On Oct. 2, the Country Day Cares club volunteered at the Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services and packed 550 food boxes for schools in the Sacramento Unified School District. (Photo by Hailey Fesai)

Completing community service becomes a challenge during pandemic

“I wish I had gotten it done before senior year,” senior Hana Lee said, reflecting back on her “not too serious” attitude toward community service in her freshman year. 

Lee is one of 40 seniors who hasn’t completed her required hours. 

Country Day seniors are required to have at least 50 hours of community service to graduate. However, for the class of 2021, Head of High School Brooke Wells said that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the requirement will be modified.

“We’ll be flexible, depending on what the seniors are able to do. We’re not gonna hold anyone to the literal line of the law and keep them from graduating if they can’t fulfill their community service hours,” Wells said. 

Nevertheless, seniors are encouraged to meet the goal of 50 hours, Wells said. 

With all her school work and college applications to do, Lee said she can’t use her limited time to research online community service opportunities. 

The few times she has searched for online opportunities, she only found tutoring offers — something she can’t commit to because of her job as a receptionist at a hair salon.

Once she has time, she plans on completing her remaining 15 hours of community service through the Country Day Cares club, founded by junior Hailey Fesai. 

She said the club is convenient because she won’t have to plan and do community service all by herself.

The club also has attracted senior Avinash Krishna, who said he would’ve finished his requirement sophomore year, but didn’t properly log his hours. Although he has 41 hours logged, he intends to continue with Country Day Cares for as long as he can.

“Even though it isn’t really required anymore, community service is still a good thing to do,” Krishna said. 

He said he enjoyed his first experience with Country Day Cares, despite having to do the same work — placing boxes of spaghetti and lentils in bags — for three hours. 

Country Day Cares members packed 550 boxes of food at Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services on Oct. 2. (Photo courtesy of Fesai)

Senior Elise Sommerhaug has six hours of community service from playing her violin at a senior home. She planned to get most of her community service hours in the summer through a trip to Mexico with her church. However, once the pandemic hit, the trip was canceled and Sommerhaug was left on her own to complete her requirement. 

Sommerhaug plans to look for online opportunities since she doesn’t want to risk exposure to COVID-19 by doing physical community service. 

Junior Craig Bolman worked in the school garden over the summer for his hours. 

He wore a mask and socially distanced while working alongside volunteer faculty members, harvesting vegetables and fruits. 

Bolman has been gardening since middle school when he took the Farm-to-Fork elective all three years. Naturally, he sought out a role in the school garden when he entered high school, offering his help in exchange for community service hours. 

From gardening, Bolman has completed almost half of his 50-hour requirement.

“I don’t want to have to rush to complete it all, so I’m trying to keep a steady pace: two years of high school and almost half the hours I need,” Bolman said.

— By Arijit Trivedi

Originally published in the Oct. 20 edition of the Octagon.