Right now, the most good any of us can do at the moment is to simply stay home. This helps “flatten the curve” of disease transmission and allows hospitals a chance to keep up with demand instead of overwhelming the system. But, while we are staying home as we should, there are still things individuals can do to help our community.
MPCS high school students are using their free time to meet their service hour requirements for Beta Club and National Honor Society. Students are submitting “Family Serve” hours, where students perform acts of service for their families. Such acts range from disassembling an old play set to planting a garden to assisting with household chores, car washing, pet care, grocery shopping, and more. Several students have made “Thank You” cards for the staff at Kennestone Hospital. Other students -- as well as a few staff members -- have made face masks for senior living centers and hospital facilities.
Head of High School Tawanna Rusk shares, “When Paige Lochridge, our National Honor Society [faculty] sponsor, shared photos of students serving in this time of social distancing, it made my heart melt. Our students are finding ways to be a light in a time of uncertainty and angst. They are providing encouragement and support to their families, our younger students, and our health care providers. This is what our mission is all about -- developing servant leaders who honor God, Love others, and walk in Truth.”
Other students have recorded themselves reading stories for lower school students. Each year, high school teacher Jenn Fitzpatrick requests that the students in her public speaking class visit lower school classrooms and read children’s books to the elementary-aged students. “Since we couldn’t go into the classrooms [during the quarantine], I felt that they could make a video and post it,” she says. “I also felt that this would be a great way to connect other high school students to the lower school by allowing [those not in the public speaking class] to do the same thing that my class was doing.” Mrs. Fitzpatrick reached out to fellow high school teachers to gauge their interest in allowing their students to do it for service, and they agreed. “We’ve had a lot of students interested in participating,” Mrs. Fitzpatrick continues. “It is interesting to see what books are available in different households. No one has asked to record the same book, which I think is neat.”
When students submit their service hours, they are asked to explain how it allowed them to be "the hands and feet of Christ" to others. For Audrey Weaver, reading aloud for younger students is a kindness to both the students and their parents. “During this time, lower school kids don’t get to have their teachers read out loud to them, and many of their parents are probably very busy trying to work from home and manage their child’s online school at the same time. In order to help the kids continue to have the incredibly beneficial reading time at home, I submitted videos of me reading out loud so that they can have that exposure.”
Noah Dyer says of the experience, “It was really a great example of how a high schooler like me, who is very busy, can reach out to younger audiences and just share some love. Plus one of my books references how God calls us to treat others how we want to be treated, and I think that’s an amazing message to share.”
Mrs. Lochridge has been pleased to see the creativity and generosity her students have shared. “My heart has been so full of pride and admiration for our students' compassion and kindness,” she says. “They are seeking to help others in ways that they may not have thought of before this unforeseen time. It is my hope that they will continue to find unique ways to show love and care for others.”