Sunday, August 17, 2003

Community service considered

20 hours may be required for New Richmond High students

By Karen Vance
Enquirer contributor

NEW RICHMOND - Students at New Richmond High School may soon have a new requirement for graduating from high school - community service.

The school board for the district is considering adding a 20-hour requirement, between the junior and senior year, to the requirements for government classes. Community service requirements are common in private schools, and New Richmond would join a few public schools, such as Mariemont and Madeira, which also require community service.

"I think we're trying to teach our kids that their community is their community and they need to be involved in it," said High School Principal Monti Mallow. "It's part of the democratic process to be involved. This is a way we can emphasize that."

He said community service would also likely improve overall student performance.

"We see that students do better in schools when they're involved in activities, and we think that's true in the community as well," Mallow said.

The board has a 7 p.m. board meeting Aug. 25 at the board of education office, 212 Market St. Community service is on the agenda.

If approved, the requirement would apply to this year's junior class, affecting about 175 students.

Jack Horn, a student program administrator, would coordinate it if it's adopted. He said he's spoken with numerous public service agencies, such as Head Start, the Clermont County Library, Adopt-a-Highway and the Boys and Girls Club.

"Everyone I've spoken to is enthusiastic," Horn said. "We really want (the students) to learn the values of being involved in the community."

Becky Ploucha, executive director of Renaissance New Richmond and Main Street Project, encouraged the community to support the idea.

"It's a win-win situation," said Ploucha, a district parent of school-age children. "The community wins because we have an influx of volunteers, and the kids win because they gain experience they might not otherwise get."

The New Richmond School Board will discuss the proposed community-service requirement at its 7 p.m. meeting Aug. 25 at the board of education office, 212 Market St., Third Floor, New Richmond.


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