Students and staff prepare for second annual Day of Service


Debra Klevens

Senior Farhan Hassan entertains children while volunteering at the Gateway 180 shelter for day of service. Last year students got to read books, played with the kids and sorted out the donation closet. “Volunteering at Gateway 180 allowed students to not only see the other side of St. Louis, but also it helped those impoverished families to the best of our ability,” Hassan said. “Even if it was only one day out of the year, I’m sure we made a huge impact on some of the people staying there.”

Organizations set, permission slips signed, students put into groups, supplies gathered. It must be about time for Day of Service.

March 7, every student will be either volunteering with Special Olympics or participating in the second annual Day of Service.

“Honestly, in its first year, I think it [Day of Service] went pretty well given it was the first time we had almost 1,200 students and 200 staff members involved in one big campus activity,” freshman principal Kate Piffel said. “As always, there is room for growth and improvement and we took the feedback from last year and made some changes from last year to this year and we are always thinking about what we can do better.”

Preparation for the day started in September and is headed by the Day of Service committee, made up of administrators, teachers and students, which meets Wednesdays after school.

“We organize schedules, make rosters for the students going, and we get to choose things like which Snapchat geofilter we will have, the logo and the color of the shirt. I have learned that there is so much more that goes into making this day successful than we think. I was amazed by how much work and people it takes to do something like this,” sophomore and committee member Audrey Deyoung said.

Because last year was the first year of Day of Service, Deyoung had ideas for how the day could be improved.

“I decided to be on the committee because I believe that you can’t complain about something if you don’t try to fix it. I didn’t love how day of service went last year and I didn’t want it to be like that again, so I joined to make a difference,” Deyoung said.

The freshman class will again stay on campus for the day, but the committee reflected on last year and made some changes accordingly.

“The feedback I heard from last year was that students loved the Natalie’s Cakes presentation because they got to eat something, they got to experience something. So I really focused on trying to make the day more experiential,” journalism teacher and committee member Debra Klevens said. “So this year we’ve asked that the nonprofits only lecture for 20 minutes and then they have some sort of service component for the students to participate in so they are not just sitting hearing lectures all day.”

This year’s changes also include freshmen getting to chose what sessions they attend and sophomores, juniors and seniors not having to rank their choices of where they want to go. If an organization idea was submitted by a student, the committee tried to make it happen.

“Students need to be well-rounded, it’s not always just about academics,” Piffel said. “Producing global citizens is important to us in Parkway and at West, and the Day of Service is a way to help our students see outside the walls of West High, build relationships and support our community.”