Service Learning Program

Service Learning is a long-standing tradition at Schools of the Sacred Heart, and Villa Duchesne is no exception. Over the years, the Service Learning Program has thrived and changed with the times but has always remained committed to educating students to “a social awareness which impels to action.”

Villa Duchesne students in grades 7-12 pledge to a minimum number of hours each year outside of their school day. However, most students complete many more hours of service, as social justice becomes a habit of the heart.

  • Grades 7 and 8 are required to perform 10 hours of service each year
  • Grades 9 through 11 are required to perform 20 hours of service each year
  • Grade 12 is required to perform 40 hours of service between Spring Break of their junior year and Christmas Break of their senior year

Students are encouraged to take personal responsibility for satisfying their service commitment at agencies like St. Patrick’s Center, St. Vincent de Paul, Crisis Nursery, Energy Care, Head Start, Women’s Safe House, and St. Elizabeth Adult Day Care Centers. The Director of Service Learning can recommend additional sites if a student feels called to serve a particular population. The School also offers service trips each year. Past opportunities have included rebuilding homes in New Orleans destroyed by Hurricane Katrina and assisting ailing pilgrims traveling to Lourdes.

Students can enhance their service commitment in any of these categories:

  • Engaging in advocacy on a social justice issue
  • Assisting as altar servers, Eucharistic ministers, lectors, and PSR teachers
  • Helping a population in need or working on an issue of social justice, including fundraisers and conference organizers
  • Supporting open houses and class reunions at school
  • Engaging in environmental service or animal service

Service Learning is aligned with the Theology curriculum as students discuss in class the impact of their service on themselves and others. Students will also engage in school-wide service projects for “the building of community as a Christian value.” Graduates leave Villa Duchesne having lived the words of Janet Erskine Stuart, RSCJ: “Try to render all possible service to others, not talking of the thing, but doing it. If you are known to be a person who loves to serve, many opportunities will come in your way, to your great inconvenience perhaps, but to your far greater profit and instruction.”

"The one thing I found so unique about Villa was being part of a worldwide network of schools. My daughter participated in the Taiwan Exchange Program. She went to the Sacred Heart school of Taipei, Taiwan. She was there for three weeks and we in turn hosted several students at our home as part of a cultural exchange. We share a lot with other schools around the country and around the world."

~ Villa Duchesne Parent


  • Villa Duchesne and Oak Hill School
  • 801 South Spoede Road
  • Saint Louis, MO 63131-2699
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