Coming back from Spring Break, you can clearly see what people did during their time off. You have the people who went home to spend time with their friends and family, you have the people who went on vacation and come back with a tan, and then you have your people who come back from APEX. These people are wearing the key essentials for an APEX trip which usually consist of denim, a flannel, some boots, and even a bandana. When these people come back from APEX, they bring back a new type of energy that no one can really ever describe; we call this the “APEX high.” This APEX high is the love and passion that we have for this program and how we express our love for it. APEX is more than just a service trip for Saint Joe’s students; it is a lifestyle.
APEX, or the Appalachian Experience, has been something that has held a special place in my heart during my time at St. Joe’s. Many other students would agree that being on APEX is a time to take what we have learned about the Jesuit values and practice it on this trip, to be men and women with and for others. This is the time to put down our phones and just experience nature and the people that surround us. Going down to areas such as Kentucky, Virginia, and West Virginia, I have experienced and embraced a different type of culture and gained a family with their community. The memories that I have from this trip, from playing the guitar to my group, to staying up until 3AM getting to know the other participants’ life stories, to jamming out to Creed and Nickelback in the vans, are the memories I will cherish for a long time.
This year when the applications for APEX went up, it only took five hours to reach the capacity of over 500 participants to sign up; that had never happened before. This shows how much this program means to the students at Saint Joseph’s and how, just like it has for me, it has made a huge impact in their lives. APEX has continued to provide me with new life lessons and families that I have gained from the participants in my group and the community that surrounds us. Words can’t describe how thankful I am for how APEX has transformed me into the person and leader that I am today. To current and future Hawks, my best advice I can give you before I graduate is when applications go up again for next year’s APEX, don’t hesitate and don’t overthink it, just sign up because I can promise you that you won’t regret it!
Joey Giovanisci is a senior from Pasadena, California. He is studying Sports Marketing and Leadership, Ethics & Organizational Sustainability (LEO for short…fun fact: that’s his zodiac sign). When he’s not jamming out to Creed or Nickleback, you can find him giving tours in the Office of Undergraduate Admission, participating in Collegiate Challenge and just being an overall awesome guy.