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spotlight opinion

Superficial Service

BV West student argues that others do communitity service for the wrong reasons Jade Jarvis Guest Writer

W

alking down the hallways of Blue Valley West, students might happen to glance at the wall and notice a poster that states “West Cares Community Service” which goes on to list various places that give students opportunities for community service. Our school, this year especially, seems to have a large push for these service hours. The question is “why?”. Why does BV West care about community service? Is it for the good of servicing others? Or is it for the recognition of the school and individual awards? At our first pep assembly this year administration announced all of the community service hours by grade that we collected last year and encouraged students to participate in a “class competition” for service hours this school year. I think the words “community service” and “competition” in the same sentence is a sickening thought. Community service should be done for the good of helping out; and that should be a collective effort, never a competition. The school is pushing these service hours without even mentioning the reason why students should give their time to help others. The attitude that is presented to students is that they should complete service hours and submit them to the school because it not only makes the school look better but also makes them as a student look more impressive. Another example of the administration promoting community service for the wrong reasons was the speech that most students at BV West should have heard from administrators within the first weeks of school during their Communication Arts classes. One point that these administrators made to the classes is that there are many students at BV West last year who completed community service hours but did not submit them to the school. My initial response to this statement was “So, what? Why is this a negative statement if there are kids at our school that do community service and seek no recognition?”. I would applaud these students for their humility in their commitment to community service. Instead, I sat in the front row of Mr. Ortolani’s second hour CA class and tried to restrain myself as an administrator proceeded to scold us for not entering our community service hours into the school’s system. She did make the valid point that it is good to have community service logged on your transcript for colleges to see. However, it is very suspicious to me that this year only has the school decided to take the time to go to every class and aggressively push students to submit community service hours. It seems to me that this

school simply wants to increase the statistics when it comes to community service and the number of presidential award winners that the school has because it makes the school look better. Apparently we are not stacking up good enough. It’s sad to think about how obsessed students, teachers, and administration can get when it comes to awards and recognition. Specifically with community service, when it is done simply for the recognition, the whole value of the service is lost. I think that many of the students at BV West have lost sight of the true reason to do community service. Or maybe some never knew it to begin with. Many face community service with the “Johnson County view”: that it does not matter how you get the hours, but simply how many you can rack up or even better, how many awards you can get. Even more disturbing is the fact that BV West has a club that lets students “purchase” community service hours every month if they fail to meet the required hours. Just let that sink in for a second. At BV West, students pay money or donate items and that will count as an hour spent in community service. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m all about donating money for a good cause, but I cannot comprehend why that would count as time in community service. That is the epitome of the Johnson County stereotype, that if someone does not have time to give towards community service they can simply buy their way out. Any time that a number is announced regarding community service at BV West I am now compelled to disregard it entirely. The numbers are inaccurate because not all of those hours were served. I refuse to acknowledge community service hours that were “bought” and I am ashamed to be attending a school that does. BV West administrators, faculty, and students alike have strayed from the true meaning of community service. We all need to forget the presidential awards, forget the college applications, and forget our pride for a moment and choose to go out into the community and give our time solely for the good of the people me may help. Most importantly, we need to do this without expectation of recognition. Now again, don’t get me wrong: I believe that community service is a great thing and also a great thing to be recognized. However, when the service is done with the intention of receiving recognition that is where our problems lay. I truly hope that in the near future BV West can truthfully advertise that “West Cares” about community service and not just about the awards and recognition. But it will be up to the school, students and faculty together, to make that change happen.

Guest editorial

Community Service That Counts

JOCO offers a variety of service opportunities for BV West students Ronald McDonald Houses Kansas City Megan Harding,Volunteer Manager (816) 842-8321 ext. 101 mharding@rmhckc.org Wayside Waifs Humane Society AnnMarie Thomas,Volunteer Manager (816) 986-4431 athomas@waysidewaifs.org Shawnee Mission Medical Center Peggy Todd, Manager Volunteer Services (913) 676-2333 Operation Breakthrough Debbie Skaggs,Volunteer Program Director (816) 329-5233 debbie@operationbreakthrough.org Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Regan Rockenfield, Outreach Manager (816) 472-7997 rrockenfield@jdrf.org Deanna Rose Farmstead 13800 Switzer Road (913) 897-2360 BV Wilderness Center Dee Wilson (913) 239-4399 VM: 105-4094


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