“Everybody can be great because everybody can serve.”
Dr Martin Luther King, Jr.
On the evening of January 21, the ABRHS auditorium was filled with students and their families at 13th annual Community Service Awards Night. Over 700 students qualified for recognition at the ceremony by reporting at least 25 hours of volunteering during 2012. Community Service Coordinator Melissa Dempsey announced to the crowd that the service completed by the award recipients totaled over 77,000 hours.
Three students spoke about the impact volunteering had on their lives. For sophomore Jessica Ashe it meant finding a place for herself in a large high school and taking part in meaningful environmental activities. “I am now a hard working member of our school’s Resource Force,” she said. “I learned that when you find something you truly love, it leads to new experiences.”
For junior Tess Little it meant taking part in lots of volunteer activities and finding parallels between her activities and deep-seated interests. Tess reported, “After looking back at my coaching and other various experiences, I’ve realized that not only is volunteer service beneficial to my community, but also that it has helped define me and helped me realize what my future may hold.”
For senior Prakhar Sahay it meant gaining maturity and independence as he moved from local volunteering to working at the Museum of Science in Boston, gaining skills such as making his way on public transportation and taking on the responsibilities of a job, albeit unpaid.
With the ceremony taking place on the Martin Luther King holiday, Superintendent of Schools Steve Mills reminded the audience of the connection between the life and works of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the service honored during the evening and introduced a video recalling the life of Dr. King.
The evening ended with a slide show retrospective of student volunteer activities during the past year. In closing, Principal Alixe Callen told the audience, “We all know that the last thing students in Acton and Boxborough have is time. They laugh at me when I tell them that they need nine hours of sleep at night...So, when students take the time to serve others, we should pause, reflect and honor this service.“