Why are we here? On this planet? In this country? On this Mesa? We think at least part of the answer is this: to make a difference in the lives of others. That’s the basic idea behind Cate’s one-word motto, Servons. It means “let us serve.” And graduating seniors often tell us that service was among their most rewarding experiences at Cate.

We all want to change the world, but sometimes we can make the biggest difference right at home. As underclassmen, students share responsibility for basic chores around the Mesa, much the same way they'd have chores at home. Freshmen typically help out in the kitchen, while sophomores and juniors help maintain the dorms, classrooms, and grounds.

In addition participating in the chore program, they'll have a chance to serve as peer tutors or student librarians, or belong to one of the many service and civic organizations on campus. They can go on weekly service outings to organizations in and around Santa Barbara, where they can tutor school children, visit the elderly and disabled, and work on local environmental improvement projects. They'll also spend a day devoted to service in the fall of their freshmen year, and each spring their advisory groups will tackle an off-campus service project together.

Service is a particularly rewarding way to learn about different places and people. For more than 30 years, Cate students and teachers have traveled to Mexico to help out with community construction projects and work with children and their families in the Los Niños program. And in 2007, Cate joined Round Square, a global network of high schools with shared ideals surrounding service and sustainability. Round Square sponsors an annual conference as well as service and student exchange programs around the world.