With nearly every activity measured and quantified, today’s teens can start to resemble elaborate equations. On the other side of the equal sign, they hope to see college admissions, financial aid, and scholarships. At Class 101, we firmly believe that our students are more than numbers. However, when GPAs reduce years of high school to two or three digits, and college applications record a series of scores, points and years, it can be tough to persuade a high school junior that he/she is more than a number. Even volunteer hours become part of the calculation, and volunteering starts to appear mandatory.
At Class 101, we know that every student has unique gifts to share. We help them see how their skills, passions, and current activities can be a gift to their communities. It starts with the student resume. Like a mirror, the resume can reflect back the best opportunities for service. When we take the focus off acquiring a certain number of hours, we can focus on what it truly means to serve. Here are just a few of the amazing and unique ways our Class 101 students have served their communities this year.
- Hannah saw a need to encourage younger students in her school’s band program; so, she started a weekly program where high school musicians offer free, fun music lessons to sixth graders who are just starting their instruments.
- Andrew constructed an information kiosk at the base of a bike trail at a local state park. As a scout, he had spent enough time at the park to know this project would make a difference to park staff and visitors alike.
- Olivia is launching her own photography business to provide low-cost senior pictures to students in her area, and she plans to make a donation to Project Linus from each senior photo shoot this summer.
- With a few friends, Lucas started a new club at his high school. The Car Club connects students to a new and different extracurricular activity. More importantly, the club’s first community car show raised more than $2000 for the Wounded Warrior Project.
- Theo and AJ are varsity hockey players who gave extra hours on the ice encouraging young, first-time skaters at USA Hockey’s Try Hockey for Free community events.
- Ariel created a program to mentor a small group of junior high girls. Each week of her senior year, she met with them to talk about making healthy decisions, understanding nutrition, and trying new exercises that could become habits for life.
- As an officer in her school’s Interact Club, Grace helped launch the Color Run 5K as a kick-off event for her school’s homecoming week. This fundraiser created an entirely new tradition, and it funds additional service activities for students throughout the year.
Instead of counting service hours, these students are making the hours count. Aristotle asked, “What is the essence of life?” And his answer was simple: “To serve others and to do good.” This perspective genuinely guides our work with students: Class 101’s word of the year for 2019 is “serve.” We are focused on making a difference in the lives of our students and encouraging them to make a difference in the lives of others.