OPINION: Should community service be encouraged more at BHS?

By Abigail Solano

The debate over required community service in high school has been thoroughly analyzed. At Batavia High School, community service hours are not required although there are volunteer clubs such as Interact and Key Club that are for volunteer work. Service hours should be encouraged more at BHS for students to receive all the benefits that they may be missing out on without doing them.

The focus of the community service should not be on whether or not they are mandatory for a student to graduate, but should be about the benefits of doing them. If they were mandatory, many students would say that they feel like it is not a choice and is not truly volunteer work. Required volunteer work is still counted and appreciated by a community, but part of its meaning can be lost. Students should choose to volunteer on their own time whether or not the hours are mandatory.

There are many overlooked benefits to service hours to community service work. Having more service hours for students also helps when it comes time to graduate and start applying for colleges. Many scholarships and colleges look for students with service hours completed throughout their entire high school experience. Do Something, which is an online campaign for volunteers worldwide, conducted a study and found that 70 percent of college admission officers say that they “prefer to see long-term dedication to an unglamorous cause such as local service work instead of a short-term commitment to something flashy like volunteering abroad.” Service hours should be encouraged for all grade levels; however, starting them as a freshman and carrying that skill on throughout high school can prove to be most successful.

Scholarships such as the Comcast Leaders and Achievers Scholarship Program gives high school students up to $1,000 for community service. There are thousands of other scholarships that can give up to $5,000 to students with the most service hours throughout their entire high school careers.

Some students may feel that that adding community service to the list of requirements or recommended activities for their present and future lives is too much on their already busy schedules. Although it can become a burden for some, students have four years of high school to fulfill some kind of volunteer opportunity.

BHS could promote the volunteer clubs and events offered through the morning announcements or on the BHS website. Students may be interested in taking part in community service work but do not know where to start. With better advertising of the many opportunities students can take part in, they would know how to initiate the process.

Nickolaou says that she has “heard of a couple of schools that have one main fundraiser/volunteer opportunity that is advertised throughout the whole school for everyone to become involved in.”

More opportunities that are promoted for the entire school would help spread the word about volunteering and help more students get involved.

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