Despite lifted requirement, many sophomores engage in service

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Screengrab from Student Council website

Sophomores have been encouraged by advisers, teachers, and often family and friends to participate in service despite the lack of requirements. 

Clare O'Connor, Reporter

Although sophomores do not have service learning requirements this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, some students have taken opportunities to volunteer on their own terms. 

Sophomores have been encouraged by advisers, teachers, and often family and friends to participate in service despite the lack of requirements. 

Sophomore Juan Chaides has made an effort to volunteer by working at his local public school, Daniel Burnham Elementary School in Cicero, and other organizations recommended to him by family and friends. Juan has been doing homework help with elementary students as well as participating in recorded book reading programs.

“I’ve been doing service when I can,” Juan said. “I’ve worked with a few organizations and done school help, just little things. It always feels nice to know you’ve helped someone.”

Sophomore advisers have encouraged student service this year despite the dropped requirements.

“I think Lab’s emphasis on volunteering and serving the community is one of the things that makes it special,” Frances Spaltro, sophomore adviser, said.

During sophomore retreat Oct. 28, each advisory completed service work as a group. With his advisory, sophomore Nate Greeley wrote letters to medical workers and Laboratory Schools staff that are still working in person. 

“It was really nice feeling like I was helping someone,” Nate said. “I wish service could still happen this year. I don’t really know how I would go out and do it on my own, so I feel like we’ve lost an important part of what high school at Lab is supposed to be.”

Ms. Spaltro appreciated being able to see everyone and said she felt the students got a lot out of the experience.

I want students to feel connected to their community and recognize the importance of helping others. I feel like even the small bit of service we were able to do together was helpful.”

— Frances Spaltro

“I want students to feel connected to their community and recognize the importance of helping others,” she said. “I feel like even the small bit of service we were able to do together was helpful.”

Nate said he regretted that health precautions have hindered sophomore year service.

“I know COVID has made a lot of this impossible. Even during the retreat, I wish I could have spent more time,” Nate said.

Nate said he intends to look for service opportunities as the year progresses and admits that because of the current environment, he likely won’t do as much as he would want, but he will still try and make service a part of his 10th grade year.

“I want to do more, service stuff feels really good,” Nate said. “I want to try and do it even if we don’t have to for school.”