Community Service Requirement: Progressive Policy or Delusional Decision?


Collegedale Academy principal Brent Baldwin recently announced that next year students attending CA will be required to do community service. Students may choose where they want to complete their community service. Each student will have to complete ten hours every year between June 1 and May 1. The announcement was met with almost instant groans throughout the chapel, as well as a few cheers from the senior class. The new policy has so far been a point of controversy for many students. This begs the question: should CA require community service?

I understand that young people do not often appreciate being forced to do things; our nature as adolescents is ever changing and often rebellious. So though no one would decry community service itself, being forced to do it would normally be met with resistance from most students. However, I believe requiring community service is good and also a step that Collegedale Academy must take. I also believe that this decision reflects well on the school’s administration.

If CA is truly a Christian school, taking steps forward as disciples of Christ is the only logical choice. CA’s mission statement reads: “Educate, equip, and inspire students to recognize God’s call, reach out to others and reveal His truth.” The key line in there is “reach out to others,” and community service is an effective way to do just that. It would be great if all of our students volunteered to help on their own, but realistically that would not happen; thus, the administration must step in and require it.
Furthermore, apart from the spiritual aspect, requiring community service is a pretty common practice among schools. Additionally, a mere ten hours can be easily completed in a few days. Not only that, but students can do it during the summer, and helping with events such as the annual production of Sonrise counts as community service.
Most importantly, students can choose where to do their service. This will allow students to choose an activity they care about and help a cause they believe in.
Lastly, I hold a personal belief my peers may or may not agree with: I believe that work builds character. Work is something we can take pride in and feel good about. How much better, then, if that work also benefits a fellow person? Not only can we take pride in what we accomplished but also in the reality that on that day you or I may have shown Jesus to someone – which in the end is the sweetest reward.