A Meal-ingful Time


Seniors Kate Keough, Jenny Zhu, Melanie Kerber and Nicole Klein find the red bags filled with gifts from the Angel Tree. // Photo by Sonya Xu

One hundred and twenty seniors crowded together at the Visiting Nurse Association on Friday, Dec. 16, the day before we left for holiday break. Red and blue coolers filled with meals lined the room along with red bags filled with gifts from the Angel Tree. Excited chatter permeated the room as the students waited to be given instructions for the day ahead.

On a day typically spent absent-mindedly anticipating the holiday break, the senior class joined together to deliver for Meals on Wheels. This organization usually delivers meals to homebound individuals for free or at a low cost; however, on Friday, students delivered presents in addition to meals.

The idea for this came along in a meeting where deans were deciding on the plan for the half day before holiday break. Director of The William B. Dean Service Learning Program and Form I Dean Laura Day suggested a community service project. Form IV Dean Rebecca Calhoun volunteered the seniors because most of them are able to drive.

Calhoun says that she has not done something like this with her seniors in the past, but hopes that this will solidify the bond within the class.

“I’m super excited because I think it will be really kind of a cool way to go out into the holiday break…really focused on giving and helping others,” she said.

Community Service Board Chair and senior Emma Paine also finds this a unique experience because the entire senior class is volunteering collectively. “I think it’s more powerful when you’re with other people who can motivate you to do something good or inspire you or make you realize the good in what you’re doing because that’s not always there,” she said.

During a time when seniors are focused about bonding and college decisions, Day thought this was a perfect opportunity. “As opposed to getting stuff, it’s neat to collectively use your strength for good, and [the seniors] are all so cheery,” Day said.

Each senior advisory elected two drivers, and advisors had the option to attend. Teachers, in addition to senior advisors, such as Upper School Spanish teacher Mariana Mariel and Chinese teacher Petra Lynch elected to join in on the project. Every car was given a route with about three to four homes that spanned from communities in South Dallas to Desoto to Irving.

Senior Neha Kapoor drove with four other members of her advisory to Desoto, about 20 miles south of the VNA headquarters. “I think the most rewarding part of it was talking to them and wishing them happy holidays,” Kapoor said. “One lady was like, ‘it warms my heart to see young people like yourselves doing this.’”

Calhoun hopes that through this experience, students bring joy and compassion to others. “At the end of the day, we are all very blessed and to share with others, whether it’s conversation or delivering a gift, is really to me what it’s all about,” she said. “It’s about connecting. It’s about seeing humanity in others and honoring it.”

– Sonya Xu – News Editor –