Service: Connecting with Others & Ourselves

Nov 5, 2023

Guest Writer: Grace King, Knott Scholar Alumna

We live in a time where it is nearly impossible to escape ourselves. Our self-awareness is warped by an ever-growing presence of social media. We are flooded with information and images to compare our own lives to and to evaluate how our successes measure up to external criteria decided for us by an algorithm. This constant noise has left many, especially young people, feeling isolated and anxious.

One way to quiet this noise is service. Service reminds us of our connection to others. In a world of increasing isolation, this is increasingly important. When we put the needs of others before our own, we form deeper connections with those around us. We are able to realize that others, particularly those marginalized, are not so different from ourselves. When we connect with those on the outskirts of society, we knit our community closer together. This helps those we serve, as well as ourselves, feel less alone.

In my own life, I have had the opportunity to pursue service-oriented careers by teaching in the Archdiocese of Baltimore at Mercy High School and coaching cross country and track and field at Mount St. Mary’s University. Whether I am with my students or my athletes, seeing them grow as people and improve in the classroom and on the track fills me with more joy than my own achievements have. Each day I am motivated to grow as a teacher and coach, not for my own success, but so that I may better serve my students and athletes. Additionally, I participate in and fundraise for the Walk for Life hosted at Cathedral which supports Pregnancy Center North. These service opportunities help me live outside of myself and in true community with others which eases the feelings of isolation and anxiety prevalent in modern society.

The fact that I am currently working at two catholic institutions is not a coincidence. My Catholic education has been so formative in my life that it has inspired me to use my gifts to support the mission of Catholic schools. Being a double recipient of the Knott Scholarship has been such a blessing to my family and me and has supported me to be in a position to give back to Catholic schools.

Our faith reminds us that our lives are not our own and the gifts we have been given are not for our own success but are to be shared in service to others. I encourage young people to seek out more avenues for service, even if that means starting with an opportunity as small as a one-time weekend commitment. When we engage in service, it does not just benefit others, it is essential for our own well-being. Putting others first allows us to turn down the noise society broadcasts to us and focus on becoming more like Christ.

Grace King is a double recipient of the Knott Scholarship. She graduated Mercy High School in 2016 with the MIHJK Scholarship and in 2020 graduated from Mount St. Mary’s with the MBK scholarship.

At the Mount, Grace King double majored in biology and English and competed on the Cross-Country Track and Field Team. She received the Leo T. Collier Prize for most outstanding senior in English/Journalism. Grace now teaches science at Mercy High School in Baltimore City and is an assistant cross-country track and field coach at the Mount.