The Harbinger Online

Editorial: Community Service

As teenagers grow up in an increasingly digital and screen-focused world, real human interaction and selfless deeds are vital. Students spend at the very least seven hours a day, five days a week, in their school building. We the Harbinger staff, believe that community service and volunteer work are both critical for a healthy world, and a healthy mind. That is why the Shawnee Mission school district should require a minimum of service hours to receive a high school diploma.

High schools claim they are educating students for their future, but it’s arguable that students will be less prepared for “real world” problems, involving talking to “real people,” face-to-face, than creating an excel spreadsheet, or finding x, and that’s a real problem. Community service lets students see and deal with a world usually outside of their realm.

East is an exceptional school, in many respects, including its community involvement boasting one of the largest student-run volunteer service organizations in the country, S.H.A.R.E. Every student at East should be involved with S.H.A.R.E.

A service requirement is the chance to get students out of their comforts zones, see the world and create a tight-knit community amongst each other. Students will be out of their comfort zones, engaging in an activity with peers they may not know. This experience is vital to a functioning and consiencianse community.

A requirement would help teach students that community service is just as important if not more important than math work.

Community service teaches human connection, it teaches gratitude and it can bond a student body. This requirement wouldn’t be something to add to the workload of a student, but a way to broaden their horizons and open their eyes to something new. As students ourselves, we understand young people are more resume-padded, and busier than ever before. This proposed requirement would be an escape from homework, stress and the rest of the world, by giving students the chance to connect and make a difference. Although it is more time, it is time well spent.

It’s important to give students opportunities to explore other parts of themselves beyond the pen, pencil, computer and smart-phone awkwardly half-hidden beneath a desk during lectures. This experience can even guide students to a better future, to focus on what they are passionate about, and help them identify their skills outside of the school system.

Community service has the future in mind, and so should the school board. Even if a requirement is never put in place, The Harbinger would like to stress the importance of community involvement and the opportunities to volunteer that are offered to East students.

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The Harbinger Online Staff

The Harbinger is the exclusive student-run news program for Shawnee Mission East High School in Prairie Village, KS. Staffed by approximately 60 dedicated super-students and overseen by adviser C. Dow Tate, the print and online publications have won numerous national awards. The Harbinger is published in print every two weeks and its website edition is updated daily. The website edition includes blogs, live video, photo galleries and stories not published in the ... Read Full »

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