We all know 2020 has been a year of change so far. We have witnessed a pandemic race around the world, closing our schools and showing us a life we never knew before. We have seen a world ripped apart by racism, trying to unite back together through reformation. Through it all, though, the one thing that has not changed is the fact that we have continued to find ways to serve.
After all we have seen in the world and all we have been through, our Upper School Student Organized Service (SOS) board has chosen “race” as the social justice theme for this school year. Now, activities such as a “culture week” and a “defamation experience” are occurring, as well as viewing the critically acclaimed film “Just Mercy”, and a tour of both the jail in Downtown Cincinnati and the Freedom Center. The board has also proposed to organize an alumni panel of diverse leaders to come speak to students on the topic of race.
With forty+ SOS groups launching this week, consisting of seventy-seven student leaders, CHCA is looking toward a year of service and transformation. Due to the rise of COVID-19 and social distancing requirements, SOS service activities will see a change. One such change is the board’s new YouTube Channel, which will be used for students to upload different videos that reach out to their groups. Whether students are reading stories to kids or singing songs for nursing home residents, the channel will serve as a safe way to interact with their groups during the pandemic. Besides the YouTube Channel, students are also encouraged to reach out to their groups via letters. This past spring, CHCA students wrote over 800 letters during Zoom sessions that focused on providing people on the frontlines of the pandemic hope and a sense of our appreciation. Lastly, many service activities will be moving toward an outdoor setting, such as garden work, in which many students have been participating this summer. With this change, Student Outreach Coordinator Karen Hordinski plans to organize a Help Build Hope service opportunity, where students will work together and help build a home. Efforts like these are made possible by the SOS Passion Fund; give now to join other CHCA families provide opportunities like this one.
Service is an integral part of the CHCA community. As Karen Hordinski said when I met with her, “service is an expression of who we are, of our faith, of our values.” As an SOS leader myself, I know that service is deeply woven into the fabric of our school. It is the thread the connects each of us, not only to our school, but also to our communities. We use that thread to reach out and bring people together, regardless of their gender, race, religion, or age. It is a part of what makes us CHCA. With all the changes that we expect to occur at CHCA this year, with our schedules, extracurricular activities, and our classes, it is nice to know that our opportunities to serve others and to better our world are still available in abundance.
About the Author
Madeline Northup is a member of the Class of 2021 and came to CHCA as a freshman. Looking ahead, she plans to expand her knowledge of Latin in college, as well as Greek and Ancient Mythology. Alongside possibly teaching Latin, Madeline plans to be a novelist and complete her book that she is currently writing about her grandfather. She loves writing, and even explored the field of journalism at her internship with the Cincinnati Enquirer. No matter what may lie ahead, though, she thanks CHCA for all that its wonderful faculty, staff, and students have done for her.
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