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SA Adds Community Service Hours to Graduation Requirements

September 06, 2018
By Jeremy Nicholas

Dear SA Family,

I am pleased to announce to you what we shared with our 7th-12th student body this morning in an assembly.  This past summer, our school board accepted the recommendation from administration to incorporate community service hours as part of the graduation requirements here at Starkville Academy.  Many schools across the country already have a program like this in place, and we are poised to join their ranks.  We believe this decision not only fulfills the mission of our school on a deeper level, but it also benefits our students by ensuring that they are making a positive impact in our community.  We hope that each student will develop an intrinsic nature of service that lies at the heart of what a Volunteer truly is.  

Because the community service program is tied in with graduation requirements, this statute will not go into effect until next year, beginning with next year's 9th graders (the Class of 2023).  For students in that grade and then beyond, in order to graduate, each student will have to accumulate a minimum of 50 hours of service performed over the course of the 10th-12th grade years.  There are some parameters that the school has set in terms of what can count as community service, and the students can get that information in the high school counseling office.  

As an incentive to go above and beyond the minimum requirement, students can earn special recognition at graduation once they reach 100 hours of service.  Because we want our current 9th-12th grade students to embrace the service mindset and to get involved as well, we are offering them the opportunity to earn the same special recognition based upon a prorated standard for the juniors and seniors, but then the full amount of hours for the freshmen and sophomores.  

Finally, in an effort to help our students discover different ways to get involved in community service and to find something that they are passionate about, we have invited several local organizations to our club fair tomorrow morning so that students can ask questions of each group to see what opportunities exist for teenagers.  Our students are free to perform community service outside of these groups, of course, but it is a start in order to get the ball rolling.

Thank you as always for your support, and thank you for the chance to teach and mold your children.  Speaking as both an administrator and a father... I am a proud Volunteer!

Jeremy Nicholas