One of the big changes in the halls of HHS is the new community service requirement for graduation. On the face of it, it seems simple enough: you have to complete 10 hours of community service every year in order to be able to graduate. Ten hours are required every year so underclassmen do not try to procrastinate on the requirement until they are upperclassmen. This means the freshman this year will be required to complete 40 hours of service in order to graduate. According to Mr. Paquette, 40 hours through your four years is the average requirement of neighboring high schools with similar requirements on the South Shore.
HHS is in the middle of a transition period to a true “twenty-first century” curriculum and one of the hallmarks of that is a school-community connection. Back when the new building was being designed, a closer connection to the community at large was one of the key visions the administration wanted to implement. Mr. Paquette said that the Town of Hanover has given so many resources over the years, and this is our small way of paying it forward.
The requirement is written very broadly and basically covers any service done without pay to any worthy community organization. Coaching and refereeing HYAA sports, staffing community events and helping out with Eagle projects are just some examples of things that count toward the requirement. Mr. Paquette really emphasizes the flexibility and that there is something out there for everyone. If you ever get stuck for ideas, there is a community service bulletin board near the Music wing and Athletic hallway that is frequently updated as well.
Also, the community service requirement was envisioned as way of unify the entire school community toward a single goal. All students, from seniors down to freshman, have to complete 10 hours each year. The hope is that by giving the freshman that sort of responsibility, it helps them in the difficult transition from middle school to high school. As any student can tell you, once you’ve come to the high school, you simply cannot envision life any other way.
Mr. Paquette simply summed up the administration’s rationale for the requirement by saying, “It’s a wonderful thing. It’s an opportunity to give back.”
Many students have generally accepted the requirement as just another fact of life. Being a high school student means you just have to do certain things, with community service being one of those things in Hanover.
“It’s definitely a good thing,” said junior Alex Zwart.
“It’s good because people should do it [for the good of the community],” said Lauren Murray, a senior.
Other students do not share such an optimistic view, though. Senior Talha Kidwai said, “Since I’m a senior I only have to do 10 hours. I feel bad for the other grades [who would have to do more].”
Certainly there is a time commitment involved in the requirement that has to balanced out with other things. Most everyone has a busy schedule with extra curriculars, homework and, for some, jobs.
“I think [the requirement] would be a good idea if students had more free time,” said freshman Emily Crowley. “Teachers give us so much work that many students barely have time for anything but homework.”
Ultimately, mandatory community service is the way of the future here at HHS. If you haven’t started yet, I would highly encourage you to get going since May will be here before you know it. You can download the form you have to turn in by following this link: http://www.hanoverschools.org/highschool/pdf/forms/Community%20Service%20Verification%20Form.pdf