Hockaday Community Service Programs Debut at Assembly


//PICTURED ABOVE: Hockaday girl tutors her paired student at Gooch Elementary.

The Hockaday School has lots of things to boast about: having the only highschool neuroscience program in the country, it’s impressive facilities, and state-of-the-art teachers, to name a few. However the most impressive aspect of Hockaday, many would say,is the impact that students make on the community.

Overseen by Hockaday’s Director of Service Learning, Laura Day, there are over fifteen student-driven community service programs. Because of the diverse nature of the programs, a Service Program Opportunity Assembly was held on September 4.

At the assembly, the heads of each program shared a short sentiment and basic information about their service. While 13 of the 16 programs are for tutoring, there are also opportunities to mentor, volunteer at a no-kill animal shelter, visit retirement homes and play with kids at a special-needs school.

A few of the programs are new this year to Hockaday; juniors Bethany Vodicka and Margaret Woodberry are pioneering the Education First Steps program, an opportunity to teach preschool children STEM.

“ I think it’s important to teach younger kids, in specific, because that’s teaching the next generation and helping to give them the skills and knowledge for the future, ” Vodicka says.

Other  new programs this year includes the opportunities to visit  Notre Dame School and play with special needs children, tutor kids during Y periods at Degolyer Elementary, and tutoring at Burnet.

A long-standing program at Hockaday is Reading Partners. Because a child will most likely graduate high school if they are on reading level in third grade, Hockaday’s service department  places an emphasis in elementary schoolers’ literacy.

The program chair, junior Gabby Evans, commented on the impact reading had on one of her students, Zach. In the beginning of the year, he didn’t know his alphabet, but eventually he was able to string together sentences.

Whether it be playing with kids, tutoring them in reading ,or visiting retirement homes, there is a program for everyone.  Junior Gina Miele, who along with Maddie McBride is the head of the Education Board, oversees all the programs and is a co-head of the Gooch tutoring program herself.

“ We are very fortunate to go to a school like Hockaday and have all these opportunities, so community service is a really important way to give back to those who aren’t as fortunate. There is something for everyone,” Miele said, “At every community service opportunity I’ve been to, I’ve gone away with a lesson I wasn’t expecting to learn. You learn so much more from the people that you help.”

For a full list and description of all Hockaday Programs, follow this link to the presentation shown at the assembly: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1gG6HCvXE4MyTcVpNxJZBaVQDzjFnzW_fidh_NVECH9E/edit#slide=id.g414f4d55a5_4_0

Story by Eliana Goodman

Photo provided by members of the Gooch program.