Service is a part of who we are as a Catholic school community here at Cotter. We are each called to serve the marginalized, the forgotten, the refugee, and the lost. Therefore, service is an expectation of all of our students, faculty, and staff at Cotter.
For 2022-23, we are piloting Helper Helper for all of our volunteering needs. Students should log in to Helper Helper to sign up for volunteer opportunities and to track past service hours. Helper Helper can be accessed from a computer, iPhone or Android using Cotter login credentials. We suggest downloading the app for convenience and ease of use, although it is not necessary.
Log in to Helper Helper using the following steps:
Sit down with your Cotter student
Go to: App.HelperHelper.com
Log in using the student’s Cotter email address and password.
Shortcuts in Helper Helper:
To sign up for volunteer opportunities, Click on “Find Opportunities”
To view Service ideas, Click on “Ongoing Opportunities”
To track past service hours, Click on “Add a Past Commitment”
To see total service hours, click on “See Stats & Goals”
To see upcoming opportunities for which you have signed up for or past hours that have been validated, Click on “My Commitments”
To request a Service Record, click “See Stats & Goals”. Then click on “Service Record.”
To see the Cotter Service Requirements, click on “Home” and scroll down.
Each student is required to complete 10 hours of community service each year, with a minimum of 5 hours per semester. Additionally, each student must complete at least 1 hour of service in the Local or Global category.
students in grades 9-12
Each student is required to complete 20 hours of community service each year, with a minimum of 10 hours per semester. Additionally, each student must complete at least 1 hour of service in the Local or Global category.
Our service and mission trip program that was founded in 1995 by former Cotter Schools President, Jim Devine. The purpose of our service trip experiences is to allow high school students to experience new cultures while providing service with a Christian focus. Types of service provided by our students include volunteering at a food pantry or childcare center, soup kitchen assistance, outdoor cleanup, and general home repair. Each year, several service trip options are available for our students. In recent years, these options have included:
Weekend Urban Plunge
Friday morning to Sunday afternoon and takes place during the school year. We travel to Minneapolis, St. Paul or Milwaukee, WI. A student can expect to volunteer at local non-profits, learn more about the injustices and poverty within Minnesota and the world, and have fun with their classmates. Volunteer sites vary each time, but typically, we package food at Feed My Starving Children or Second Harvest Heartland, serve a meal at a homeless shelter or soup kitchen, and help at area non-profits, based on the need at the time of our trip. An urban plunge costs $125 per person. Included in the cost is lodging, transportation, food, and a Cotter service trip t-shirt.
Summer Mission Trips
Week service long trips from Sunday to Saturday. These trips take place during the summer, in mid-late July or early August. Students travel to a Midwest state (usually within a day’s drive of Winona). They typically share the week with 1-2 other schools from around the nation, so students make friends from other schools and states! Students volunteer each day from 9am-3pm at local non-profits. The service experiences will depend on the need. We have served in Chicago, New Orleans, Benton Harbor, MI, and Kansas City, MO. A summer service trip costs $400-500 per person. Included in the cost is lodging, transportation, food, and a Cotter service trip t-shirt.
Rooted in our Catholic tradition, liturgy and prayer are foundational to life at Cotter Schools. We gather regularly for prayer and the Celebration of the Eucharist in order to deepen our relationship with God and strengthen our bonds as a community of faith.
We gather as a whole school community, on average, once a month for the Celebration of the Eucharist. These celebrations are open to the whole Cotter community. We love having parents and friends of the school join us for these celebrations.
Most Friday mornings we start our day with the Celebration of the Eucharist in the Saint Mary of the Angels Chapel at 8:00 a.m. This Mass is open to the entire community and different school groups (teams, clubs, fine arts groups) are given a special invitation to attend.
We encourage family members to attend our weekly mass, but there is a special invitation the week that your child's club or team is invited.
Each semester we have a Reconciliation Service with the opportunity for individual confessions. We are blessed to have numerous priests from the Winona community join us to offer this healing sacrament.
We begin each Thursday morning with an assembly for Grades 9-12 in the St. Cecilia Theatre where we spend time in prayer reflecting on the Word of God. This prayer is lead by Cotter faculty & staff and students.
This conference is an exciting, three-day experience of prayer, community and empowerment. Every other year Catholic students in grades 9-12 will meet in Indianapolis, IN in November. Approximately 25,000 young people and chaperones gather for the event. The conference include keynote addresses and smaller workshop sessions with Catholic speakers addressing a wide variety of topics relevant to teens. There are also many opportunities for prayer, Mass, service projects, concerts, vendors, etc. - all different avenues to speak to young people to encourage and develop their faith!
Check out articles from the Cotter Chronicle from the 2015 and 2017 NCYC trips.
"My experience at NCYC was both exactly as I had expected it to be, and also something totally different than I expected, but in a good way! I had talked to many people about NCYC before I went, so I kind of knew what to expect at the stadium and at the conference center during the three days, but what totally caught me off guard was how packed and fun filled the days were. There was so much to do every day and there were always new people to get to know. Not only is it a blast, but after NCYC I also felt very strong in my relationship with God. Getting to receive Communion and have Eucharistic Adoration with thousands of other Catholics teens was one of the most amazing spiritual experiences of my life. The concerts are so much fun, and I definitely recommend going down to the floor and dancing! You also get to see the downtown a couple of times when you go out for lunch or dinner, but don't forget warm clothes cause it got a bit chilly last year! All in all, it is such a fun way for young Catholics to grow stronger in your faith and have a ton of fun for three whole days!"
amy french, cotter parent
"I wanted to reach out to other parents just to affirm from a parent standpoint, for those who have never had a child go – let me tell you it is an AWESOME experience. Sam (our oldest) went once his Junior year with his brothers, Jake, Noah, and David as freshman. The triplets loved it so much they went again in 2015. My daughter is planning to go next year. Consider doing this – it’s such a great experience!"
mrs. corcoran, cotter campus minister
"I've been so blessed to be able to chaperone the last two National Catholic Youth Conferences with our Cotter students. Everyone gains something different, but overall, there is an amazing feeling of being in a stadium with 25,000 other young Catholics and their chaperones. I believe that each person walks away with a better understanding of their faith, practical ways to deepen their prayer life, and the recognition that God loves us so much and desperately wants to be in a relationship with us. I wish every Cotter students could attend this conference!"
This NCYC trip is coordinated through Julie Fitzgerald at Saint Mary's Parish with Mrs. Corcoran as our Cotter liaison. There is a cost for the trip - last year, it was $550 per person, but there are also many opportunities to fundraise with the local parishes over the next year.
Please contact Mrs. Corcoran with any questions or concerns. Please take time to pray about this amazing opportunity. Those who've attended in the past have had wonderful, life-changing things to share about their experience.