High schools mandating community service for graduation

Schools should do all they can to encourage students to volunteer by continuing to provide opportunities in the community and rewarding students who complete an exemplary number of hours, but community service should not be required in order to achieve a high school diploma.The merit of volunteer work stems from the fact that it is voluntary - if schools mandate that students perform community service, then projects lose value to the student participants.Many students don't feel inspired by their time serving the community so much as irritated that they were forced to do so by the school system in the same way that some children disregard good advice because it comes from their parents.The SSL requirement can also be insulting to those that are enthusiastic about their volunteer work.Even when activism is not directly related to coursework, students learn universal lessons like the importance of helping their fellow community members when they help feed the homeless or build homes for natural disaster victims.By fulfilling this requirement, students also gain the opportunity to volunteer in fields that interest them, allowing them to experiment with possible career paths.

The SSL hour requirement lets students establish social partnerships while addressing recognized needs.This sense of accountability contributes to an overarching feeling of personal responsibility.Furthermore, according to Blair Student Service Learning Coordinator Robert Hopkins, "The greatest part of SSL hours is that students learn transferable skills that can be applied to a variety of unique situations," he says.What happened to asking what we can do for our country? The Student Service Learning (SSL) obligation imposed upon high school students today is not only unfair, but unnecessary.The initiative to serve the community shouldn't have to come from fear of failing to graduate, but from a student's passions and interests.

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