Cultivating Community Responsibility and Service
Eagle Hill's emphasis on community service stands out for students and faculty.
Eagle Hill School believes that we must cultivate in our students a sense of moral responsibility for the world around them. In support of this belief, all students complete at least ten hours of community service per year as high school students. Community service can be any volunteer work that students do to benefit a community, in the student's hometown, at school, or through a school-sponsored program. Eagle Hill provides several on-campus clubs and activities to aid students in earning their community service hours. As more community service opportunities have become available this school year, Eagle Hill students and faculty have stepped up to the plate.
“As a boarding school, it is not always easy to feel connected to the local community beyond our own campus. It’s very important for our students to understand how they fit into the community and how they can help those in need. We try to help our students see that it doesn’t just have to be with money, but their time, energy, and effort into assisting those around us,” said Jessica Geary, Eagle Hill English teacher, and active community service organizer.
Geary has helped organize trips to the East Quabbin Land Trust almost twice per year over several years, working with students to clear trails, take care of the environment, and learn about land stewardship. Geary has also helped organize trips to Bemis Farm, a local farm in Spencer, MA that hosts its annual “Scarecrows for Solutions” event, allowing students to create fun scarecrows to decorate campus, with a portion of the proceeds going directly to the Hardwick Food Pantry. For this year’s trip, art teacher Finleigh Riendeau brought a group of students to participate.
Eagle Hill has also been a part of Project 351, a food donation effort that allows students to grocery shopping for families in need around the Thanksgiving holiday. Geary hopes to have Eagle Hill students participate in Project 351 this year, as COVID-19 provided some obstacles last year.
Wildwood Acres, located in West Brookfield, MA, has also been a popular community service destination for Eagle Hill students this fall. Wildwood Acres allows a hands-on opportunity for students to work with animals and learn about the intricacies of nature and farm life. Eagle Hill students in previous years have also spent countless hours volunteering for Hardwick Elementary School, the Be Like Brit Foundation, the Yellow Door Foundation, Relay for Life, and collecting shoes to be sent to a partner school in Sri Lanka.
In addition to their work in the local community, Eagle Hill students have worked tirelessly to volunteer directly on campus. Volunteers run the student package room, serve as peer tutors, and assist with athletic events as scoreboard operators and concession stand workers. Lucy G. ’24 has been actively volunteering for the Pioneers athletic department.
“I find that working the scoreboard or in the concession stand for games to be a great way to connect to the school. I enjoy being able to be a part of the fun environment and give back my time in support of my friends and their teams.”
Community service is an important part of the overall development of our students into responsible, active citizens. Our students and faculty are proud to support many great organizations helping the environment and those in need.