Community service reflects school’s values

It’s more about experience than hours, Mrs. Braun says


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Part of junior Liam Eifert’s community service included shoveling the track at Arlington Middle School on a snowy February afternoon.

Mary Kate Pastorino, Reporter

Service is one of the most important aspects of student life here on the Hill. It not only brings the community together, but also allows students to grow their hearts and minds through volunteer opportunities and service to others.

It sometimes can be difficult for students to get involved within the school community, especially if they are unsure of what service opportunities are available. For example, some of the most prestigious leadership roles like class officers and Student Council offer opportunities to serve the school community, but there are limited spots for each of those groups.

However, based on the school’s Holy Cross values, it is important for all students on the Hill to have a desire to volunteer and serve the community, even if they have completed their required service hours.

Mrs. Shannon Braun, freshman experience director and academic operations manager, gave some insight on the best ways to get involved. She said, “Because we try (to) develop the heart and the mind, it’s really important for us to get people to want to serve our community. It’s part of our Holy Cross values and it’s something we want to instill in kids to want to do, and not something that they feel like they have to do just to graduate.”

Freshman Josie Myers said that she believes service is important for students on the Hill. She said, “I think that (service hours) are beneficial and I feel like by doing them I want to do other kinds of service.”

If a student wants to get involved and volunteer, Braun said, “Sometimes it’s just a matter of jumping in with both feet, and I think sometimes for kids that is intimidating to a certain degree, but I also don’t think that everything is really publicized.”

For students who want to serve but are unsure what steps to take, especially if they are not chosen for selective volunteer groups, Braun said that their best option is to ask questions. Ask upperclassmen what they do for service, find a teacher to moderate a new club for a cause that the student is passionate about or ask Braun how they can serve the community.

When it comes to required service hours, Braun explained how the program is in transition right now. She said, “Instead of service hours, we want you to get a certain amount of impacts and by that you might serve a place for five hours, but we want to hear from you of who did you impact or how did you impact the community.” This gives students the opportunity to reflect on what they do for others, rather than checking a box that says they reached the required time of service.

Plans also are being made to continue mission trips, which are another way for students to serve. Mission trips are a service opportunity available to students during which they travel as a group out of state for a couple days and perform different acts of service for the community there. Many of the Hill’s mission trips take place in South Carolina. “All of the teachers who run (mission trips) are very excited and almost antsy to get back involved and they miss it just as much as the students do,” Braun said. “It is such an incredible bonding experience for the students. I think when you serve together, it forms relationships that you wouldn’t be able to have otherwise.” These are usually offered to upperclassmen first, but if any additional spots are available, then underclassmen also have the chance to go.

Myers suggested some ways that she thinks the service program could be even better on the Hill. She said, “If (students) want to do more service outside of school but they can’t if they don’t have transportation, (the school) could have (service) trips.” She also mentioned that starting a service club which would allow students to go on field trips to different volunteer organizations would be a great way for students to serve others.