Scrambling to Serve

The start of October ushers in the fall, homecoming week, and the annual mad dash to turn in summer community service hours.

The Tuesday, Oct. 1, deadline to turn in summer hours seems to creep up on even the most organized students.

Ms. Alex Hill, who is in her first year teaching social studies and graduated from Stratford in 2006, admitted that she “always waited until the last minute to do my hours.”

Even when Hill completed her hours on time, she always lost her paperwork and forgot to turn in her hours, noting that she “received penalty hours every single year except for senior year.”

“It was always hard to schedule times to serve as it took a lot of hard work and motivation,” Hill said.

Ms. Maddie Henderson, who oversees upper school community service, said that she believes community service is important for students not only to give back to the community they live in but also to “open up their view beyond the Stratford bubble.”

Henderson, who graduated from Stratford in 2007, said that community service “made me aware of aspects of our community that I wouldn’t have been otherwise.”

Hill and Henderson had to complete the same amount of hours as students do today – 20 hours during grades 9-11, and 15 during their senior year. Henderson is now responsible for keeping track of all students hours and working with the community service council to plan community service events.

But what happens when May rolls around and students realize they haven’t finished – or worse, haven’t even started – their 20 hours?

Students cram service hours into the weekends and even some weekdays leading up to the deadline, and according to Henderson, this is exactly what students are not supposed to do. Community service, Henderson said, is supposed to have a greater meaning rather than just getting a requirement out of the way.

Macon Impact
Macon Impact

Henderson said she believes that most students, “don’t think about the fact that they have to do their community service, they just say they’ll do it later and before they know it, later comes and they haven’t done any hours”.

Like many students, junior Mary Spivey said she tends to “wait until the last minute to complete my hours because during summer I put it off and say I’ll do it later, and then school starts and I have so much work, and sports practices, and I run out of time”.

Despite the last-minute rush, however, Spivey said she still thinks that “community service is a good and easy way for everyone to get involved in their community.”