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Hillcrest Students: Learning Leadership through Service

Jan 26, 2016 11:07AM ● Published by Stephanie Lauritzen

By Stephanie Lauritzen | Stephanie@mycityjournals.com

Midvale - At Hillcrest High School, service clubs such as National Honor Society and Husky Hospital Helpers provide students with leadership practice, community engagement and learning opportunities outside the classroom. For NHS adviser Rebecca Farr, working with service-minded students is one of the best parts of her job.  

“I personally love getting to work with such a bright and talented group of students and to help facilitate opportunities for them to get involved in their community,” she said.

For Phil Talbot, the faculty adviser for the Husky Hospital Helpers, watching students try new things and grow as individuals makes getting involved in extracurricular feel worthwhile. 

“As a teacher, it’s hard when you get involved with too many extra activities, but in this sense, I am truly just an adviser.  It is important to let the students discover the best way to positively serve the community,” Talbot said.

Six years ago, Hillcrest High School Biology teacher Phil Talbot remembered a shy student named Cathy who came to his classroom after school looking for advice on starting a service club. Cathy wanted to help the children at Shriner’s Hospital, whose medical conditions often require long hospital stays. Talbot helped her fill out the necessary paperwork, forming the first chapter of the Husky Hospital Helpers. Now the club is almost 200 members strong and raises funds and donations for Shriner’s several times a year.  

Each year, the Hospital Helpers collect materials and funds for children’s activities. From book drives and school supplies, to holiday decorations, the club hopes to make life fun and enjoyable for kids staying in the hospital long term. 

“Our goal is to find donations that are meaningful for the kids. Last year we made kits out of fabric and tie templates so patients could make Father’s Day cards for their dads,” Talbot said. 

For NHS members, students balance rigorous academic schedules with their volunteer work. In order to join the National Honor Society, students must maintain a 3.75 GPA while completing 100 hours of service each year. This year, students have successfully completed an annual food drive for the Road Home, donating over $500 to the homeless shelter. 

Students also volunteer at Canyon Creek Hospice Center, and according to Farr, plan on helping recognize Hillcrest High’s faculty during teacher appreciation week. 

“We are looking forward to our upcoming project for teacher appreciation week, where our charter has the honor of recognizing the staff at our school and all the amazing work they do,” Farr said. 

Farr and advisor Alysse McDowell believe service should play an integral role in student’s high school education.  

“We believe this opportunity to serve will help impact and shape their views on life and humanity. It is essential that students understand that they are a small part of this community and understand how important their role is. We want the students in NHS to understand they are part of a community and to take pride in it,” she said.

For Talbot, learning how to lead a service club will help students develop the skills they will use in the adult word. 

“Learning to organize a fundraiser and motivate others helps students make smart decisions and think about the consequences of what they do. Students should be given opportunities to be in charge,” Talbot said. 

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