Workcamp Leaves a Lasting Impression on Academy Students

Workcamp Leaves a Lasting Impression on Academy Students

For five years, the Academy of Notre Dame (NDA) has been participating in Catholic HEART Workcamp (CHWC) to love, serve and connect with the less fortunate and those in need. This year, a group of ten students, three alumni and two staff members served the communities of the greater Hartford, CT, area.

NDA students who attended CHWC to offer their service were Abby Golden of Lowell, Catie Johnson of Pelham, NH, Isabelle Hallisey of Pepperell, Angela Tarantino of Pepperell, Ashley Tovar of Billerica, Olivia Elmstrom of Dracut, Kendall Froment of Nashua, NH, Kate McNamee of Lowell, Nora Leach of Groton and Evangeline Rockwell of Nashua, NH. Alumnae who were also present were Sydney Nichols ’18 of Littleton, Isabella Hann ’18 of Dunstable, and Cara Fischetti ’18 of Groton.

The group stayed at East Catholic High School in Manchester, CT, from July 7 - July 12, along with students from the parishes of Our Lady of Mercy and St. Johns. The NDA students joined 230 other high school students from New England, New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. The volunteers were grouped with students from other schools, parishes and states, helping to create many new friendships.

Each morning, participants attended Mass to prepare for the work day ahead and every night, dinner was followed by an evening program that included worship, games, live music, and dancing.

Work assignments included house and deck painting and yard cleanup for the elderly, pantry organizing at a homeless shelter, working in a soup kitchen, cleaning up a formerly condemned house so a man in hospice could return home, as well as weeding and mulching along the Connecticut River for Riverfront Recapture. 

Academy students were humbled and overjoyed with their experience at CHWC.

“Some of our students working in client homes were able to get to know the people we were serving on a personal level, which made the experience even more impactful for them,” said Pam Bernazani, Interim Principal for the Upper School. “In fact, that impact was demonstrated by the fact that three of our alumni chose to return to Catholic Heart Work Camp through their parish groups because of their experience as NDA students.” 

Since 1993, CHWC has been providing parish youth groups, teens and adult leaders with service opportunities. Now, with more than 14,000 participants, CHWC is the largest Catholic service experience of its kind in the country. Each summer, CHWC works to restore homes and hearts, feed the hungry, and care for or simply lift the spirits of children, the elderly and disabled.

CHCW accepts all the service help that they can get. With 177,725 total campers and counting, they continue to invite all teens, college students, young adults, and youth leaders to echo Christ’s love in communities across the country. To learn more about CHWC, how you can help and their mission, visit