Stephanie Song missed the first Day of Service last year because she was on an Honor Choir Trip, but she saw the pictures and it looked like fun. She was glad she could go this year, as a senior.
Randolph’s Day of Service is only in its second year, but it was eagerly anticipated. On the Friday morning of Spirit Week, students in grades 10-12 go off campus to volunteer at a variety of local organizations. The 9th grade stays on campus to welcome the 8th graders to the Garth Campus as they get to meet faculty, tour, learn about the Upper School. In the afternoon, the entire K-12 community converges in the gym for a pep rally before the Homecoming basketball games.
"Day of Service shows that our community likes to get involved in the larger community we all live in. It creates a positive atmosphere for Homecoming. I had a blast,” says senior Scot Auguston. Scot volunteered at the Sparkman Boys & Girls Club, where he scrubbed marker marks off tables and cleaned floors. “I saw books I used to read and it made me think of my own childhood. Seeing the scant amount of resources they have there made me think of the privileges I have and why it’s important to help other people. The School gives us opportunities to volunteer, like doing Habitat over Interim, but we should be more involved. I think I want to help there this summer."
Junior Ashley Lurie was also inspired by her Day of Service experiences at Lincoln Academy. She was especially impressed by Darren Raby, who is in charge of Lincoln Academy’s Athletic Program. “He’s the big dog in the neighborhood. He knows everything that goes on with the people living there and really tries to protect them from some of the bad things going on. He obviously cares so much about making that neighborhood a better place for everybody that lives there, not just the kids that he works with." Ashley has since started to volunteer there with a group of her friends. "It just made me feel good to see how happy the kids were to have us there. They were running and jumping all over us. That’s the reason I went back – I wanted to see them and wanted to see them that excited again.”
Joe Freeman, 11th & 12 Grade Dean and Assistant Director of College Counseling, coordinated this year’s efforts. “I appreciate the ‘all hands on deck’ attitude that pervades our work on this day. I am also amazed by how infectious our attitude is in this regard. The kids show up, work hard, and tend to have fun. It is actually one of the most well-attended days in our calendar year! I credit so much of this to the positive attitude of our faculty. While the logistics can be challenging, it is made easier by the positive attitude and flexibility we all bring. This year 278 students and 24 faculty members took part in 12 service opportunities.”
“I liked that we got to choose where we could volunteer," says Stephanie. "We have ties to a lot of great organizations and the School picks places where they really can use our help.” Stephanie spent the morning at CASA, where she has volunteered the last two summers, working in their garden. She likes gardening, then harvesting and seeing the result of that work. “When people come to pick up food and see the wagon full of peppers and blackberries it makes me happy.”
Students volunteered at the Huntsville Botanical Garden, with the City of Huntsville’s Green Team and Clean Team, CASA Community Garden, Manna House, 305 8th Street, Second Mile Preschool, Lincoln Academy, the Sparkman and James A. Lane Boys and Girls Clubs, and Habitat for Humanity. Together they contributed approximately 900 hours of service to the Huntsville community.
“It’s easy to be in a bubble and not think about the old and aging people in our community,” says Stephanie. “Huntsville is a bigger community than we think it is.”