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EDITORIAL: The importance of preliminary service

There are not many high schools in the country where service is so readily available and valued in the community than at Malvern.

As Director of Christian Service Mr. Lawrence Legner steps down, we want to highlight all he’s done for Malvern and its service program, as well as make suggestions for how we feel his work can be carried on.

On Thursdays before service weekends, many students from the editorial board agreed they can’t help but want the Friday off and dread the upcoming service that lies ahead. Even senior editors admitted to not wanting to board the plane and go on their two week summer service trips.

We all get lazy sometimes. If students had the choice, we would want to hang out with friends or sleep instead. However, the fulfillment we get after the service is completed is unparalleled.

Despite the complaining before each service weekend or trip, we unanimously agreed that having a mandatory service program is a must for Malvern. We want to thank Mr. Legner and apologize for all the complaining; we truly appreciate and value all you do for us.

We all get lazy sometimes. If students had the choice, we would want to hang out with friends or sleep instead. However, the fulfillment we get after the service is completed is unparalleled. Once the experience is over, we are eager to go out on service again.

That is another facet of the mandatory service program. The consistent engagement in various types of service experiences ingrains in students a sense of duty and obligation to the surrounding community. Whether we think it or not, we will be servants of others and more mindful men for life because of it.

The service program is a slow building process that starts with trips to places like Share Foods and ends with the junior service trips in the summer. Starting out with smaller and shorter service trips for freshmen allow them to get acclimated to the program and anticipate more involved trips in the future.

However, we feel as though the freshmen service trips can be even stronger. Freshman year can really make or break how a student will view service his entire high school experience.

Here’s a situation to look at. One Malvern freshman has a fun, positive, and impactful service experience. The other felt the service didn’t utilize his strengths, and wasn’t very beneficial to the surrounding community.

Which student is more likely to be excited for his next piece of service?

Ultimately, it is up to students to participate while on the service trips. However, the trips, especially the early freshmen ones, should channel the energy of the students and appeal to their strengths. Students should go on trips that allow them to make the most difference.

If one has positive service experiences, one will look forward to the next year’s more and be more inclined to actively contribute.

An example the editorial board discussed was Share Foods. Students are thrown into a room with large amounts of unorganized food and asked to sort, label, and package it. This type of high-energy service is something students can have fun with and even make a competition out of. The underclassmen who just experienced this trip said it was hard to not be completely involved the entire time.

On the other hand, members of the editorial board feel some of the local service trips need improvement. For example, students went to St. Elizabeth’s middle school to help teach. From their feedback, they said the school is one of the best in the Archdiocese and would operate just fine without our help.

We realize it is difficult to come up with the many different service destinations required each year; however, we feel the Christian service department should do its best to make sure always reach beyond Malvern connections to places that are most in need of our help.

We know is very hard for the Christian Service program to determine the best sites for students and juggle events like MECO and the junior trips overseas. Feedback needs to be a constant. Students should always be able and encouraged to give input about their trips, so that the Christian Service department can determine the best locations for service and the best types of service for students to be doing.

This way, as a school, we can continue to do the most meaningful service and leave the underclassmen with the best possible impression of service at the school. This way they will anticipate future service events at Malvern, seek out service in their adult life, and make the most of every chance they get to impact the lives of others less fortunate.

Mr. Legner has set up the program and us so well, and we owe it to him and the people we serve to continue and improve the service program. Malvern students and Mr. Legner’s successor or successors must remember the past to build a better future.

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