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Hearts of service

Although Gray Stone is often marked by its academic environment, community service plays an equally prominent role in the students’ lives. From the beginning of their freshmen year, students are presented with a multitude of service opportunities in the forms of clubs and fundraisers and independent projects. These endeavors not only introduce high school students to sentiments of selflessness, but also encourage hard work and zealous attitudes that can only breed success. Because service work is such a fundamental part of rearing successful adults, Chief Administrative Officer Helen Nance requires every Gray Stone senior to complete an original senior project with at least 20 hours of active service. However, what begins as a requirement quickly turns into a genuine pleasure, especially for those who are able to think of a project that aligns with their own passions. For every graduate, it is a right of passage, a mark of the character one has developed over the past four years of diligent study and service. The leadership experience and the invaluable memories one gains from his or her service work leave a lasting impression that students will always carry with them. Since I love art, for my senior project I hand-drew coloring pages and hosted a series of events called Coloring With My Community where kids could learn about art and relax while they colored. After these sessions, I handmade and donated my coloring books along with packs of crayons to several organizations so that they could continue to be used by children in the community. But the projects seniors dream up can range all the way from small, intimate events — such as mine — to large-scale mission work. The type of project depends on the individual’s personal passion, and the only limit is time. As I found by the end of my project, I wished I had had more time to continue drawing and to meet more kids in the surrounding communities. Nevertheless, even in this short period, I was able to cultivate my leadership skills in ways that prepared me for any service endeavors I undertake in the future. For seniors especially, it is easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the final year of high school, worrying about college acceptance and stressing about exams and anxiously anticipating graduation day. The senior projects remind us that, though we have reached the end of one chapter, we have reached the beginning of another; they remind us that even after graduation day, our communities and our world will call us to have hearts of service. Gray Stone Day School News is by Brittany Gaddis.