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Changing Our World: Fall Service Learning in the Upper School

Ravens from all three divisions continued in their commitment to serving the community this fall, engaging in a number of service projects and donation drives that benefited numerous organizations and causes. Here’s a recap of some of the projects in the Upper School.

A collage of photos showing Upper School service projects and clubs

Clockwise from top left: Upper School community service includes the SGA’s donation of Homecoming Dance proceeds to the American Cancer Society; a used sneaker drive with Got Sneakers; a canned food drive by varsity cheerleaders to benefit the Food Bank; and the Ravens Build club, a partnership with Habitat for Humanity.

Once Ravens join the Upper School, the focus of service learning moves more toward projects undertaken by individuals. As Bill Pruden, Director of Civic Engagement, explained, “Given the service requirement in the Upper School, our focus is less on Upper School-sponsored events than on developing an individual commitment to the idea of service.”

But that doesn’t mean students aren’t making the most of their shared commitment to serving and supporting worthy organizations and programs. As in previous years, the student-run Crucial Catch team has taken the top high-school spot for their fundraising to support the partnership between the NFL and the American Cancer Society. And after polling the student body to determine which nonprofit would be their designee, Upper School student government leaders donated proceeds from ticket sales for the Homecoming Dance to ACS as well. 

For many students, their community service in the Upper School is a natural continuation of work they’ve been doing since they were young.

Will Eichler ’25 was among the Upper Schoolers who helped broaden the reach of the Lower School’s SOCKtoberfest sock drive benefiting Note in the Pocket. “I love being able to help others, and I appreciate how Ravenscroft gives me the opportunity to collaborate with and contribute to different organizations in my community. Since I was a Lower Schooler, my family and my classes have donated clothes to Note in the Pocket. It was even more impactful to me now to work as part of this great team.” 

In addition, the division’s Community Service Board, run by students from all four grades, helps oversee, manage and promote service opportunities for Upper Schoolers.

“When I was a freshman, I struggled at finding service opportunities both on and off campus. After recognizing CSB’s connection to service, I joined the board, becoming more involved in the Ravenscroft community,” Maddie Maurio ’23 explained. “Now, I have the chance to facilitate service events and assist my classmates in finding these opportunities, allowing me in turn to help others solve the same problem I faced as an underclassman.” 

From individual acts of service to club- and team-organized events, there’s been no shortage of opportunities for Upper Schoolers to get involved and make a difference.

Two student-run organizations tackled food insecurity in our community by holding canned food drives for the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina. The varsity cheerleaders used the Oct. 21 football game — the last home football game of the season, at which retiring head coach Ned Gonet was recognized — to collect much-needed food items for Thanksgiving. Heading into the Christmas season, Ravens Against Hunger challenged Upper School advisories to a friendly competition to see who could donate and volunteer the most for the food bank.

“We decided to put together the food drive in order to give back to the community, especially during the holidays. There were 222 pounds of food collected between Nov. 28 and Dec. 9,” club leader Randi Ogan ’25 said. “Ravens Against Hunger also had a bake sale at the Fall Community Celebration at Homecoming that raised over $500.”

Other groups found ways to support nonprofits while also protecting the environment. Students on the FTC Robotics teams hosted a computer donation drive in mid-December, collecting items such as computers, monitors, tablets and cell phones. Donations went to the Kramden Institute, a nonprofit organization that refurbishes old technology and provides it to members of the community who need such items. And the Eco Club partnered with Got Sneakers to collect and then recycle Ravens’ used athletic shoes and cleats, alleviating waste both in the production of new materials and in landfills. Funds raised by the project will benefit the Corolla Wild Horse Fund in memory of Remi Weiman ’21, a runner and equestrian who cared deeply about environmental issues.

“We recognized that putting this drive together would honor Remi while raising awareness about and helping reduce the environmental impact of sneakers,” Eco Club’s Sophia Hopper ’24 explained. “Reusing sneakers instead of throwing them away should be simple, so it's nice to actually take action toward making that a reality.”

“The members of CSB love to see when clubs are used as a vehicle for making positive change in our community, which is exactly what these clubs have done,” CSB’s Carter Anderson ’23 said. “We are even more excited to see what the clubs and other leaders in our community do in the coming semester to make an impact and pursue Ravenscroft’s challenge of Changing Our World.”

READ MORE: Enjoy highlights of Lower School and Middle School fall service projects as well.