Sentinel Service Day: A Day of Giving Back

Four hundred and fifty kids. Eight projects. One day.

On September 27, the students of SMA will put down their pencils, and set aside their books and classwork to step out into the Duluth community to take part in Sentinel Service Day, their annual day of service.

Students will give back to their neighbors in a multitude of ways: spreading cheer in a nursing home, cleaning churches at local parishes, picking up garbage on trails, and more. Each grade will have one specific project to complete that day with the intention of making a positive impact in the community.

SMA students prepare to head out into the community on their annual day of service in 2018.

SMA students prepare to head out into the community on their annual day of service in 2018.

This day of service, previously known as the Work-A-thon, reflects Stella Maris Academy’s mission to serve as Jesus taught. Service is embedded in the school’s culture and lived out through the year in both small and large-scale service work. Sentinel Service Day is our largest service project and one of our biggest fundraisers of the year!

As students excitedly gather their pledges and serve the community on Sentinel Service Day, many community members rally in support of SMA.

One of these generous supporters is Mike Schoonover, proprietor of Jersey Mike’s Subs in Duluth, who is donating all of the custom-made t-shirts for students on Sentinel Spirit Day. He is also partnering with SMA to offer another promotion, which includes donating 10% of Jersey Mike’s Subs purchases to SMA from Sept. 24-27 and providing coupons for $1 off regular subs and $2 off giant subs during those days. Please visit our Facebook page for more information and to get your coupons.

Mike is a parishioner of the Cathedral of Our Lady. It was while sitting in a pew there one day that the idea of supporting Stella Maris Academy came to mind. Mike was one of five kids in his family that attended Catholic school growing up, and he remembered the mission and needs of a Catholic school.

Supporting SMA students on Sentinel Service Day seemed like a natural fit, Mike said, because Jersey Mike’s Subs has a culture of giving back.

“There’s a thousand things we try to do for our associates and the community,” Mike said. “Whatever we can do to help others is the culture we live with.”

The business has helped multiple local schools and sports team since opening nine months ago, and as a chain, generates thousands of dollars in giving each month for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

Mike was inspired to give in Duluth, which he describes as a “city with a small town atmosphere.” He has been to Catholic churches all throughout the United States, and says the thing that stands out about his parish in Duluth is the strong sense of community.

As for the faculty, staff and students of Stella Maris Academy, they could not be more grateful for that strong sense of community and the supporters who have made events like Sentinel Service Day successful.

“When speaking to Mike about his generous offer to partner with us, it is obvious that stewardship is embedded in his work and his work culture. It is clearly so second nature to him that he is almost nonchalant about it,” said Teresa Kenney, who serves in the Development Office at SMA.

“When he learned of Sentinel Service Day, he immediately and without hesitation offered to assist in a big way. Not only does support like this enable us to live out our mission, it bolsters the faculty and staff who know, understand, and appreciate that we could not succeed without people like Mike and the support of our loving community,” Teresa said.

If you would like to learn more about Sentinel Service Day, please contact Teresa Kenney at If you are interested in pledging support, click here.

Katelyn KasellaComment