Marian Catholic senior has mountains of missions to accomplish
BY CHERYL DANGEL BARTOLINI Correspondent September 6, 2013 2:34PM
Danielle Sovereign, a senior at Marian Catholic High School, volunteered to help rehab homes in the Appalachian Mountains in Kentucky during the summer. | Photo courtesy of Allison Smith
Updated: October 10, 2013 6:08AM
Danielle Sovereign, a senior at Marian Catholic High School in Chicago Heights, is a veteran when it comes to community service.
Since she was a freshman, she’s been involved helping out her school and community.
This summer, she took her volunteering a step further. In June, Sovereign, 17, traveled to Kentucky, where she worked in the mountains of Appalachia rebuilding homes for the needy.
Sovereign worked on home projects from 7 a.m. until 3 p.m. In one instance, she helped landscape a home, and on another project, she helped clean a home and repair its roof.
“The experience made me realize that people live a lot differently than I do and not everyone is as comfortable as I am. Many don’t have the necessities of life. It felt good to do more than I am capable of and I can help people in such a concrete way,” Sovereign said.
She became involved in Marian Catholic’s service club as a freshman.
“It helped me overcome the shyness of grade school and be confident that I was doing something good for my school and the community in general,” she said.
At first, she found herself volunteering at nursing homes and then preparing and serving food to the homeless at her parish, St. Agnes, in Chicago Heights.
“It meant a lot to go back there and be with some of the adults who helped me through grade school and helping the homeless there felt so good. They were so grateful,” Sovereign said.
“It makes me feel like an important member of the community, and the people there mean a lot to me. Sometimes you see them around Chicago Heights and when you actually get to know them, you feel better. You can put a name with a face.”
Independent of her school activities, Sovereign started volunteering at the South Suburban Humane Society in Chicago Heights last year.
She worked there throughout the summer as well, spending two to three hours a day walking the dogs or playing with the cats and cleaning.
The daughter of Tim and Theresa Sovereign, of South Chicago Heights, is a member of the cross country team, choir and Snowball. She is also a Madrigal singer, a Dominican Ambassador and co-treasurer of the French Honor Society.
“I have always done things on my own. I really don’t have one person who I can call a mentor, but my parents have definitely instilled moral habits in me and help me make clear decisions that I know are right,” Sovereign said.
Next year, she would like to attend college and pursue a degree in business and language translation.
“I want to do something where I can translate French and learn more languages. Maybe I’ll go into a government or business job that requires translation skills,” she said.
Sovereign said she is self-reliant when it comes to staying on task.
“My determination to see something through is what focuses me in everything I participate in,” she said. “It is hard for me to go back once I start something.
“I go after what I believe I can do and push my limits.”