Hundreds of Lee’s Summit High School seniors learned valuable lessons about helping others during the school’s annual Day of Service, held Oct. 4. Students volunteered for charitable organizations as well as within Lee’s Summit R-7 elementary and middle school classrooms.
On this day, which is a practice test day for freshmen, sophomores and juniors, the seniors have the opportunity to participate in other activities related to volunteerism as well as college preparation. Close to 140 seniors chose to volunteer at charitable organizations such as Hillcrest Thrift Store, Coldwater, Lee’s Summit Social Services and Rotary Youth Camp or at a Lee’s Summit elementary or middle school. Students volunteering at a school were encouraged to contact a favorite teacher from their younger days and ask if the teacher would like them to volunteer for a day.
Olivia Rodriguez spent her volunteer time in an elementary school. “I want to become a teacher, and it showed me everything teachers have to do and how to handle different situations in the classroom,” she said. “I would recommend the Day of Service to other students because you get to give back to your community and school district for all the things they do for us.”
Ashlyn Cook, also volunteered in an elementary school, and said she would like to become a speech pathologist. “It really confirmed that working with kids is what I want to do,” she said.
Ashlyn also recommends the Day of Service to future seniors. “If another high schooler could be able to experience a day with someone who works at the job they want to work in, I think it would be a great deciding factor in considering their major.”
In addition to these volunteers, students in the school’s International Baccalaureate program held a work day with more than 100 students working on large-scale projects.
All of the student volunteers had the opportunity to earn five hours of community service credit to help them meet a graduation requirement. If the elementary and middle-school volunteers spent time tutoring students, this time would also count toward their A+ mentoring hours.
“Lee’s Summit High School’s Day of Service has become an annual opportunity for our seniors to show their hearts,” said Dr. John Faulkenberry, LSHS principal. “One of my favorite stories this year came from Hillcrest Thrift Store. The night before, somebody had dumped a massive load of trash on the store’s receiving dock. No business could occur in this area until the load was removed. The store called upon a small group of LSHS seniors who willingly jumped in and completed the task.”
Other options for seniors on the Day of Service were designed to help them prepare for high-school graduation and college. A number of students completed their U.S. Constitution testing, also a graduation requirement, while other students worked with guidance counselors to fill out FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) forms and to apply for college admission.