The Gift of Giving Back to Our Community

GryphGiving makes its premiere in the high school


Photo: Cary Robbins

Students of 7th period study hall help clean up bunk rooms for the SOS church. They spent the day cleaning up the church and listening to leaders explain why helping out the community is important.

Just like the Gryphon house system, Gryphnation app, and all senior pranks, St. George’s has once again surprised the students of St. George’s with a week and a half of community service. Instead of having to go through the same schedule, students had one class for the entire school day and one day of community service. For their study halls, students spent the night at St. George’s Bunkhouse the night before and then participated in community service the next day.

This idea started off with Senior Katie Schaefer when she presented the idea to have more community service opportunities for the students. Mr. Peters then compromised and worked to present GryphGiving.

“Last year, at the junior retreat, my group talked about service,” Schaefer said, “and how we wanted the high school to get more involved in it because every time the school pushed for it, it was MLK day weekend and most of the high schoolers go to the young life trip or they go on a different church retreat or they’re going out of town.”

People go to one class the entire school day, the first class they would have had on that day. This made it possible for people to have a full day to serve the community.

“This is what came out of it because Mr. Peters, when I met with him, was saying that he didn’t want to require students to do service hours if we’re asking them to take part in classes and be a part of sports or arts and all that,” Schaefer said. “So by having one class or one service day, you wouldn’t miss any class technically and you would still get to serve.”

Students say that participating in community service was the best part of GryphGiving, but other classes have also been fun depending on how they spend their time.

“The worst parts about GryphGiving is that it can get boring sometimes if there’s not enough content to take up the entire day,” Junior Silas Rhodes said. “The best part is that we get to have an entire class. It’s really laid back. Everybody’s chilling out, and we get to serve the community.”

Junior Miles Masters agrees with Rhodes on the fact that, although most classes used their time wisely and needed that time to get extra work done, some classes seemed unnecessary. He claims that he enjoyed Calculus doing fun activities he didn’t expect.

“It felt like not every class had a purpose for their whole day of their class,” Masters said. “But some of them really took that time and used it well and I’ve enjoyed that.”

Masters did enjoy the community aspect of GryphGiving.

“I feel like not everyone liked staying at the Bunkhouse before going to their day of service,” Masters said. “The service a lot of people enjoyed, but the Bunkhouse stay and not necessarily getting the best sleep, those sort of things didn’t really help them have a productive day the next morning.”

While there were many good aspects of GryphGiving, some people were worried about having one class all day, especially classes they may be more challenging than other classes. Before GryphGiving started, Sophomore Caroline Hill wondered how Chemistry and Math were going to feel after spending a whole day in those classes, since she is more of a reader.

“The only thing I’m kind of nervous about would be having to do Chemistry all day because I’m not the best at Chemistry and having to do that for such a long time,” Hill said. “It’s kind of a struggle to do a whole class for a whole day.”

Hill was excited to have a change of pace and being able to focus on one class every day instead of having to change to different subjects throughout the day.

“I’m really excited because it’s definitely a change of pace because we’re so used to doing the same thing every day and having such a set routine,” Hill said. “Being able to switch it up is really nice, and I love how our school is able to do that.”

Upper School Director Ms. Pamela McCarthy has stated that she is very confident that GryphGiving will continue next year. She loves to see the students of St George’s be able to participate in community service and hopes to continue this.

“The best parts have definitely been when kids are in the hallway and coming back from their day of service and talking about how awesome their class was or the day was,” Ms. McCarthy said. “That is for sure a highlight.”