Written by Mickey Howe
Over the past 14 years, 900 Elms students have participated in some sort of community work, whether it has been locally, nationally, or abroad. Elms College offers mission trips to different areas of the world every year. This year, Elms College women’s lacrosse captain Jackie Soucia, accompanied by other Elms College students, visited Jamaica during the week of March 2nd-10th as part of the mission trips program.
When asked about what type of projects students participated in while in Jamaica, Soucia said “We assisted in a few clinics around the island, visited nursing homes, infirmaries, disability homes and did some home visits too.” Soucia said that the students helped wherever they could on the island, whether it was helping with meal times, transportation, or even just sitting with the residents talking and sharing stories.
Jackie is familiar with mission trips, as she participated in a trip to Haiti her junior year of high school. “Ever since that trip to Haiti I have had a heart for mission trips and knew that I wanted to participate in one again in the future” Soucia stated. Jackie said that she chose Jamaica as the place to go because as a nursing major, she was very interested in the medical aspect of it.
Soucia said “After three long years, I was able to use what I was taught (in the nursing program at Elms) to help others. Health care providers are scarce in Jamaica, many people are limited to attending clinics like the ones we helped in, so to help in any way possible was an amazing opportunity.” Jackie says that the trip to Jamaica was a “life changing experience.” The landscape, food, music but mostly the people is what made it such a great experience for Jackie.
“Coming back from this trip has made me realize to slow down and enjoy the people and world around you. We have a lot to be thankful for here and this trip to Jamaica has reminded me of that.” When asked if she had future plans to participate in any more mission trips Jackie said it would be a great opportunity. “I would love to travel to areas in need once I have my nursing license. Even in the United States, we have many populations that are in need. Having a tangible skill to help others in times of crisis is something that I am thankful for and plan to use in the future, whether it's here or in another country.”
As for athletics, Jackie is part of both the Elms College women’s soccer team and the lacrosse team. Soucia was All-Conference in lacrosse her sophomore year. She accumulated the third most points and goals in a single season in school history. She was also a part of the 2016 NECC champions women’s soccer team.
Jackie was named captain by her coaches and peers prior to the start of the 2018 lacrosse season. When asked what makes Jackie a good captain, first-year coach Rosa Riccobono said “Jackie knows what it takes to be successful both on and off the field. She sees the whole picture.” Riccobono also stated that Jackie is a “positive and encouraging teammate and is always helping her teammates on and off the field.”
“Jackie is very coachable. She listens, takes directions well, and never gives up in a practice or a game.” Added Riccobono. The team was picked to finish first in the NECC preseason poll and completed an undefeated NECC regular-season run to lock up the top seed and home-field advantage in the upcoming NECC Tournament, and Jackie's leadership is what they need to achieve the next goal. “Our goal for the season is to win the conference and advance to the NCAA tournament. We have new goals every game whether it’s more ground balls or less turnovers and these help to motivate and keep up accountable. We have had quite a few games that we accomplish our daily goals and that’s rewarding.” stated Soucia. As for personal goals go, Soucia says she wants to reach 100 career goals by the end of the season, a feat she accomplished on April 14.
Jackie’s leadership and attitude both on and off the field will hopefully lead the Blazers to a conference title and an NCAA tournament appearance.