Chloe West, Staff Writer

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.