All In The Campaign for Blair Academy 2018-2025
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Day of Service Builds Stronger Community
Ashley Taube

Equipped with shovels and paintbrushes, clay and blankets, the Blair community got to work, delivering on one of the seven principles that guide learning on the hilltop. “Real-world engagement and service to others engender meaningful experiences,” and one of the most meaningful during the academic year is the annual Day of Service. Ten years from the inception, the all-School event lent a helping hand to 25 service projects at Blair and in the extended community, showcasing the best of Blair—genuine care for others.

Service is built into the routine of a typical year at Blair, with students volunteering regularly. Clubs like La Conexión regularly tutor Spanish-speaking students in nearby schools and Project Esperanza hosts fundraising events on campus to raise money and awareness for ​​underprivileged children in China. On Day of Service, however, the entire hilltop puts aside their busy schedules to make a difference in the lives of others.

To kick off the day and motivate the community for the important work ahead, everyone gathered in the Armstrong-Hipkins Center for the Arts’ DuBois Theatre to hear from Margaret Schiller P’12 ’13, president of the Ridge and Valley Conservancy. Ms. Schiller shared her work with the Conservancy, promoting the preservation of natural areas in our area. During the day, one group of students joined the organization, removing invasive plants on a hiking trail. Ms. Schiller encouraged students to find a volunteer organization they are passionate about and help make a difference by volunteering, using today as a launching pad.

“Volunteers are our lifeblood,” Ms. Schiller explained. “Nonprofits can’t survive without volunteers, and that’s where you come in.”

Along with trail maintenance, students served lunches and stocked shelves at a local food pantry, translated brochures from local non-profits into Spanish, crafted blankets for victims of domestic violence and so much more. For the first time, Day of Service partnered with Habitat for Humanity to stock merchandise and build a relationship for further service in the school year ahead. Blair’s Project Ally provided social-emotional lessons for local children in kindergarten through second grade, another added program to this year’s list of projects.

In anticipation of another successful Tag Sale next year, students worked to collect and organize items from around campus that students have donated as they prepare to depart for the summer. Last year’s sale raised $6,000 for local food pantries and the independent nonprofit Blair in Kenya. With the help of Day of Service volunteers, the Tag Sale team is on track for next year’s event. Also supporting Blair in Kenya, ceramics students crafted nearly 80 bowls for the Empty Bowls project.

“Everyone can make service a part of their lives,” Day of Service coordinator and history teacher Joanne Brandwood said. “On the Day of Service, the Blair community builds on its tradition of giving back, empowering others while engaging in rewarding work.”

To view more pictures of the day, visit Blair Academy on Photoshelter.

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