Each year, S&T students make sure St. Patrick’s Day is about more than the festivities. For the third year in a row, students have engaged in the “Gonzo Gives Back Day of Service,” finding places in town where they can spend their time and improve the community.

H.O.P.E. House of Rolla, was one such organization to benefit from the students.

Alfaye Jackson, founder and chief executive of H.O.P.E. House, said, “I’m always impressed, and grateful, that students take the time to give back in addition to all the work they’re having to do…to prepare for their classes. They could be doing a whole lot of stuff and they’re out there in the community giving back.”

Jackson added that she was also impressed by the number of faculty members who decided to work alongside the students.

“S&T students have been a major part of H.O.P.E. House….but when we were contacted, what I noticed about [Gonzo Gives Back], is that it’s made up of all the different student body [members] as well as faculty,” she said. “To know that even the faculty has gotten involved, I was impressed with that.”

H.O.P.E. House is a faith-based organization in Rolla, dedicated to providing shelter for homeless youths. The students worked to make sure the front yard was clean, as well as organizing the home’s interior and clearing space.

“We applaud you guys, and we appreciate you very much,” Jackson said to the students.

While volunteering at H.O.P.E. House, the S&T students had a chance to celebrate a special member of their organization, their President, Rosalie Spencer, who recently announced her retirement from Rolla Municipal Utilities.

“She has not only been committed to H.O.P.E. House for the last six years, she has also been faithfully committed to her job at RMU,” said Jackson.

Spencer began working at RMU in 1968, and is looking forward to float the length of the Mississippi River by boat, stopping at different cities along the way.

“I want to do some serious bus traveling,” she added. “I’m kind of a gypsy at heart, I want to go places and do things.”

After a successful career at RMU, Spencer leaves some words of advice for those working at their own jobs.

“I think a person should do due diligence,” she said. “When you have a job, you’ve sold your time to that company or person and you should give them full measure or more, if you can.”

Spencer also advises others to live in the moment and make each opportunity count.

“You only pass this way once,” she said.

Alfaye Jackson, along with the assembled S&T Students, honored Spencer with a cake and a few words of thanks.

To Spencer, she said, “I am grateful for you as a steward in the community, but more grateful that you’re my right hip with H.O.P.E.. I could not have done what we’ve done in the past seven years without you.”

“I have to give God all the honor and glory,” responded Spencer. She added that she has been privileged to work at RMU.