“To put that into perspective, that’s more than five years worth of 40-hour work weeks,” said Ben Paul, director of student activities.
Students often perform community service for organizations such as the Huron County Humane Society, Firelands Area Red Cross and Huron County Chamber of Commerce.
Paul said one of the most interesting organizations is Under His Wings Respite, which is based in Collins and provides a night out for parents of special-needs children.
“That’s challenging,” he added. “That’s just an example of what our students are involved with.”
This is the third year that Monroeville students have been required to complete 10 hours each school year. The requirement started in the fall of 2015.
“We have been very pleased since we started it,” said Paul, noting that he and other school administrators “had concerns if students would take” to the idea of community service. “Overwhelmingly, it’s been very positive.”
And the student body has more than stepped up to the challenge.
“I have achieved over 500 community service hours and hold the highest number of hours at Monroeville,” said senior Amelia Ruggles, the daughter of Marc and Betsy.
Ruggles isn’t the only Eagle to go above and beyond the annual 10-hour requirement. Paul said in the 2016-’17 academic year, 67 percent of the students performed than the minimum and in the next two years, 63 percent did more than 10 hours. Also, the student activities director said there is no incentive for doing more than the minimum, meaning the students still have to perform 10 hours of community service each year.
Monroeville held its fourth annual Community Service Day on May 17 for freshmen through seniors. Some of the local work sites were Trinity Lutheran Church and Clark Park.
About 30 students worked at the Ohio Veterans Home in Sandusky.
“They did a lot of mulch,” Principal Jim Kaczor said. “This was the first year we stepped out of Monroeville.”
The students weeded near the OVH museum, which was on the parade route for the annual Memorial Day parade. Kaczor said volunteer coordinator Duane Henson told him the work the teenagers did in about two hours would have taken five OVH maintenance employees nearly two days.
“They (veterans) were pleased the kids were there and (said) it was a nice thing for our school to be involved with,” Kaczor added.
Once students complete community-service work, their supervisor signs a form which is then turned into the school.
“I love reading those forms when they come back,” Paul said, referring to supervisors saying how gracious they are and how vital the work was for their organizations.
Monroeville students have been inspired to coordinate their own community service projects.
“That’s the next level of service,” Paul said.
During the 2016-’17 academic year, students organized a before-school coffee shop to raise money for Metal for Moms. The coffee shop was available for a week. Metal for Moms is comprised of a small group of MHS graduates who collect junk metal and donate the money.
School administrators have brought in alumni who have shared the volunteer work they do.
Logan Stieber, a four-time state champion wrestler at both Monroeville and The Ohio State University, has shared with MHS students his experiences with the wrestling camps he holds for children. He graduated from Monroeville in 2010.
Paul shared a gem of wisdom that Stieber told the students: “Volunteering is the most selfish thing I do.”
“He let that sit there for a moment. (He then said), ‘When I do it, I feel better and I want to do more of it,’” Paul added.
“I’m proud of our kids; it’s a program we started because we see value in (community service),” Paul said.