Conversations in Education
From teacher book groups to conversations in the faculty lounge, Prep faculty and administrators think a lot about how we support students. Each month in 2017-18, we are featuring a piece by a Prep faculty member or administrator that gives a slice of life at Prep. If you would like to share your ideas, feel free to comment on an individual post or contact Dean of Studies Sarah Cooper.
From teacher book groups to conversations in the faculty lounge, Prep faculty read and talk a lot about education. Each month we highlight a few memorable pieces or videos. Our goal is to make the process of parenting, learning and living a little saner, to put things a little more in perspective. These articles will be chosen by Prep teachers and administrators. If you want to share your ideas, feel free to comment on an individual post or contact Dean of Studies Sarah Cooper.
Connecting with the Community
By Celeste McMillin
Marissa Habashy ’19 and Melissa Grande ’19 support Crop Walk to fight world hunger.
Prep students serve their community not because they are required to, but because it brings them joy, meaning, and purpose.
Each fall, students set actionable and measurable service goals in written reflections that faculty members read. In the spring, they reflect in writing on how their service has impacted the community, as well as their own personal development.
On her experience of regularly organizing food donations for distribution, Mira Kaplan ’21 reflected that it “helped me to become more human,” and that the greater her involvement in service, the more she wanted to become involved.
Sophia Jones ’21 has identified a potential career path through helping children at a summer camp. She explained, “This work has gotten me thinking about working with kids in the future. It has made me more mature, having to be responsible for other people, and it has kept me closely related and involved in a community I love so dearly.”
Katie Kralik ’18 has been tutoring children weekly for five years at STARS, an organization affiliated with Lake Avenue Church. She remarked that the strong and lasting relationship she developed with Esai, a boy she tutored in math and reading, has had an “extremely positive effect” on her. Katie further explained that “tutoring has increased my patience, calmness, and made me extremely grateful for the education I am receiving now.”
A student-driven way that Prep helps facilitate service is through the Student Community Action Council (SCAC).
Jeffrey Pendo ‘20, Catherine Turner ‘18, and SCAC dig in to help the Farm to School program at Cleveland Elementary School in Pasadena.
SCAC is a group of approximately 25 Prep students whose mission is to make meaningful service an integral part of school culture and to support students in creating a positive impact in our community and around the world. This year, the group planned and carried out 20 charitable events and four ongoing initiatives, ranging from walkathons for autism to clothing, computer, and book drives.
The outgoing commissioner of SCAC, Wylie Kasai ’18, explained that his experience on SCAC strengthened and developed his leadership and teamwork skills. Through putting on events, he learned how to become a more effective leader and team player, becoming “better at vocalizing my ideas, as well as listening to those of others.” His passion for service and helping others has sparked an interest in a career path in public service that will make a positive change in people’s lives.
As an indication of the group’s commitment, when SCAC was planning its end-of-the-year celebration, rather than choosing to have a pool party or game night, the students opted to do a final group service project in which they spent several hours at Cleveland Elementary School in Pasadena—digging troughs, pulling weeds, and spreading mulch—followed by a well-deserved lunch at Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles.
Through their service to the community, Prep students are developing leadership skills, beginning to set career goals, and experiencing positive, personal interactions.
Prep students write holiday letters for the troops and collect canned goods.
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