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Program Promotes Service-learning as a Core Value

 May 31, 2018 – Victoria Epps has volunteered at The Arc of High Point since her sophomore year at Penn-Griffin School for the Arts.

Epps, who graduates from the school on June 11, will earn two diplomas that evening. In addition to her high school diploma, she will also receive a service-learning diploma for the 900+ hours she’s volunteered at The Arc, an organization that serves people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Her school is one of 10 with 50 percent or more seniors graduating with service-learning recognition.

To date, 8,974 GCS students have graduated with a service-learning recognition since the inception of the high school service-learning program in 2010. National studies have shown that students who engage in service-learning feel more connected to their schools and communities. Studies have also shown that they are more academically engaged, have better attendance and demonstrate more positive behaviors at school.

Epps, a band student at Penn-Griffin, volunteered at The Arc several times a week during the school year. She was there every day during the summers. While there, she planted a garden and taught participants how to plant, grow and harvest their own vegetables. They also learned how to prepare the food they helped grow.

Over the past eight years, GCS high school students have contributed 2,117,538 hours of service. This translates to more than $51,117,379 of an economic impact that GCS students have contributed within the community.

This year, the Class of 2018 had a district-wide goal to have at least 30 percent or more graduating seniors to receive a service learning recognition. More than half of the district’s 31 high schools met this goal.

Three schools had 100 percent of its seniors recognized for completing at least 100 hours of service: The Academy at Smith, The Early College at Guilford and STEM Early College at N.C. A&T State University.

Thirty-two percent, or 1,723, of the district’s entire graduating class earned at least 100 hours of service this school year.

Dudley High had 218 of its 325 seniors to receive service-learning recognitions, the highest number of any school in the district. Principal Rodney Wilds said this year his students contributed to tornado and hurricane relief efforts, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service, a Lay-ups for Lupus, a charity basketball tournament and a breast cancer awareness walk.

“We’re very proud of the work that our students put in, not only in the classroom, but in the community. It speaks to what they think about beyond their school and classroom,” Wilds said.

Ten schools had 50 percent or more of is seniors earn a service-learning recognition: Dudley, Penn-Griffin School of the Arts, The Academy at Smith, The Early College at Guilford, Middle College at Bennett, Middle College at GTCC-Greensboro, Middle College at N.C. A&T State University, Middle College at UNCG, STEM Early College at N.C. A&T State University and Christine Greene Education Center.