Middle School Annual Community Service Inspires Reflection
Corbett Prep students give back to the community in this tradition, part of character education in middle school.
Oct. 22, 2014 (TAMPA, Fla.) – Before the busy morning began, Corbett Preparatory School of IDS students took a moment to pause and reflect.
In a few hours, Middle School student advisory groups would fan across the Tampa Bay area for their traditional day of service. Music teacher Tom McColley’s group arrived at Corbett Prep early in the morning to start the day with some service at home — cooking breakfast for the school facilities staff, office and teachers.
Cooking, serving and eating breakfast together builds camaraderie among the students, McColley said, and sets the right tone for a day out in the community.
“We think about what we have done and what we will do,” he said.
Reflection goes hand in hand with volunteerism and character education in Middle School. During the Middle School’s annual Community Service Day, teachers lead advisory groups through discussions and writing exercises that help them process what they experienced and put their contributions into a bigger context. Students performed service work at several area organizations, working with children, visiting the elderly, helping the needy and taking care of animals.
Elise Beachy, an eighth grader, wrote that she felt like her efforts at the Metropolitan Ministries thrift store made a difference because it would help provide clothes, blankets and pillows to those who needed them.
“We accomplished a lot while there, but more still needs to be done,” Elise wrote. “This trip has opened my eyes more. I know there are poor people in this world that need help, but interacting with them has really changed me. The needy need to be fed, clothed and sheltered. Most of all, they need to feel loved and cared about.”
To sixth grader Emily Wahba, a positive attitude was as important as the work she and her group performed at Metropolitan Ministries.
“The least I could do was smile,” Emily wrote in her reflections. “I tried to be as polite as possible to everyone there to show how much I cared about this experience.”
Several students said that they wanted to continue volunteering on their own time. Rishi Padmanabhan, a sixth grader who helped at the Salvation Army, said it is important for students to do what they can.
“We want to give back,” he said, “because we are very fortunate to have a great school, and we want to help others.”