Skip To Main Content

Service Learning

A Tradition of Service

Service learning allows our students to be an experience of the living Gospel while giving back to the greater Nashville area and beyond. At Father Ryan, we have a specific curriculum that empowers student to serve those most in need through the Works of Mercy. While built into the curriculum, our students go above the service learning requirements, setting an example for their peers and community. 

House Service Days

House Service Days – Each semester, members of one House travel off campus to local organizations to volunteer their time and make an impact in our community.

Relay For Life

Relay For Life – For over a decade, Father Ryan has hosted the largest student-led Relay For Life in the nation. Collectively, these events have raised over $1.72 million for cancer research.

Mission Trips

Mission Trips – Father Ryan Mission Trips serve as a long-standing tradition that deepens our students' faith. From Catholic Heart Work Camp to Alternative Spring Break and International Mission Trips, these opportunities are designed to transform students through relationships with those on the margins.

Special Olympics

Special Olympics – Each spring, Father Ryan partners with Special Olympics of Middle Tennessee to host this regional event where nearly 400 athletes compete. Despite school being closed for the day, hundreds of Father Ryan students volunteer to help host the event and cheer on the Olympians.

Food Drive

House System Canned Food Drive – Father Ryan students come together with their Houses each year to collect food and money to support local food banks in the area. In recent years, we've collected 10,000 cans and $5,000 for our local community. 

Service by the Numbers

At Father Ryan, we believe one of the most distinctive and influential ways to connect with God is to serve others. Our students have the opportunity to improve the lives of their Nashville neighbors and effect positive change in their community.


Raised for Relay For Life


Service Hours Performed by Class of 2023


Cans Collected at Student-Led Food Drive


Student-Led Relay For Life in the Nation

Student speaking at Father Ryan Donor Dinner about service

Kate McDonnell '23

"Father Ryan's service learning curriculum has made a significant impact on my life. My favorite place to volunteer is Saddle Up, where we give horseback riding lessons to children with disabilities. I believe Father Ryan's emphasis on service cultivates a culture of love and giving that students are able to carry with them in their lives beyond high school."

Luke Wathen Eagle Scout with Friends

Luke Wathen '23

For his final project to become an Eagle Scout, Luke collected plastic lids which were melted down and made into two benches for the Fraternal Order of Police Boys Summer Camp. Luke is one of many Father Ryan students to achieve Eagle Scout ranking.

Students holding check of total fundraising for relay for life

Grace Holland '23

"I wanted to serve as a Relay for Life Co-Chair because I fell in love with the organization, the mission, and the people it connected me with when I joined the committee my sophomore year. I felt at home on the Father Ryan Relay For Life Committee."

St. Vincent de Paul Service Society

The St. Vincent de Paul Service Society at Father Ryan High School awards students who have served at least 120 hours in their community through the Corporal Works of Mercy.

At least 40 of those hours have to be with one organization to show a commitment and understanding of that organization over time. Students serve, apply by writing about their service, its meaning, and its challenges, and receive recommendation from that organization to be accepted into the society.

Students inducted St. Vincent de Paul Service Society