Service & Immersion Travel

We encourage our students to believe they can make a difference. Service projects and immersion travel trips provide additional opportunities for growth while offering a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The travel options listed below are future opportunities and are open to Kennedy Catholic students who meet the trip requirements.

Future Travel Options

Summer 2019 - Ireland

The 4th Irish Studies class since 2010 will take place Summer 2019. The class is open only to 16 students and offers a .5 Senior Social Studies credit, 30+ service hours, and a 2-week trip to Ireland. Accepted students will spend one Wednesday a month, beginning in fall 2018, studying Irish history and culture, with a focus on the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Movement, and one Wednesday a month serving at Bethany Presbyterian Church's community dinners. Classes are combined with speakers from the Seattle area with a connection to Ireland, learning a bit about traditional Irish sport, in addition to getting hands-on experience with the culture and history. In the summer, we travel to Ireland for 2 weeks under the direction of Seattle's Museum Without Walls, to visit the sites of our study and see first-hand the effects of the Civil Rights Movement and current reconciliation efforts. The cost of the trip is approximately $3500 and includes tuition for the class, all transportation to, from, and in Ireland, speakers, accommodations, entrance to historical and cultural sites, and many meals. Stay tuned for application information, but any questions can be directed to Jen Parker-Haas.

Summer 2019 - Cambodia

Get ready for the Cambodia Service Immersion trip in the summer of 2019! Interested students will need to apply for the class which offers a .5 Senior Social Studies or Theology credit, 30+ service hours fulfilling ISLE requirements, and a 2-week trip to Cambodia. Accepted students will spend two Mondays a month, beginning in fall 2018, studying Cambodian history and culture, with a focus on social-justice, reconciliation, economic development, and leading initiatives for youth empowerment and education. The class will also incorporate service work and civic engagement in the Seattle area, through which students can make real-life connections to class content. In the summer, we will travel for 2 weeks throughout Cambodia with Walking Tree Travel--we will visit the iconic sites and museums in the cities, engage in various cultural experiences, and immerse ourselves with the Cambodian people in farming and fishing villages. The cost of the trip is approximately $4300 and includes tuition for the class, all airfare and ground transportation to, from, and in Cambodia, speakers, accommodations, entrance to historical and cultural sites, and most of our meals. Stay tuned for application information, but any questions can be directed to Cristin VanderPlas.

Spring Break 2019 - New Orleans, LA

This eighth annual Service trip combines service with others and a retreat experience. The selected students and teachers will travel to New Orleans, LA during spring break (April 21—April 28, 2019) to learn, work, and serve those affected by the 2005 Hurricane Katrina and the most recent flooding. This trip challenges students to deepen their understanding of service, faith, social justice and simple living by allowing students to put their faith in action.

We will continue to work with Habitat for Humanity in New Orleans. This means we will help to build new housing for low-income people. It might mean helping to dig and pour a foundation or painting walls and anything in between.

This trip requires attendance at six preparation meetings, group fundraising, the weeklong commitment during Spring Break 2019, and engagement in follow-up events to share our experience with the Kennedy Catholic Community. While this service trip does not include academic credit, it will satisfy students’ ISLE service requirement.

All members of the class of 2019, 2020 and those members of the class of 2021 who will be 16-years-old by April 21, 2019 are welcome and encouraged to apply. Completed applications are due by 3:00pm on Friday, September 21 (submitted online only).

Costs of this trip will vary depending on flight availability and ground transportation (travel is still not at 100% for New Orleans following the hurricane). Estimated costs are about $1200. Students will need to do some fundraising. Beyond that, limited financial aid is available to those able to demonstrate need. Please see Ms. Lopez for more information. Applications will be processed and applicants might be interviewed during October. You will be notified by email when you should come to sign up for an interview. Please check the daily bulletin, teacher webpages, and email regularly. Participant selections will be made by the middle of October.

Past Travel

New Orleans 2016

With work day three firsthed, it is safe to say that we are very exhausted! In our Habitat homes we have completed many tasks, but still have much more to finish for our new home owners. One house we are working on will go to a mother and four kids and the other will go to a mother with one child.

Read more about New Orleans - March 31, 2016

We began our morning today with some team bonding ice breakers. We enjoyed getting to know each other and building up our community. The highlight of the day was the 9th ward bike tour. We experienced a welcoming community of people! On the tour we got a better understanding of the impact of hurricane Katrina and how it affected the community.

Read more about New Orleans - March 28, 2016

Ireland 2016

We are 14 students and 3 teachers from Kennedy Catholic High School in Burien, Washington and 2 advisers from Museum Without Walls in Seattle, Washington.

The students began their journey in May of 2015 when they applied to be part of the Irish Studies class and trip. In September, they began classes, one Wednesday a month studying Irish history and culture. Additionally, one Wednesday a month they served at Bethany Presbyterian Church's Wednesday Night Dinners in an effort to live the reconciliation between Catholics and Protestants that the Irish have long sought. As well, by becoming servant leaders, students gain a sense of humility and purpose greater than the just study or travel can provide. Through these many months students and teachers have prayed, learned, bonded, served, and laughed. On June 15, the journey to Ireland begins.

Follow us as the students connect spiritually and emotionally with the history they have studied in a classroom.

This is the 3rd Irish Studies class and trip for Kennedy Catholic and our 2nd in partnership with Museum Without Walls.

Cambodia 2016

June 29-30: “ME DO ME?”

Right now we are in the Taipei airport, in an aviation themed waiting area. This doesn’t sound unusual for an airport, but we passed by a Hello Kitty themed waiting area before this one. Vplas was not okay with the level of pink. To each her own.

Yesterday afternoon after the long car ride back from Chambok, we made our way through the Russian market picking up last minute gifts and fake goods. It had been a long, dirt-filled afternoon, so after about an hour we were able to go to the hotel and rest before another amazing dinner at a Friends International restaurant called Romdeng. There we had tree red ant soup, our final fruit shakes, and a few brave adventurers stuck entire fried tarantulas in their mouths. Our last reflection consisted of favorite moments, takeaways, and a final chant of Mary’s “Self Worth” cheer. Parents, ask your kids to recite/perform it for you.

This morning was bittersweet. The group woke up early to wish Sambath farewell, as he had to make his way back home to Siem Reap. After many hugs, his parting words of wisdom were that he knows, even if it’s not right away, that eventually all of us will realize how impactful this program has been. We hope that in the future we can meet both him and Mary again, and if we’re old enough, maybe go on a motorcycle tour of the city.

After goodbyes, we ate noodle soup at the first breakfast place we ever went to in Phnom Penh. Then, we jumped in tuk-tuks to the airport. At the airport, Mary stayed with us until we boarded, and then she boarded her flight to Bangkok. The three hour flight was uneventful for the most part, and now we’re going to finish the last leg of our journey after this six-hour layover in Taipei. Hopefully most of us can sleep here and stay awake on our twelve-hour flight and get reacquainted with Seattle time. All of us are really excited to see our families’ smiling faces when we get home.

In this concluding blog post, we’d like to take a moment for some thanks. Thank you to our families, who encouraged our adventure and supported us. Your generosity, acceptance, and desire for us to become global citizens will always be appreciated. Thank you to Sambath, Mary, and all of the organizations, businesses, and communities we worked with during our time in Cambodia, who not only inspired and challenged us, but kept us grounded, humble, and continually reflecting in order to make the most of our time here. Thank you to our homestay families, who opened their hearts and homes to a bunch of rowdy teenagers, completely selflessly, and welcomed us into a down-to-earth experience. And finally, the most sincerest thank you to Mrs. VanderPlas and Mr. Davis, who worked tirelessly to expose us children to a culture completely beyond our scope of knowledge and comfort zone, who had our backs, kept us in check, and kept us feeling safe and loved.

From all of us to the family members reading this, thank you and we love you. And to the beautiful country we just left, we are forever grateful for the chance to know you for a small time, and we can’t wait to come back. Ah kuhn.

For now, we’re ready to come home. See you soon!


Summer 2017 - A Journey Down Under

Down Under on the other side of the globe, the people of Australia and New Zealand have much to boast about, including exotic wildlife, natural beauty, and fascinating indigenous cultures. If you go on this special journey, you, too, will have the opportunity to experience the Hobbiton movie set, dance the haka in an authentic Maori village, and cuddle with a koala bear at the Night Zoo. And that's just the beginning. You will also have the opportunity to snorkel on the Great Barrier Reef, surf at Manly Beach, and shop Sydney Harbor. Moreover, you'll make lasting friendships as we visit our Catholic sister school, Emmaus College, in beautiful Melbourne. Plan on being warmly welcomed by an Emmaus host family who will share adventures with you in their special city. This and, much, much more awaits you on this fantastic 18 day adventure of a lifetime.

Chaperones for this trip include Ms. Burns, Ms. Gurnard, and Mr. Wright in conjunction with EF Tours. For information on how to reserve your space, contact Mr. Wright or come by room B224 to get your questions answered.


Summer 2017 - Spanish Language Immersion Travel

Oye - Interested in spending two weeks on the Mediterranean coast of Spain during the summer of 2017? All while improving and using your Spanish language skills? Eastern Washington University credit is also available through this once in a lifetime travel experience. Contact Mrs. Cabiles if you have any questions.


Summer 2018 - France and Italy Tour

This summer the students of French and Latin had a fabulous opportunity to explore the places they’ve been studying! Under the guidance of Ms. Lewis and Ms. Swalm, the students began in France exploring the Paris landmarks as well as the sites of Monaco, Èze, and Nice along the Mediterranean Sea. From France they took the TGV, Europe’s fastest train, to visit the landmarks of Renaissance Florence before venturing through the antiquities of Rome. Their last stop was the mysteries of Pompeii. It was an exciting twelve days of culture, history, and language immersion!


Steubenville Northwest 2016

The Steubenville Conferences are a series of 23 conferences across North America that help over 55,000 teens encounter the love of Christ every summer. These conferences are an outreach of Franciscan University of Steubenville, a vibrant Catholic university that has embraced the call of Christ to its patron, St. Francis of Assisi, to "Go, and rebuild my Church." Our mission is to build the Church by inviting teens into a life-changing relationship with Jesus and challenging them to embrace the heart and mission of the Catholic Church by following Jesus as a disciple.

A small group of Kennedy Catholic students attended the 2016 conference. Read about some of their experiences below.

It being a small group, we were able to take one of the smaller, newer buses that had air conditioning. By the time we got to Vantage it was evident that the air conditioning wasn't working.

Read more about Day 1

The first thing to see at the convention center was the "band" - playing several praise and worship songs and getting the crowd involved and excited. I have been to a number of Protestant worship services, but only at a Catholic event will you see young people clapping to the music but making the sign of the cross with their clapping!

Read more about Our First Speaker

Saturday we had mass with the bishop of Baker OR. After that, we broke out into separate sessions for boys and girls.

In the boy's talk, the speaker told of his interest in "inversion goggles" - glasses that make everything you see upside down. After 5 days of wearing them, the brain adjusts and the wearer can do things normally.

Read more about Saturday

Sunday morning we had a final speaker, and encouragement to take what we learned from the weekend and move it into our lives. The speaker said we should be like "tactical missiles" - we should shoot out with specific targets and explode what is inside of us.

Read more about Sunday

Steubenville Northwest 2017

S. Lopez

Sunday, our final day at Steubenville NW, we had the blessing of celebrating Holy Mass with Bishop Thomas Daly, Bishop of the Archdiocese of Spokane.

Read more about Day 3
S. Lopez

Saturday, our second and most event filled, day at Steubenville NW began with Mass celebrated by Father Mike Schmitz, the Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry for the Archdiocese of Duluth, MI. Following Mass our group attended a breakout session by Lisa Cotter entitled Made New in Christ.

Read more about Day 2
S. Lopez

This year, nine Kennedy Catholic students attended Steubenville NW 2017. The Steubenville Conferences are a series of 23 conferences across North America that help over 55,000 teens encounter the love of Christ every summer. These conferences are an outreach of Franciscan University of Steubenville, a vibrant Catholic university that has embraced the call of Christ to its patron, St. Francis of Assisi, to "Go, and rebuild my Church." Our mission is to build the Church by inviting teens into a life-changing relationship with Jesus and challenging them to embrace the heart and mission of the Catholic Church by following Jesus as a disciple.

Read more about Day 1


New Orleans 2017

New Orleans 2018


3rd day at site: Today flowed well, it was orderly, everyone knew where to go, and everyone worked as a community and got a lot done. Today was the most visible progress on the home - insulation, wrap around, putting up walls inside, finishing the stairs, handrail, and the windows came! It is finally starting to look like a home.

Read more about NOLA Blog Day 4

Day 2 on the Habitat Work Site: We started our day with a rain delay, after an hour we waded our way through the puddles to continue tacking down the walls we put up the day before.

Read more about NOLA Blog Day 3

We pulled up to our Habitat For Humanity site this morning, and Kelsey (our site supervisor, not Ms. Harrington) gave us the instructions for the day - putting up walls, putting cement on the mortar wall in the front, hammering in nails - and then we got right to work.

Read more about NOLA Blog Day 2

Hey family & friends,

Our first day was all about getting to know the New Orleans area, specifically the Lower 9th Ward. We took a 8-mile bike tour starting in the beautiful St. Claude neighborhood and rode over into the Lower 9th - the area most impacted by Hurricane Katrina. Here are a few things we saw:

Read more about NOLA Blog Day 1

New Orleans 2019


The Final Countdown

Today was our final day on our worksite! After a long day yesterday, we were excited to be back on the site and finish strong. One house completely finished the siding on the top of the house and then painted on some fresh paint. At the other site we began working on the bird boxes and finished some touch up painting. All of the drywall was in so we were able to go through and tour the house.

Read more about Friday 04/26

A day in the life of team Prociv:

Today started out bright and early at 6:00 AM. As we went about our morning routine and chores including brushing teeth, eating breakfast, and cleaning bathrooms, we were sadly anticipating the departure of our group leader, Mr. Prociv. Despite this, we were still excited to continue on our third day of work with Habitat for Humanity. At the worksite, our jobs included painting, nailing siding, and measuring wood. We had expected to spend the whole day at our usual worksite, but were sidetracked by severe changes in the weather when rain poured down and lighting struck. This caused our group to redirect our efforts towards one of Habitat's ReStores which provide funds for the majority of materials needed to build the houses.

Read more about Thursday 04/25

As the week goes on, Kennedy Catholic students on their 2019 NOLA service trip work through the humid 80 degree weather. After eight hours of strenuous work building houses, we look forward to eating beignets and socializing later tonight and reflecting on the service they completed. Five Kennedy catholic student will now reflect on their days.

Read more about Wednesday 04/23

Today we woke up at 6am to begin our journey of building with Habitat for Humanity. Along with that, we were able to cool off after a long day of work with snow cones to celebrate Minh Mai's birthday. Collectively we felt like our day was both grueling and rewarding, and each of us have a memory of the day to share:

Read more about Tuesday 04/22

Today was an amazing first day of adventure and memories! We started off our day with breakfast, hair braiding and community prayer. We lathered on our sunscreen and hit the road! We split into two groups and went on a bike tour where we learned about the history of New Orleans, particularly the Lower 9th Ward where we will be serving as partners with our community. On our tour we learned not to call New Orleans, "NOLA,' because the locals are NOT fans of this abbreviation:) We saw beautiful graffiti and some amazing murals, and also endured a handful of bug bites! We believe we truly saw how devastating the storm was to the community as evidenced by the abandon houses, the empty foundations, the overgrown lots, and stray cats. The houses that were present were very spread out, and the community as a whole was rather desolate.

Read more about Monday 04/21