I want to focus my update this week on the topic of service. While it is true that we have never adopted a service learning requirement, primarily because we have some reservations about “mandatory” or “required” service really being service, that does not mean that we don’t highly encourage all ages of high school students to get involved in various forms of service projects. The primary reason we encourage students to get involved in service as young people is because we believe they will find helping others to be very rewarding, and this will lead to a lifetime habit. I would also like to point out that service is a very considerable factor in a large portion of the scholarships that are given each year to our graduates. The Bruce Krier Foundation specifically has given $15,000 of scholarships each year with a singular focus on service to our seniors. A former OHS graduate has given two $1000 scholarships to students who give back to their communities through service. And, most of our other scholarships include some level of focus on the applicant’s service resume. In this way, the community offering scholarships obviously hopes to reinforce the important of service in our lives.
In an attempt to encourage more service efforts in our students, and to support them as they learn to become increasingly independent, and even leaders, in the area of service, we have recently partnered with the Kiwanis Club to begin a Key Club. We have four faculty volunteer advisors–Rachel Navis, Meredith Herrera, Colette Veldhorst, and Amy Antes–who will help make students aware of volunteer opportunities and provide guidance in their service efforts. Our Key Club will be a bit more formally organized than the Kool to be Kind club has been in the past. Students will have to be members of the Key Club, and officers will be elected. While the Kiwanis Club is fully sponsoring the Key Club for the first year, in future years a Key Club membership will cost $12/year, but the club will provide a great opportunity to build a quality service resume.
As parents, please consider discussing joining the Key Club with your high school students. Service opportunities can begin small with club organized opportunities such as is going on right now with the chance to volunteer at the PTO Fun Fair. Projects in the past have ranged from group visits to nursing homes around the holidays, to regular opportunities to help with after school programs for elementary students.
We are excited about our partnership with the Kiwanis Club to begin a Key Club because we feel it will help us support the growth of many students in the area of service. We hope many parents will encourage your students to become involved and join the Key Club.