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Freshmen perform community service, seniors engage in “life readiness” activities

October 15, 2021

On the morning of Oct. 13, while sophomores and juniors tested their mettle against the PSAT, freshmen worked on community service projects alongside their advisories, and seniors participated in three “life readiness” activities.


Chloe West describes her first brush with community service in high school.


8:00 a.m.: My sister storms into my room, telling me I have five minutes to get ready because she forgot to wake me up. I jump out of bed and throw on a random shirt, excited for a day of community service. 

8:23 a.m.: I arrive at school, somehow on time, and scavenge for food but find none that freshmen were allowed to have. I sulk on the way to my advisory, my stomach growling. 

8:30 a.m.: Once I arrive at my advisory, our peer leaders, Sarah McClure, Kennedy Black and Russell Li, introduce our community service activities for the day: rock painting and birdhouse making. Although these are not my advisory’s first choice, we are still excited to have a day with no school. Russell kindly offers Landon Doughty and me his Chick-fil-A sandwich, which helps to ease our hunger.

8:45 a.m.: I walk over to the VST for a speech from Molly Martin Connor (’11), who works at SEARCH Homeless Services, an organization that helps place homeless people in jobs and apartments.

9:45 a.m.: We head over to the tent and arrive at massive buckets full of rocks and paint pens. Once we decorate the rocks, they will be donated to Texas Children’s Hospital to motivate kids as they persevere through daily challenges.

Elizabeth Hay, Elise Anderson and Addison Walker decorate rocks with drawings and words of encouragement. (Chloe West)

10:00 a.m.: I come up with the idea of splatter painting rocks with the paint pens. It’s a fabulous idea, although it does make quite a mess. 

10:45 a.m.: During a break, all the freshmen swarm the café, ordering chocolate croissants and mochas. Although the next activity was supposed to begin at 10:55, we all stay until 11:05.

11:10 a.m.: We make our way up to the art room, where we will be painting birdhouses and baking suet cakes for birds using peanut butter and birdseed. I unknowingly raise my hand and end up as one of six volunteers making the cakes while the rest of my advisory stays upstairs. 

11:35 a.m.: John Hicks and Flynt Leverett fight over whose concoction will turn out better. Somehow, Flynt wins with his goopy, over-melted lard. 

11:50 a.m.: After forming our bird food bricks, we head back up to the art room for a quick reflection about the impact our service has on the community. My advisory talked about how the bird food and birdhouses bring the beauty of nature and happiness to the SJS community. 

12:00 p.m: We are released for the day, and I happily walk over to my friend’s car, excited for a great meal at Hopdoddy.

About the Contributor
Photo of Chloe West
Chloe West, Staff Writer

Chloe is in her first year on The Review. When she isn't dominating in field hockey, she enjoys eating mashed potatoes.

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Afraaz Malick recounts his experience learning CPR, participating in a culinary competition and practicing mindfulness.


8:22 a.m.: I miraculously find one of the last parking spots in senior lot. Typically, all of the spots are taken by 8:15 a.m.

8:30 a.m.: I am overwhelmed by the variety of Chick-fil-A breakfast entrees: chicken biscuits, breakfast burritos, fruit cups and golden chicken minis. Which combo should I make? Burrito and fruit cup it is! 

Seniors practice chest compressions on CPR dummies in the Plaza. (Kate Vo)

9:00 a.m.: I walk out to the plaza to meet representatives from the American Heart Association. I inflate the dummy, whose name is Annie, and start compressions.  Á la Michael Scott, I use “Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee Gees to stay on track during CPR. When I attempt to switch with my partner, I find that Annie has died from a lack of oxygenated blood. The heart keychain I receive is a token of this everlasting memory.

10:00 a.m.: Transition to the Great Hall for dorm room cooking. Chef Malick in the house!!! The Duncan advisory creates its restaurant, called Duncan’s Table. Located at 2401 Claremont Lane, it is open Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 3:35 p.m. The first course is a two-layer yogurt parfait, containing yogurt, granola, strawberries and blueberries. The second course is freshly made guacamole with tomato chips. The third (and best) course was sliced avocado on crispy, golden toast. Cheesy scrambled eggs were made in the microwave and looked surprisingly tasty. Salt and pepper were added, of course. The judges taste-tested, but results have yet to be revealed to the senior advisories. 

11:00 a.m.: Mindfulness and wellness came at the perfect time. Just as I was stressing about the college essays I have due this week, we sit down on the Quad to practice meditation techniques. Deep breath in, one…two…three. Hold breath, four…five. Breathe out, six…seven…eight…nine…ten. This helps trigger a relaxation response in my body through my vagus nerve and parasympathetic nervous system. My wristband, which says “patience,” reminds me to relax during the day.

12:00 p.m.: My friends and I head to lunch at Paulie’s, where the pesto pasta and grilled chicken could have been better. Should have joined our EIC at Local Foods.

1:00 p.m.: After lunch, I head to my favorite location on campus, the QR room. With our first print issue rapidly approaching, it’s all hands on deck. Stay tuned!

About the Contributors
Photo of Afraaz Malick
Afraaz Malick, Executive Managing Editor

Afraaz Malick is a senior in his fourth year on The Review. He is most notable for winning an hour-long battle with the printer and providing candy.

Photo of Kate Vo
Kate Vo, Staff Writer

Kate is a senior in her second year on Review. She is an avid movie lover and a matcha enthusiast.

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