Want to help, not because it’s required


I tack on one more thing to my mental checklist as I read an email from the administration about community service. The stress continues to build as I try to map out a way to fit this in with all of the tests, quizzes, projects and essays, not to mention daily homework. My mind races, running laps around how I’m going to manage my time efficiently enough to do all of these things. I desperately wonder why I am required to do community service to be part of the Honor Society, considering the idea of community service is to help others, not to help oneself.

Community service should not be a requirement for the Honor Society. Requiring community service devalues the ideals of community service, supplanting the desire to help others with ambitions for personal gain. On top of this, it is difficult for students to complete all of their hours with the amount of work they already have to do.

In most high schools the requirement for the Honor Roll is purely GPA. Our Honor Society requires a 3.6 GPA on top of 15 hours of community service for a sophomore. In junior year, on top of studying for the SAT or ACT, extracurriculars and having the most difficult classes, to make the Honor Society one must complete 25 hours of community service. Students already have to stress to get a 3.6 GPA, not to mention squeezing 25 hours of community service into their hectic lives.

Regardless of whether students manage to fit their community service hours into their already flooded lives, the core idea of community service is to help other people. However, requiring community service negates this idea. Students are only doing the community service for personal gain. I know that I would not do community service if not for Honors Society. Honestly, the only reason I am going to do it is because it is another achievement to put on my college resume.

I understand that the community service aspect of the Honor Society pushes kids out of their comfort zones and provides motivation to do good for the community. I agree that this should happen more often in Piedmont, as we live in a bubble that is distanced from the reality of most of the rest of the world. Even so, I think that students should do this on their own accord. They will not learn as much if they do not want to be doing the community service in the first place.

We live in a community where excellence is expected. Students stress about their academics constantly, some even checking their grades multiple times a day. So when the Honor Society requires community service, many students will cram the hours into their already busy lives, detracting from activities that they are passionate about.