We believe that all Worcester Academy students should learn the value of becoming active and contributing members of the community in which they live. As an urban institution, we have both much to gain from and much to contribute to our community. As such, community service is an important part of each student’s education in both the Middle School and the Upper School.
Worcester Academy Upper School students must complete a total of 60 hours of service, of which at least 30 must be completed by the end of eleventh grade to meet the requirements of the Bernon Family Community Service Program. Postgraduate students require 15 service hours. Generally, Upper School students are responsible for finding their own community service activities. They do receive help through the efforts of our Coordinator of Community Service Opportunities, who publicizes a variety of service programs to the students and is the main point of contact for outside agencies. In an effort to create class unity, get students started on their community service, and provide a significant impact around the holidays, the Grade 9 and Grade 10 Class Deans each coordinate a major class service project with organizations that work with Worcester-area families. The Grade 11 class Dean coordinates a service project annually to assist NEADS, the National Education for Assistance Dog Services, which provide freedom, independence and confidence to human partners who need assistance. Some advisors plan community service outings for their advisory groups, and some teams provide community service for local schools and agencies. There are also several service clubs on campus that provide opportunities for service on both local and national levels.
Ideally, students pursue and/or develop a passion through their community service work and see the difference that their work makes in the lives of other people. While the number of hours is not always the best measure of a student's work, we do have many students who earn Presidential Volunteer Service Awards (winners must complete at least 100 hours of community service in a year) for their efforts. Collectively, our students contribute thousands of hours each year in the greater Worcester community and beyond. They mentor and teach children, work countless hours in hospitals, feed the homeless, host benefit concerts, organize food and clothing drives, and generally make an impact.