Bill Giuliano Finds Meaning In Service Learning

By on July 18, 2018

Bill GiulianoWhen Bill Giuliano was at Verona High School, his biggest passions were its music and football programs. At the University of Scranton, Giuliano discovered that he had a passion for service learning, or as Scranton calls it, community-based learning. Now, Giuliano is taking that passion to a new community, where it will help him earn a masters in education.

A few days after he graduated from Scranton this spring, Giuliano headed to Philadelphia, where he will be a teaching fellow for the Alliance for Catholic Education. ACE, which was founded at Notre Dame University, is like Teach for America for Catholic schools. Its fellows are assigned to Catholic schools, often in low-income or immigrant communities; Giuliano has been assigned to Monsignor Bonner and Archbishop Prendergast Catholic High School. For the next two years, he’ll help teach history in the morning and, in the afternoon, will take master’s degree classes at nearby St. Joseph’s University.

“In the last week it has become clear how much work it is,” Giuliano says. “The courses are very intensive.” Since the high school isn’t in session, the summer course work is paired with community service at a day camp in North Philadelphia.

Giuliano, who graduated VHS with the class of 2014, seems as surprised as anyone that this is what he is doing. “Before college, I never had any interest in anything like this,” he says. The University of Scranton is a Catholic, Jesuit institution of higher learning, however, and soon Giuliano found himself immersed in service learning. The university mandates community-based learning for all majors in its Panuska College of Professional Studies, and a capstone essay. Giuliano worked with Scranton’s campus ministries in social justice and, at the end of his sophomore year, did a service trip to Belize to build houses. “I fell in love with service,” he says. “I enjoyed doing something that was greater than myself.”

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“A large part of it to me is my faith,” Giuliano adds. “I was never not a religious person, but I really got in touch with my faith in college. The best way to serve God is to help those in need. On top of that, there is a certain amount of personal satisfaction in it.”

Still, it wasn’t clear that community service would be Giuliano’s future. He majored in political science and international relations, with a minor in theology, and thought he’d go into politics after graduation. While politics “isn’t entirely off the table”, Giuliano says that discovering the ACE program introduced him to some other possibilities.

The program allows him to earn a master of education degree tuition free and provides housing and a very modest stipend. ACE recruits teacher fellows from a wide range of majors at more than 200 colleges and universities, and one need not be Catholic to participate. ACE teachers are eligible for loan deferment and, possibly, partial or full cancellation of their undergraduate school debt. ACE fellows are also eligible to become members of AmeriCorps, the national network of community service programs.

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“It’s less about the the masters and more about the service–serving underprivileged areas,” Giuliano says. “It’s more helping these kids and what we can do for them.”

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