By Lauren Lubin
Every student at Novato High is required to compile 40 community service hours in order to graduate. There are multiple ways one can gain these hours, ranging from on-campus gigs to a four-day camp with fifth graders. Unfortunately, students aren’t getting the amount of hours they deserve.
Some students are either caught up with gathering hours or falling behind. It may be hard to find events that one is interested in and would actually enjoy doing. Nina Point Dujour, a junior at Novato High, has been dealing with this issue.
“It is hard for me to get community service hours because I don’t really know what to do to give back and help,” Point Dujour said. “Every time I ask for help, people don’t really know what to do. All my friends are getting hours and it just seems like I’m falling behind and I need to catch up.”
There are many activities one can do to gain hours on campus. To find activities outside of school, a student can go to the College and Career Center where Mary Grillo has her binder of fliers. Grillo is very informed on how students can gain hours on campus.
“Novato High School has tutoring Monday through Tuesday. If they are strong in a subject they can tutor,” Grillo said. “There is a beautification organization, if we still have it. Right now, we now have the food bank here on Wednesdays and I see a lot of kids volunteering for that. And on my community service board and binder, I always have a lot of things. You’d have to come into the College and Career center to see that.”
Some students feel like they are well prepared with hours and are not worried about graduation. Kyle Friend, a junior at Novato High, is keeping up with his hours.
“For me, it’s not really hard because I do link crew,” Friend said. “We get many opportunities to do community service.”
One of the more popular activities that is outside of school is a four-day camp as a Cabin Leader at Walker Creek. You spend your time with a group of up to ten fifth-graders. You are with them for 18 hours a day, including going with them as they explore nature. The problem is that they have lowered the amount of possible hours received to 15.
Originally, a student could gain 72 hours. Grillo explained why the hours were lowered so much.
“You should thank me for that,” Grillo said. “They don’t want to give the students any hours at all, the District Office (for Walker Creek). They figure you should be at school and not out at Walker Creek. I don’t agree with that. I think it’s a wonderful experience for students to see something outside the school environment that is environmental. So I fought for 15 hours because it’s three nights usually, it’s only four days now instead of five. You have to be a junior or senior to apply and get the vice principal's signature.”
Tatiana Villagomez-Montalvo, a junior and a Cabin Leader, chose to attend the Walker Creek camp to gain some of hours, and discovered an alternative option to gain the rest of her 25 hours.
“I did Walker Creek because I wanted a change of scenery. I also thought I would be getting more hours, which settled my decision,” Villagomez-Montalvo said. “I got other hours by volunteering at the garden at Loma Verde.”
Many students will have to be creative as they explore opportunities to gain community service hours.