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WHS principal details new requirement for graduation

Whitehall-Coplay School District is implementing a new initiative - a community service graduation requirement - beginning with the 2023-24 school year.

Students will have to participate in at least 12 hours of community service before graduation. The community service course was added to the Whitehall High School program of studies to help students explore career goals, gain employability skills and grow their own interpersonal relationships.

WHS Principal Dr. Peter Mayes is very excited about what he sees as a tremendous learning and growing opportunity for students. It supports the community and develops relations and connections between students and community members. It also gives students a chance to see outside of themselves and learn about the needs of the community.

To assist students in achieving the required hours, the district has introduced Helper Helper, a volunteer tracking app. Organizations and businesses can post their volunteer opportunities in the app, and students can see the listings and choose where to spend their volunteer hours.

The app will not only help students find and access these opportunities, but it will also track and verify the hours. Mayes noted this will help keep things organized and simplify the process for students by removing some of the boundaries and obstacles involved with finding volunteer work.

The next steps for this process will be getting more outside groups, organizations and businesses involved and posting their volunteer opportunities. As this initiative is still in its infancy, there is only one group utilizing the app. However, if students are interested in volunteering with the food bank, they are in luck.

Mayes is hoping to have a number of local groups using the app to give students a wide variety of options, so students will be made aware of where the needs are in the community.

This awareness and opportunity for hands-on service may also lead them down future career paths.

Mayes believes this community service requirement will help make students better people for serving and hopes the program will instill a lifelong desire to give back to the community. He hopes the students will want to make the effort to help make their communities better and safer places.