I really believe encouraging community service as a part of education is important. There are many ways to achieve that goal, one of which is mandatory community service.
Seventy-five hours of mandatory community service is part of the state Department of Education's newly proposed graduation requirements. There are many issues involved with mandatory community service. The one I would like to address is how it will affect the students.
I believe students feel uncomfortable about this proposal becausethey feel community service equals environmental-type labor and theysee it as one more thing they are forced to do.
It is important to keep in mind that most students are already in an activity that involves community service and if they are not, then this may be a good reason for them to join.
Most schools have student government associations that get involved in volunteer work. Students could do peer counseling or tutoring. They could join their school's Parent TeacherStudents Association. Most places have community associations that would welcome student members. There is also the possibility of schools creating their own community service programs.
South River High School is an excellent model. The students and staff worked together to initiate a program that has been a total success in encouraging community service for all South River students.
Community service could also be incorporated into different courses. The point is that the possibilities are endless.
As a student, I am excited about all of the opportunities to become involved. So many people need to be helped. As young mature adults, students should take some responsibility.
Students may think community service will be a pain at first, but in the end it will be truly rewarding.
The hesitation in welcoming this proposal is because students, parents, teachers and administrators are unsure of the logistics because in some ways the state's proposal is vague. But if that uncertainty could be overlooked, mandatory community service could benefit everyone.
One thing that is essential to a solid education is cooperation between schools and the community. Mandatory community service would enhance and strengthen this cooperation. At a time when things in America are kind of tough, our goal should be to work together to support one another.
As a student, I feel community service will help accomplish this important goal.
Editor's note: Miecha Werwie is the student member of the Anne Arundel County Board of Education.