ASC: Giving Back While Moving Forward


ASC members Jeffrey Pelayo, Haley Guinasso, and Alex Campbell in front of the ASC house.

Margot Gwynn, Staff Writer

Every school year, the Seattle Prep community comes to know and love the year’s Alumni Service Corps volunteers. After graduating from Prep and then college, ASC volunteers come back to the school that has ingrained rich, Jesuit values within them to provide a year of service to the school. They live in a community with Prep students, teachers, and their fellow graduates and fulfill a variety of academic, extra-curricular, athletic, spiritual, and formational needs on campus. No matter the activity, ASC volunteers live out the core values of service, community, and personal growth that the organization holds sacred.

The National ASC program was founded by the Missouri Province in 1991, and additional Jesuit high schools began similar programs shortly after. Although Seattle Prep is not currently part of the national program in connection with volunteer placement, it shares the same Jesuit values and strives for volunteers to serve out of gratitude and model the Graduate at Graduation characteristics.

Seattle Prep welcomed the first class of ASC volunteers back in August of 2017. Seattle Prep alumnus, science teacher, and current ASC Director Mr. Meza began researching to discover if a program like ASC would make sense for Prep just five years ago. After recruiting, marketing, and leading the year one group of ASC volunteers, he realized how important and meaningful this program could be to Prep.

“How they do their year of service looks different for every single volunteer,” Mr. Meza said. Each volunteer teaches in a classroom with another teacher, leads and participates in retreats, has a role in admissions, helps welcome and lead eighth-grade visits and volunteers, attends and plans alumni events, and guides students in extra-curricular activities, clubs, or athletics.

Prep has welcomed three alumni back to Prep this year. Ms. Campbell, a graduate of Gonzaga University, primarily works in the Admissions and Development office and will assist with alumni engagement projects, the auction, and Young Women’s Retreat as the year progresses. Mr. Pelayo, a graduate of Fordham University, is helping with Journalism, Video Production classes, Pulse, and the Theater program. Ms. Guinasso, also a graduate from Gonzaga University, is assisting in Community Ministry planning masses, liturgies, and retreats, as well as co-teaching Media Literacy and Faith in Action.

Mr. Meza’s role as ASC Director sanctions him the “house dad” title, as he leads weekly meetings with the ASC volunteers to work on and discuss “conflict resolution within the house, team building, collaboration, spiritual direction, and formation,” Mr. Meza said. Additionally in weekly meetings, ASC volunteers discuss what they’ve done in a day, where they shared their gifts, and where they’ve seen God in their students.

None of the current ASC members directly envisioned coming back to Prep and being a part of the ASC program, because it didn’t exist when they were students. “They loved Prep and wanted to give back in some capacity, but they just had no vision of what that could be. Now that this program has been around for five years, now there’s a literal visual of what that could look like,” said Mr. Meza.

“I had the idea of going into a ‘big girl job’ straight out of college and that just never really appealed to me, especially after quarantine and having the end of college online. I wanted to feel connected to a community and thought that Prep was the perfect place for that,” said Ms. Campbell.

Looking forward, Ms. Guinasso hopes to make Prep a more positive place. “I want to help cultivate an even more loving and accepting community. I also want to learn more about myself and push myself to work hard. I am excited to meet students and form relationships with other faculty and staff as well,” said Ms. Guinasso about her aspirations for the year.

Mr. Pelayo thinks it’s meaningful “to have young people tell other young people how they can be better people, better leaders and better servers to the world.” He looks forward to sharing his knowledge with students and telling them things he wishes he knew when he was in high school.

The ASC excels at building leadership capacity and models how to inspire others. “I think what ASC does for everyone, but also for me, is realize that mentorship- being a good teammate, being a coach, being a tutor one on one- can be done in different ways. That affirms me and wants to make me keep doing this for another 40 years,” said Mr. Meza. The ASC continues to enrich the community with every new volunteer that comes to dedicate their time to Seattle Prep.