two years, she would impact me more than I ever thought. Through her friendship, I was able to get a deeper sense of what it must be like to always be hard pressed for money and how having someone to help can mean the world.”
  • Catherine Steigerwald '18

    Catherine served Preston Taylor Ministries, Room In The Inn, Bethlehem Farm, and Relay for Life. In addition, Catherine helped found at St. Joseph Church a class for high school age students who could not afford religious education. In the gifts received from service Catherine writes, “Faith is the most significant gift I use to accomplish my service. It can be difficult to believe I am making a difference when I cannot see a quick or physical change, like when I am with the homeless at Room In The Inn or the students at Preston Taylor Ministries. But when I look back and see how much each of these persons has grown, my faith is reassured in humanity and in God.”
  • Bekah Truss '19

    Bekah devoted time to Room In The Inn, Second Harvest Food Bank, The Little Pantry That Could, Alternative Spring Break, and Rejoice School of Ballet. She is one of four Juniors being inducted this year. Bekah states of her service and seeing faith in action, “I taught my kids at Rejoice about God, and got to participate in their Bible study before class, and I had conversations about God on ASB. At Room In The Inn I got to see God in action, through the volunteers and the guests. Basically, my service was a living example of the Gospel because it spread Jesus’ word of love through actions and words.”
  • Holland Turner '18

    Holland served with Cottage Cove, Second Harvest, The Little Pantry That Could, Safe Haven Family Shelter, and the Mama Lere Hearing School. Concerning her time with the Mama Lere Hearing School and discernment, Holland writes, “I never really felt like I knew what my path in life was, or the direction God was leading me in until I began volunteering at Mama Lere. The most important lesson that Mama Lere stressed is the value of inclusion and accepting people for who they were. Working at Mama Lere honestly helped me become a less judgmental person.”