The traditional idea of community service implies that the privileged do something for others who are less privileged. Shore no longer views service in this way. Instead of understanding it solely as a donation to the less fortunate, we acknowledge that it can teach us something about the world and ourselves, as well. Through service, we all benefit.
At Shore, many students have witnessed the evolution toward service learning in real time, as over the past few years teachers have increasingly begun to tie service-based projects and trips to different phases of their curriculum, ensuring hands-on projects translate into benefits for students in the classroom as well as recipients in the field. While Upper Schoolers and upper Lower School students have all seen evidence of this shift, perhaps none have experienced it more starkly than Shore’s ninth graders, who participate in a transformative weeklong trip to Glendora, Mississippi, with Ipswich-based Partners in Development, and travel to Costa Rica for an international service experience.
Though these experiences may stand out at Shore, students in every grade find new opportunities for service learning each year. Upper Schoolers consult their new and improved Service Learning Board to find projects with local organizations such as Beverly Bootstraps and Appleton Farms. Seventh and eighth graders regularly spend afternoons working, and learning, with those and other regional nonprofits such as The ARC, Family Promise, and the Essex Shipbuilding Museum. Fifth graders sponsor a food drive to benefit families served by Beverly Bootstraps every year. Each of these experiences sparks new ideas and understanding to share with peers in history, social studies, language arts, and science classes.
Shore families are just as involved in these efforts. Through the Shore Parents Association’s United in Service partnership with the United Way, hundreds of members of the Shore community have the chance to work with and learn from nonprofits in Beverly and surrounding towns. At Shore, service isn’t just a once-a-year obligation for students; it’s woven into the life of the entire school community year round.