The Student News Site of Cathedral High School | Indianapolis, Indiana

Irish Connection

The Student News Site of Cathedral High School | Indianapolis, Indiana

Irish Connection

The Student News Site of Cathedral High School | Indianapolis, Indiana

Irish Connection

People Help the People

A reflection upon the best and most fulfilling week of my life, and the relationships that will last a lifetime.
Chalene Braun, Kimberly Snyder, Howard Fogel and Caroline Schilling gather with KBMS students after a day of classes. Students prepared for their finals during July. Students anticipate the return of Cathedral students during their J-Term 2024.

Note: See (K)aring for (K)assie for more information, (  


I am a big fan of helping others. Strangers, friends, anyone. I want people to know they can count on me to help and that I am someone to lean on. This summer I was blessed with the opportunity to do just this: help the people of Abakaliki, Nigeria – more specifically, the students and staff of Kassie Braun Memorial Schools (KBMS). 

KassieKares, a nonprofit organization created by Kassie’s parents, Chalene and Dave, carries out a similar mission, with the goal to help enhance lives worldwide. Kassie had a large passion for travel and using her blessings to help people all over the globe. This opportunity and contribution is one I do not take lightly. 

Chalene Braun said, “Like Kassie, who felt as one with the universe as she gazed at the stars from the deck of her global voyage, these trips remind us of the importance not only to send our positive thoughts to the universe and to God but also to take action, as she did. Across continents, we connect, and in our shared acts of kindness, we become stars in a constellation of goodwill, illuminating the world with compassion.”

Earlier this year, Mr. Howard Fogel approached me with a specific favor. Fogel is someone I can lean on for help, and I first met him during my sophomore year chemistry class – a class that I had been nervous and hesitant about, turned out to be my best and most favorite Cathedral class thus far. This specific interaction with Fogel would lead to the most fulfilling week of my life and relationships that will last me a lifetime. 

Mr. Fogel being taken on a tour of Kassie Braun Memorial Schools. Upon arrival, students joined their guests to show them around and welcome us to their school. Mr. Fogel, a science teacher collaborated with students and staff to benefit their science program.

You might be confused by the extent of the conversation Fogel and I had. It started with, “Hey Caroline, I want (which means need) you to go to Africa with me this summer.” I was shocked! I didn’t know exactly how to respond. This single statement was then followed by, “I will talk to your mom. Come see me this week and we will continue this conversation.” Little did I know, he had already talked to the Brauns, and would soon extend the invitation to my mom and I. 

During this time, I was involved in the KassieKares J-Term, a week full of preparation and engagement with our sister school, KBMS. I had a growing excitement knowing that in exactly a year from then I would be traveling with fellow interested students to visit the school and immerse ourselves in the rich history of the beautiful country. To my surprise, I would be given the opportunity to visit their school just six short months later. 

I was nervous and shocked, but above all, I knew I would say, “yes” to this once in a lifetime opportunity and fully immerse myself in all that was to come. Fast forward through the visa process, the vaccinations, and the overflowing questions of, “Why are you going to Nigeria? Is that a good idea? Maybe you should reconsider.”I immediately knew the answer was clear. 

Early July, I would be boarding a flight to what would be, the best, yet the most  challenging week of my life. The two day travel experience, stress and fatigue immediately diminished as soon as the plane touchdowned in Lagos, Nigeria. This was our first stop in Nigeria, from there we went to Enugu by flight, and Abakaliki by car. KBMS is located far from the city of Abakaliki due to its size and other matters. Our arrival to our hotel late that night prepared us for the days to come and the experiences we were yet to have. 

I woke up the next morning full of excitement, and honestly a little… I mean a very little sense of anxiety. These questionable feelings were soon overturned by love and joy. Before we first went to the school to meet the students and staff, we stopped at a ceremony in the town and introduced ourselves to the Commissioner for Education and his staff. 

Spending this time in the town immediately made me so excited to meet the rest of the people at KBMS. I had heard from Father Bosco and Chalene that KBMS can be compared to the Taj Mahal, but I never truly understood this comparison until the first time we drove through the gates to the multiple colorful buildings. On the drive to KBMS, you pass by numerous other schools. Comparing this to the others, I was quick to understand the extent of goodness that has come and will continue to develop from KBMS. 

Caroline Schilling joins students to say final goodbyes. Students gathered to take photos, give hugs, and express gratitude for our week. Caroline, a senior at Cathedral, plans to return in January alongside fellow students.

I had no idea what was in store for me for the rest of this week. Looking back, I am so beyond thankful for each and every opportunity I was given. Our days varied; we went to Mass in the town, went to the Abakaliki mall, spent numerous hours at KBMS, visited the Chief Medical Director and his family, visited the Abakaliki country club, attended the cultural festival at KBMS and so much more. To recap these experiences would not fit under just one word, or even one newspaper story, but if I had to sum it up in a few words, it would be beautiful and fulfilling. Beautiful because I experienced a culture so full of life, and fulfilling because I now have a new appreciation and perception for how life looks across the globe. 

Continuing on through our week would later be the hardest “see you later”. I do not think the word “goodbye” is able to accurately represent our ongoing involvement. We then began our two day travel journey back home and started our planning for our return. When my dad picked my mom and I up from the airport, my first words were “I cannot wait to go back.” I mean that. To this day, I am anxiously waiting and counting down the days for my return. This time, with even more people and love than before, and a continuous and ongoing relationship with those at our sister school. 

To travel and see the world is a blessing – a true blessing. To help others is a blessing – a true blessing. To live like Kassie and continue to spread good around the world is a goal of mine and the opportunity I had this summer taught me more than I could have ever imagined. 


To learn more about KassieKares, please visit: 

To learn more about Kassie Braun Memorial Schools, please visit: 

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About the Contributor
Caroline Schilling
Caroline Schilling, Executive Editor
Caroline Schilling is the Megaphone Executive Editor and a Cathedran photographer. She has been on Megaphone staff since her freshman year. Caroline is a member of the Class of 2024. Also at Cathedral, she is a girls basketball manager and is heavily involved in KassieKares.

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