In Upper School where students have increasing opportunity to direct their own actions, more than 92% of our students participate in community service projects, accumulating over 36,000 hours of service each year. Projects can be individual, small or large group, whole class or whole school. They include local and international projects, some meeting once or twice annually while some projects meet monthly, weekly, or even daily. Typical large group projects include cleaning-up Galveston beach, volunteering at Houston’s annual Race for the Cure©, painting and landscaping an “Extreme Home Makeover,” joining Middle Schoolers with the Special Olympics track meet, serving dinners at the Ronald McDonald House, hosting birthday parties at the Star of Hope, Senior Citizen’s Prom, and an annual trip to teach English in rural Costa Rica.
One or two annual whole class projects, facilitated by parent co-chairs are always well subscribed and have included painting and landscaping projects for underprivileged homeowners and daycare centers, planting projects, bike building, working at a clearinghouse for the homeless, and many others.
Summer service is encouraged by bringing representatives from not-for-profit organizations to campus in the spring for a Volunteers Job Fair. About half of our Upper School students do additional service during the summer by volunteering at camps for disadvantaged individuals, the zoo, museums, hospitals, and other not-for-profit organizations. A summer school week is held for underprivileged elementary students with Upper School students as teachers and administrators.
While any Upper School community service is headed by the student Board of Officers, any Upper Schooler can lead a project, and significant leadership training and support is given each individual. If funds are needed to carryout the project, a student may apply for a Community Service Grant from the Grant Fund which is funded by the profits earned from student run, on-campus concessions.