Community service is a requirement that students in Maryland must do to graduate from high school. According to Mr. Hopkins, the community service coordinator, its purpose is "so that students will take ownership of their community and not to destroy it."
According to Mr. Hopkins, there are many different ways that students can get their hours. Some students work with animals. Some help handicapped people and other students will work as summer counselors, help in libraries, or help in senior living homes.
For many native English-speaking students "their parents help them make their arrangements," Mr. Hopkins said. But it's very hard for ESOL students whose parents can't help them.
Karla Quinones is a junior who is trying to get her student learning service hours by herself because her parents don't know how to help. She doesn't know how many hours she has but "it's not many," she said. She's not sure how she is going to get her hours, but she said she will probably help a teacher after school.
ESOL teacher, Ms. Jane Winter, is a teacher who has given community service opportunities to some students. "They tutor other students. They help clean the classroom. They organize books and materials to teach with," she said.
Isaac Charles is a junior who has already finished his learning service hours requirement. He got 30 hours from a class at Blair called "Child Development" where he worked with little children. "I also got another 30 hours for trash pick up in my neighborhood," he said.
The way that Isaac Charles got his hours is a way that many students get service learning hours. They take a course that gives a certain number of hours. For example students can participate in drama which gives 8-40 hours per play. Many career courses at Edison High School (where many Blair students go in the morning) give student learning hours. For example students can take Electricity Construction and get 30 hours for a one-year course. Also may courses in Blair give a small number of hours.
Mr. Hopkins advises students to contact their counselor to get a list of all courses that give service hours.
Copyright Silver International Newspaper 2001 (This page was created by Marvin Rodrigue.)