The Service Week, which took place October 17-21st, was an entire week of school primarily planned by Mr. Knipe for the 6th through 12th graders to learn about and help those in poverty.
The students were given a chance to step in the shoes of the less fortunate and see how it really is for them. Students were divided into “families” of 5 or 6 people to do activities that taught us about the effects of poverty, like walking to BiLo to buy lunch for the entire “family” with only $3/person. The family groups also began work on a project to connect with a local church and raise support for a particular charity. For example, one group collected coats to donate to AIM for homeless people in our area. Another group partnered with St John’s UMC in Anderson to collect gift cards for the children at Calvary Home.
One day we bagged food to give to the homeless and the next day we helped out at the Calvary Home For Children and ended the week with our family project plans. The groups continued working over the next several weeks to implement their plans and meet with churches.
It takes a lot to get people off their butts to share even the littlest of their time to help or give money, clothes, food, or anything that they know another person less fortunate would appreciate more than they would. We think that the psychopathic mass murders in horror movies are terrible for doing what they do, but what we don’t realize is that we are not far from that. People are starving right now and they die, and what do we do? We sit here with our iPads engorging ourselves with food, ignorant of people’s suffering.
Mr. Knipe was the main developer of the Service Day so here is an interview that discusses what it was meant for and how he thought it went.
Q: What was your main goal in the service week?
A: We wanted students to realize that the gospel is as much as call to action as it is a call to believe. James 1:27 says “Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.” Secondly, educational research shows that students often learn better by doing. Kinesthetic learners need to be active. For part of my Master’s degree thesis, I researched and found that Active Learning, learning in which students are participants rather than observers, produces greater results and students remember more.
Q: Is it going to become something we do yearly or regularly?
A: Perhaps. Every year we poll our alumni and find out what New Covenant School can do differently to prepare them for college and life in general. As a result, we have implemented AP courses, a more rigorous final exam schedule, and so on. This has proved successful thus far. We may tweak it and see about keeping it going.
Q: What were your likes and dislikes about the Service Week?
A: Of course, we are always making slight changes. We will poll students to see what things they think went smoothly and what things weren’t so great. We will adjust accordingly. I liked the cross-grade integration; it was great to see 6th graders all the way up to 12th graders working together with one goal in mind. Everyone contributed! In the future, I hope to see more thinking outside of the box, but given the time perimeters and the amount of guidance, students did excellent work.
Q: How do you think we did and what could we could work on?
A: ”I think the students did very well. Learning to work in groups on a real life project with deadlines, conflicting personalities, and other types of obstacles is all a part of real life. Having revisited the topics during Colloquium Day it was good to see conflicts worked out, projects tweaked or even revamped, and EXCELLENT end products so far!
Q: Do you think we helped any or made a difference?
A: ABSOLUTELY!! Educationally, I think students felt like there was more meaning. The students talked a lot about it. Furthermore, it put classroom learning into practice. I know the various organizations were VERY excited to have us come, and though our projects were temporary in duration, they did make a difference.
If you want to help the student groups with their charity projects, please contact the NCS office to find out what groups are still working.
NCS STUDENT CHARITY PROJECTS
- Coats for AIM (contact Thomas Settle or Riley Sumner)
- Eat out in support of Calvary Home (contact Casey Boyte or Connor Davis)
- Collecting money for Calvary Home at local businesses (contact Lauren Morton)
- Donations for the AnMed Foundation, which assists people with health care costs (see David Spearman)
- Gift cards for Calvary Home Kids, through St John’s UMC (talk to Will Phillips or Rebekah Graves)
- Organizing volunteer help for Family Promise in January, a charity for the homeless (see Rebecca Roth)
- Organizing after-school help, tutoring, and playmates for CHC kids (see Matt Reiter)