Le Anh Metzger, a sophomore at Mayfield Senior School, has performed over 140 hours of community service in the past year at various sites such as summer camps, dance performances, and playing the piano at nursing homes. It all started when Metzger performed The Nutcracker at the age of 7.
“Service has shown me that things I enjoy doing can make a positive impact on people, so I should find opportunities to share my gifts,” said Metzger. She feels that community service should be mandatory because it “shows us how privileged we are and how a small amount of our time goes a long way and it helps us discover who we are and what we like to do and are called to do.”
Mayfield Senior students are required to fulfill a certain number of service hours depending on their grade level, and have eight different service categories to choose from: ability, education/children and youth services, elder care, environment, hospital/medical care, human rights, poverty and homelessness, and special services. 9th and 10th grade students can choose any three categories to complete their 20 service hours annually. Juniors and Seniors choose one organization that they will commit their 20 hours of service. Seniors do an additional 45 hours after AP exams for their Senior Service Project.
Service is an essential component of the Catholic Holy Child education. Mayfield Senior students are called “to work for Christian principles of justice, peace, and compassion in every facet of life,”Holy Child Network of Schools Goal 4.
“We believe that service to others leads our students to these principles, builds empathy and social consciousness, and expands life experiences with the vision we espouse in our curriculum,” said Teri Gonzales, Director of Campus Ministry. “This program also helps students learn experientially about themselves, their communities, and society.”
The program itself aims to encourage students and teach them time management skills in order to give adequate dedication to their commitments.
“The service I do never feels forced but the [service hour] forms stress me out and it begins to feel forced if I have not completed the hour amount by the end of the year,” said Drew Valentino ’22 who feels that Mayfield highlights the importance of serving our own community. “I try to do service outside of school but it is usually through school connections,” she noted.
“I do NCL (National Charity League) outside of school,” said Alana Milanese ’22. “I would do service through NCL even if it was not a requirement.”
Community service provides Mayfield students with an opportunity to discover themselves. Students are encouraged to participate in new types of service and not just stick with one category.
Teri Gonzales believes Mayfield students conclude their high school years having shared “their gifts and passions for those at the margins,” while making “a difference in the lives of others and in the world.”
After all, Cornelia Connelly reminds us, “You must not hide the gifts God has given, but use them in His service”.