We are disappointed and a bit perplexed by the recent criticism that has been levied against the recently-established Community Council. Most of that criticism seems to center on our newly-defined community service requirement. The requirement asks that each Upper School student complete at least one half-day service project, and that this project involve at least three other members of the community in a “hands-on” effort. For clarification, we define a “hands-on” project as one in which there is face-to-face contact with the recipient(s) of the service. So, for instance, sending cards to our forces in Iraq would not qualify but visiting the wounded in a Veteranâs Hospital would qualify.
The group requirement was established because the Council feels that a shared experience with others from HW is highly desirable in that this experience has the distinct likelihood of creating “community.” The “hands-on” requirement is an attempt to make experiences more meaningful, hopefully providing a life-long impact in many of us.
We realize and applaud the fact that a lot of HW students are involved in service activities that fall outside of our guidelines. It is important to note that just because these activities might not “count” for credit does NOT AT ALL mean that they donât “count” in the greater and more important sense of impacting the world. For those students who might feel that their individual efforts are somehow invalidated by our requirement, we urge you to take a hard look at what motivated you to do the service in the first place. Our hope is that all of the service accomplished by our students is done so out of a desire to make the world a better place. Any other motive should be secondary, at best.
We are saddened to see that a portion of the student body is so focused upon such a minimal requirement. As of the writing of this letter, there are 261 days left until graduation and we are asking you to spend approximately four hours of one of those days in service. For some, it will be four hours on top of the amazing service that youâve already done. For others, it may be some of the only hours you will spend in such a manner. But in either case, these few hours may enable you to meet a new friend and make an impact in the world. How, we ask, can that possibly be a bad thing?
â Jordan Church
Fr. J. Young
Advisers to Community Council