Juan Diego student takes school's motto to heart

Friday, Jan. 23, 2009

DRAPER — Spiritus Donorum. Loosely translated, Juan Diego’s motto means "Spirit of Giving." Margaret Hazuka, a senior, could be a spokesperson for this motto. Actively involved in Human Rights International, Peer Ministry, Debate, Political Awareness, Student Ambassadors, and National Honor Society organizations, she chose them because the common thread is helping people. Margaret has ambitions of becoming an activist professionally, and appreciates that Juan Diego has given her a strong foundation in both academics and social justice.

Margaret credits her parents’ political awareness, her Catholic school environment, and her parish youth programs for nurturing her passion for social activism and philanthropy – even when it was not a culturally popular thing to do.

Her role models are not modern-day idols: "In the ‘60s, you had heroes with big voices and giant protests that pushed the issues - Martin Luther King, Gloria Steinem and Ghandi." She looks to people like Deacon Paul Graham, who led her parish youth ministry group to help tribal children at a South Dakota reservation. He taught her that small gifts of kindness can be as impactful as extensive charitable works.

One fledgling activist who inspired her most was twenty-something Loren Pool, co-founder of Invisible Children. His documentary sparked a huge campaign at Juan Diego to build schools for displaced children in war-torn Northern Uganda.

"What those people showed me is that if a whole school could be inspired [by a young person] to care and respond, then maybe we could [transform] a whole country into millions of people who will care. Just like here, not everyone may have the time to be active. But if they’d all care like we do at Juan Diego – even just a little – I don’t see how we could not make a difference generations from now."

When she gets overwhelmed by senseless violence and mass starvation, or frustrated by human apathy, Margaret turns to God to keep her going.

"I know I have free will, I just have to decide to take the call, knowing He will be there behind me along the way."

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