Due to the current events of COVID-19, the seniors of class 2020 and 2021 are not being required to complete the normal 10 hours of community service. Community service has always been a big part of getting a high school diploma but the worldly climate this year is nothing of the usual.
Community service coordinator and reading specialist Carol Ullery said, “The administration made that recommendation to the school board and they waived the 10 hours of community service that is required to earn a diploma from the LSR7 district this year for the class of 2021 as well as cutting in half the A+ hours.” These requirements have been in place for 28 years, but the district has adapted it to meet the current restrictions put in place under social distancing.
Ullery said, “To put yourself at one of the social service locations, a thrift store, or tutoring for the A+ hours, is getting more and more unlikely for students. It would be very difficult for the school board to tell students to go out in the community when everyone is saying to stay in.”
Senior Kate Voss has been volunteering for the Summer Lunch Program for six years. She said she has continued to volunteer throughout the pandemic because of the relationships she’s built with the students and her desire to get hours for college applications.
She said, “Usually most years we make lunches by washing fruit and put them and chips in a bag and we would also make pb&j’s as well.” Voss would make 60-90 of these every weekday during the summer for kids who usually rely on non-school lunch she said.
“There were a lot of restrictions this year and we had to make sure we wiped all the tables down. We had to make sure everything was prepackaged which was the biggest change, but I’m happy to get some of my hours in,” Voss said.
With Voss doing this for so long she says it’s very rewarding getting to build a bond with everyone she delivers to.
“I get to talk to the kids while delivering and they would be excited because they got new shoes one day or they’re going back to school. It was cool because there was one guy whose wife was pregnant and we got to get updates throughout the summer,” Voss said.
IB program coordinator Christy Dabalos said that the change in community service is forcing kids to be creative in how they do things and also teaching them to adapt. While LSR7 waived the community service requirement, those working towards IB or IBCP diplomas are still required to complete their community service.
Dabalos said that between August of their junior year to March of their senior year, IB students complete up to 100 hours of community service through clubs and even certain courses.
“I have a lot of kids who are involved in activities and clubs and any class you’re in, like art class or pe class can count towards that strand of activity, and this certainly has been harder because it’s not as fun to do things virtually,” said Dabalos.
“Service can be anything like helping your neighbors, and I’m fairly flexible anyway, but with this I’m being more flexible. I have not taken that requirement away and we certainly understand that the service piece of it might be more difficult for students,” said Dabalos.
“What we want is to have students be productive citizens and give them life experiences that other people may have. Also they’ll get along better with people once students find out what’s going on in the world they’ll want to help. And fortunately, we force those experiences on you and a lot of time students will say they got more out of it than the people or communities that they were helping,” Dabalos said.