Senior Service Projects in 2021

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by Lou-Victoria Etoundi Ntsama

image via SmugMug Galleries

As the year progresses, the seniors of our school had to or still have to go through their senior service projects. For those of you who don’t know, it is a project directed by the school. The goal is for seniors to help their communities. It is a mandatory step at FGS for seniors to graduate, and it usually brings a lot of excitement and builds new experiences. With the pandemic, it was a little harder for our seniors to reach their goals, but most of them still achieved it and were able to learn more and help their community.

For example, I did my senior service during the first two weeks of December when I came back to Cameroon. There is an elementary school in my hometown where there is a special class for kids with autism. So three times a week during those two weeks, I went there for four hours to help the educators. I was able to learn more about autism and am now able to educate people around me on the subject, as it is not a subject that receives a lot of attention in Cameroon.

Other Seniors did a really good job at finding a way to help their community safely. We had the chance to interview two seniors who had a great experience doing their senior services.

The first senior we interviewed was Astrid von Seufert.

Highlander Newspaper: Can you describe your experience during your senior service?

Astrid: I think my project was beneficial and made me look at the community in a different way. Even though all my work was on a computer, I did feel I was getting work done. I would typically just make myself sit for 2-4 hours one or two days each week with my computer, the packets I needed, and some highlighters. I just listened to my music and got to work, and once I was in the hang of it the hours went by fairly quickly.

HN: How did you find out about it?

A: My mom works for the Kent Land Trust, and I was originally going to do the documentation to transition an internship program into a TerraCorps model. The internship was canceled with the pandemic, so the manager at the office was looking for a new project for me. She went to the head of the science department at the Marvelwood School, and she is very interested in ornithology. She gave me all her birding documents from the past twenty years or so, and I put them all into a database to help keep track of them to make sure they are protected.

HN: What did you enjoy the most?

A: I honestly liked that my work was monotonous, and I went into every day knowing what I would be doing. I liked that the work was simple, it really made me think that it does not take that much to make a difference in the broader community. The work became a kind of routine, and that made the project easy.

HN: If you had the chance to do it again, would you do it differently?

A: If I could do my project again, I do not think I would change anything. If anything, I would maybe make a stricter schedule and give myself certain days of the week to do a specific amount of hours.

HN: Did you have to pick between two or more projects?

A: I always knew I wanted to do service for the Kent Land Trust, because I know those people well and they know what I like to do, so I figured they would get me a project that I would want to do. I really left the decision process up to them because I can be very indecisive.

The second Senior we interviewed is Jack Gleason.

HN: Can you describe your experience doing your senior service?

Jack: It has been a wonderful experience. I’ve never tutored anyone before, so I was nervous to start, but Kaleb (the student) and I have gotten closer and more comfortable, and now it’s something I look forward to doing.

HN: How did you find out about it?

J: Mr. McMann reached out to me and said there was a family that needed a math tutor, so I took advantage of the opportunity to finish my SSP.

HN: What did you enjoy the most?

J: I enjoy talking with him and seeing him improve and do well in his classes. It makes me feel good knowing I made a difference.

HN: If you had a chance to do it again, would you do it differently?

J: Yes, I’m actually going to continue to tutor him throughout next year in college. 

HN: Did you have to pick between two or more projects?

J: No, there weren’t a lot of choices this year because of COVID, so I immediately said yes when Mr. McMann asked me to do it. 

The efforts of our seniors to do their best to make the senior service a good learning experience is inspiring.

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