Service Learning Program Students Provide Needed Support

As part of its overall educational program, Olympic High School offers students an opportunity to participate in the Service Learning Program.  For approximately six weeks, students report directly to a local elementary school or not-profit agency in the community and provide necessary services directly to the agency.  By doing so students not only have the opportunity to assist their community, but also learn the necessary skills which will ultimately be expected of them in any job situation.

This fall’s group of Service Learning students has been outstanding.  Time permitting, I could write about each and every one of them and the contributions they have made to their specific agency.  But I would like to single out just a few at this time, knowing that at the end of the school year, all of the participants will be honored at a special ceremony where they will receive the President’s Student Service Award. 

Joseph joined the Service Learning Program in September and volunteered over 200 hours of service at Meadow Homes Elementary School were he worked in the kitchen assisting the staff to prepare the meals for the children and staff.  Joseph’s efforts were recognized by everyone at Meadow Homes Elementary as being outstanding.  He would arrive early every day and remain there until all of the lunch periods were over and then assisted with the clean up.  He also helped the children learn the importance of not wasting food and of cleaning up after themselves.  He was recognized by the staff as one of the most competent and thoughtful volunteers that they have ever had at their school.  In addition, Joseph did not miss one day of school in the 10 weeks that he participated in the program, while he continued to maintain his studies at Olympic High School.   

Joseph is to be congratulated for the outstanding service that he has provided to his community and for showing the very best that our Olympic High School students have to offer.  It is through efforts such as Joseph’s that Olympic has developed a wonderful reputation in the community for providing quality volunteers to over 25 schools and agencies that regularly participate in the program.   Olympic is also working very hard to establish internships with many business partners in our community through our new Career Integrated Academics (CIA) program which we expect to be able to offer to our students this spring.  If you own or work for a business in the community and would like to become a participating agency in the new CIA program, please contact Olympic High School at 925 687-0363.

Ashley also joined the Service Learning Program in September and volunteered over 200 hours as a teaching assistant at Silverwood Elementary School in Concord.  Ashley was assigned to Ms. Stoltz's 2nd grade class where she provided much needed additional support to the children. 

Ashley became an important part of the Silverwood team and her efforts were recognized by all who came in contact with her.  Ashley assisted Ms. Stoltz in all aspects of the educational day including helping students with reading, writing, math, as well as all of the other subjects.  Ashley's keen interest in science allowed her to teach several lessons to the children while being observed by Ms. Stoltz as well as Ms. Krajcar, Ashley's science teacher from Olympic High School.  Ashley did an outstanding job on the lessons and was able to easily communicate the content that she had developed to the second graders, always asking for feedback to make sure that they understood the material. 

In Ashley's own words, her experience mirrored what her teachers had observed.  "I learned how to teach and it seemed to come very naturally to me.  I was able to take the material and transform it into a lesson that second graders could understand and enjoy.  I also learned that I can be patient and understanding but also firm when I have to be.  As a result of being in Service Learning, I am seriously thinking about a career in teaching."

Esmeralda also completed over 200 volunteer hours after joining the Service Learning program in September.  She was placed at Meadow Homes Elementary School where she assisted Ms. Mejia's 3rd grade class in all aspects of the educational program including providing bilingual services to the students.

Esmeralda was an exceptional helper providing much needed assistance with reading, writing, and math.  She also helped students complete projects and assignments and helped out with testing and evaluation of lessons. 

In her own words, "While I participated in Service Learning I learned a variety of things.  For example, I learned how to work with others which is something I've always wanted to improve on.  I learned how to teach the children and help them to understand the lessons that they were working on.  I never thought I would be able to to that.  I also enjoyed being with them at recess and assisting them in some fun activities."

Ms. Mejia gave Esmeralda high marks for her participation in the program and indicated that she had added so much to the day to day operation of the class.  "She was an additional pair of hands and eyes in the classroom, seeing things that needed to be done and just did them without having to be told.  This freed me up to do so many of the other things that are necessary to get done every day.  Esmeralda added so much to our classroom and we were so happy to have her with us.  She will be greatly missed when she is gone."

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