Alex Nordlinger '19 reflects on immersion experience in Appalachia

"The Prep community is connected like no other and I am so grateful to be a part of it."

A photo of the Appalachia Immersion Trip group in Barren Springs, Va. Alex is the first one to the left of the Glenwood United Methodist Church sign.

By Alex Nordlinger '19

It’s hard to believe I only have one year left at Prep. I’ve developed so many great connections inside the classroom, on the soccer field, and through the many extracurricular opportunities Prep has granted to me. I’ve grown immensely as a person these past three years and I am looking forward to a great Senior year.

This past summer began with the opportunity to lead Prep’s Appalachia Immersion trip. I’ve been lucky enough to go to Barren Springs, Virginia, twice over the past two summers with Prep, once as a participant and once as a student leader. The time I’ve spent in Barren Springs has had a profound impact on who I am as a person and who I want to be as I become a Man for Others.

  Alex on power washing duty in Virginia.

Through my time in the classroom, on the field, and serving others, I’ve learned the value of being part of a community. The Prep community is connected like no other and I am so grateful to be a part of it.

Just a week after the immersion trip, I flew to Spain to spend a month in Gijón with a host family. This was a big step outside my comfort zone, but I had the confidence to do this thanks to Prep’s continually encouraging me to take risks and to try something new. I’ve also had an awesome experience in Spanish class the past few years with Ms. Laguzza, which gave me the idea on go on such a trip. Now that I am home for the summer, I can focus on training for soccer and summer work.

Looking forward to the school year, I’m sure it will be great. I’m taking a lot of classes that I’m excited about, including a dual enrollment multivariable calculus course online through the Jesuit Virtual Learning Academy, a resource Prep has that offers us a far wider selection of courses than those you would typically find in a classroom setting.

Alex with his host brother in Spain.

Senior year is also a big year for community service. Prep helps each of us find the perfect organization to serve with, and I am planning on doing my service through Urban Impact in Bridgeport, a program that supports the youth living in the P.T. Barnum public housing complex. The community service aspect of Prep, for me, has been among the most impactful parts of my experience. Being given the opportunity to help so many deserving people and to be exposed to the different cultures that come with various backgrounds has been both fulfilling and life changing.

Between my classes, community service, and soccer, I am sure that while this upcoming year will be busy, it will also be a lot of fun. I am very excited to get back to school to see friends that I haven’t been able to see over the summer. I am so grateful for everything Prep has done for me and for the many great friendships I’ve developed — it truly is a brotherhood. I know Senior year will go by quickly, I just want to make the most of the time I have left here.