Students adjust to changes in service hours

Teacher says new requirement results in better experiences


Melissa Sheppard

Junior Ally Pea led prayer over the morning announcements on Dec. 1. Students can receive service hours for writing and leading the prayer with assistance from the prayer team. Details can be found in the student newsletter.

Daniel Kent, Reporter

This school year has seen a return to some pre-pandemic norms such as learning fully in person, eating in the new dining hall and going from class to class in two-way hallways, but students will not see a return to the previous structure of Christian service hour requirements. 

In past years, students were required to fulfill 15 to 25 hours based on their grade level. This year, while each grade level still has different requirements, those hours have either been changed or reduced. Freshmen must complete six service experiences, sophomores eight experiences and juniors and seniors 15 hours. 

“I think the changes that we’ve made are a better way to present service, and I think it’s a better way to be fulfilled by students,” said religion teacher Mrs. Cece Kasberg ‘83. 

As a religion teacher, Kasberg said she notices the change being incorporated into the students’ learning. Kasberg described a service experience or impact as “doing something outside of yourself; it’s looking outward, instead of inward.” A service experience is something that positively impacts anyone beyond one’s friends or family, and it cannot be for money, she noted. 

Kasberg explained that the Freshman Class has completed some of their service experiences during Lughnasa and the freshman retreat. The class decorated paper bags to be used in the school’s food pantry, St. Nick’s Nook. They also planted tulip bulbs on the Hill. Kasberg said, “(The tulips) will be a constant reminder of the good that they did to beautify the campus, and that’s the kind of gift that keeps on giving.”

One service option open to all students is leading the school in morning prayer. Students can sign up by using the link in the student newsletter, and they collaborate with a member of the prayer team to plan out what they will say. 

Junior Ally Pea led the school in prayer on Dec. 1. Pea worked with Kasberg to develop the prayer. “We just brainstormed together with what I wanted to say. Then, I just wrote it, and then I sent it to her,” Pea said. She explained that the prayer had to include the birthdays of the day, a brief story, a prayer, the pledge and a reminder for the students to be in uniform. 

A few minutes before prayer began, Pea said, “(I felt) nervous all of a sudden; I went into (Principal) Mrs. (Julie) Barthel’s office, and it kind of just felt like I was talking to myself. So I wasn’t really nervous after that.” 

The administration decided to implement the change to service hours. Kasberg said, “It makes (a student’s service experience) more realistic.” She explained that in past years students would get caught up in what did and did not count as service hours. She said that this distracted from the true meaning of serving the community. The new structure makes completing service hours more accessible, especially to the underclassmen who cannot drive. 

Students can report service hours or experiences as they have in previous years. Kasberg said that students should log their service through the MobileServe app. She stressed that students should enter any and all service hours because they can be put on college applications. After signing into the app and writing a brief description of the service along with the time served, students should attach a picture. Students must attach a supervisor’s email to authenticate their service. Additionally, upperclassmen must complete a service reflection form.

Kasberg said she hopes that students will continue to serve the community after high school. She said, “It’s supposed to open your eyes to a world of giving back, always. You can do that no matter what you end up being when you grow up.” Living by the Holy Cross core values and following the corporal works of mercy by serving the community is a central focus of the school’s mission of educating hearts and minds.

As for Pea, she hopes to participate again. “It was honestly kind of nice (to) lead the school in prayer,” she said.