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Oak Ridge Students Explore Many Ways to Serve

Leaf Raking Crew

by Kara Black & Kristin MacDonald, Oak Ridge School – 7C’s teachers

What does service mean? This is the BIG question that the students at Oak Ridge have been exploring this month as they learn about community in the Exploring the 7C’s class.

First, students discussed what the term “service” means and what it means to be an effective member of the community. Students spoke of veterans in their families and their service to our country. They told stories of family members who serve their community as doctors, nurses, and first responders. As the discussion of service grew, students recounted times that their caretakers had driven for Meals on Wheels or donated items to people in need. Our classroom walls became decorated with “Stars of Service” and students began to recognize others as models of effective community members.

Students then brainstormed ideas for grade level based service projects. They came up with countless ideas of ways to help our school, town, state, country, and global communities. We introduced them to ways our community is already working to serve others through ideas like SURF. SURF (Sandwich U-knighted Relief Fund) is a Sandwich Public Schools association that provides an avenue for individuals and groups to raise awareness (through curriculum) and funds (through fundraising) for various relief efforts identified by the group. Students left class thinking about the quote, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”

Oak Ridge students heard from U.S. Military Veterans in our community about what service means to them and their service experience. Once again, we participated in Take a Vet to School Day. “Take a Vet to School Day” program encourages schools and communities to invite veterans of all backgrounds to share their stories and receive thanks for their service. This event provided a way for students to learn more about the history of Veterans Day and about the experiences of veterans.

Twelve veterans from all five branches of the military volunteered their time to teach our students about service. Students experienced a flag-

Ceremonial Folding of the Flag

folding ceremony, descriptions of service to others and one’s country, and remarkable lessons about history. Thank you to Paul Chapin, Richard Nycz, Edwin Hill, Tim Tobiasz, Denis Russell, Kevin Sareault, Dick Auclair, Sean Riley, Zachary Benton, Michael Ennis, Robert Donovan, and JoaQuim Cesar.

Oak Ridge students also explored gratitude as service during a schoolwide Gratitude Week. During the week students engaged in service through letters to staff, surprise sticky notes for peers, donating items to Cape Cod Cares for the Troops, and a Community Action Day. On Saturday, November 18th about 75 volunteers met at Oak Ridge then went to rake eight senior citizens’ yards. This event wrapped up our week of gratitude by putting our gratitude for our community into action by serving our elderly neighbors.

Discussing, experiencing, and performing service throughout this month has helped Oak Ridge students to understand what service and being an effective community member really means. Students learned that service is an action they can perform by extending a helping hand or being kind to someone. They know that it is something anyone can do- that just because they are young doesn’t mean they can’t make a difference. They recognized that Acts of Kindness and Support for others are both part of daily live, as well as being in the category of “Community Service.” As John F. Kennedy said, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”