Mark Zinni’s Hometown Hero

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CHARDON, Ohio -- Students are learning a valuable lesson at Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin School, where FOX 8's Mark Zinni graduated in 1994.

“Out of anywhere, NDCL is ... the community here is incredible, and to be a part of that is just so exciting, you know? I love coming to school every day,” said Jimmy Vanek, a junior.

According to Vanek, the nearly 800 students at NDCL also love what they do outside of school.  For the second year in a row, Jimmy and fellow classmate, Hallie Stacho, traveled to Nicaragua. Along with a group of students and two chaperones, they worked with the less fortunate in Central America.

“Ever since I was young, I loved community service, I loved helping people; it gives me a really special feeling close to my heart,” said Hallie.

“I am extremely proud of Jimmy and Hallie and of all of our students,” said Sr. Jacquelyn Gusdane, NDCL's president.

Sr. Jacquelyn is one of approximately 2,200 Sisters of Notre Dame in 18 countries, including Nicaragua, where a group of fellow Northeast Ohio nuns is running the volunteer program.

“They are doing a lot of cataclysis, so instructing people in the faith, as well as empowering women and children, and then trying to address any other needs that the people feel are the real needs,” said Sr. Jacquelyn.

Part of the mission at NDCL is to educate future leaders to transform the world, and it's something the student body takes seriously.

“I encourage people to open themselves up to new experiences. You don't have to go to a place like Nicaragua,” said Jimmy.  “You can go downtown, you can go to the different communities around here--but to open yourself up because there's a lot of change that needs to happen in the world.”

That desire to make a difference is what the Sisters of Notre Dame remain focused on teaching.

“It is important for our students to know they, too, are called to walk with others,” said Sr. Jacquelyn.

“I know that my future has to do with helping others, reaching out beyond my community,” said Hallie.

Aside from the continued outreach in Nicaragua, the students are also raising money to build a library in a remote community in that country.

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