Joint student mission trip crosses boundaries, local and international

Over the past five years or so, students from Culver Community High School and Culver Academies have continued a collaboration which was unprecedented at the time of its debut: that of a shared mission trip to Mexico to serve people there through Habitat for Humanity.
The tradition is slated to continue this year, and two CCHS students joined representatives of the Academies at the Culver Lions Club’s February 23 meeting to discuss the project.
Retired Academies faculty member -- and active Lion -- Fred Lintner said the school has used its spring break for various mission trips for the past 15 years, adding that last year four CCHS students joined the trip.
“We think this is a wonderful program,” Lintner said. “This is not a fun trip; it’s a working trip. They work hard.”
Last year’s group included Academies wellness instructor (and monthly Citizen columnist) Dana Neer, who was unable to speak to the audience due to a car accident several weeks prior, whose recovery included his jaw being wired shut. Instead, Neer’s daughter Waverly, a senior well-known statewide for her success in track and cross country (she won the state meet in the latter sport this year, coming in one second from the state record, noted Lintner) planning to attend Columbia University this fall.
Waverly Neer explained the Mexico trip, which the school has undertaken the past six years or so, is a sub-unit of the Academies’ many mission trips. She said the past destination of central Mexico will be changed this spring due to drug war violence, to a small surfing town in southern Mexico, where students will work with Habitat to build three homes for poverty-stricken families who have never owned a set of keys.
“We’ll be working every day for four or five house in blazing heat,” Neer noted, adding last year’s collaboration with Culver Community “was a great partnership. We (usually) don’t get much interaction.”
CCHS student Jessica Hominger, who the Lions will help sponsor on the trip, told Club members she’s “very excited to go.” Active in sports, Hominger has undertaken community service work through the Cavs Service Club at CCHS, as well as CYCO (Culver Youth Community Organization, a joint service club between the two schools) and was a leader in BIRD (a community service collaboration between the schools and adults last summer). Hominger has been Vice President of the Industrial Tech Club at her school, and was secretary during the building of that club’s successful hovercraft. Noting she moved to the area in third grade and helped build the family’s home, Hominger said she “had a lack of religion in my life, but I’ve gotten involved with a youth group recently, which has helped me so much. I hope going down (to Mexico) will help me be more faithful and more in touch with God. My youth group has helped me become a different person. I look at (the mission trip) not as work, but fun.I’ve always loved helping will be a learning experience and a religious opportunity.
“I’m going to represent you and the Culver Lions Club and be an ambassador,” she added, telling members, “I appreciate the things you do.”
Hominger also said she hopes to become a traveling nurse and help people internationally and in the U.S.
Fellow CCHS senior Ben Newman, attending the meeting with his father, Herb, explained he’s enrolled in a computer vocational class at Plymouth.
“I’m excited to go on this trip,” said the younger Newman. “I want to be able to help people.”
Noting he’s been part of Marshall County 4H and has been a junior leader for five of the past six years, Newman also described past service efforts such as purchasing, wrapping, and distributing Christmas presents to those in need.
“This trip is something I really wanted to go on,” he added. “I really want to help people down in Mexico.”