Off-campus volunteer projects
While many students traveled to trips in Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., others stayed in Pottstown to help in the community. One group helped with an outdoor cleanup at the Olivet Boys & Girls Club at the James J. Ricketts Center just a few blocks from Hill’s campus. Other students volunteered their time at the Pottstown Cluster of Religious Communities organizing the large food and clothing storage facility that benefits local families in need.
One group of Hill students and teachers went around and around for their Martin Luther King, Jr. Day project – at the Pottstown Carousel, that is.
Our volunteers rolled up their sleeves to help prep and paint parts of the historic carousel which is being rebuilt and refurbished in the former Pottstown Metal Weld building across from Memorial Park, between King and High streets. Once completed – through the efforts of dedicated volunteers – the beautiful carousel and its structure will attract visitors from town and to our town, and will be the site of events ranging from weddings to community events, said George Wausnock, president of the carousel organization, who was on hand to greet Hill students. Also stopping in to thank The Hill School volunteers were Stephen Toroney, president of Borough Council, and Jason Bobst, Borough manager. Supervising their handiwork was Jim Arms, a particularly active carousel board member. Jim noted that the carousel is being refurbished in memory of his late nephew, Derek Scott Saylor.
Parts of the carousel date back to 1905. A story about the project's progress recently appeared in the Pottstown Mercury.
In thanking the student workers, Mr. Toroney noted, “The work you do here today will last into the next 100 years.” With any luck – and with additional volunteer help -- Hill students and faculty and staff families (as well as visiting alumni and parents) will be able to ride the colorful horses, giraffes, dogs, and other animals at some point in the coming year.On-campus clinics and workshops for local children
Students were busy on campus as well. The morning and afternoon brought local children to Hill’s campus for a variety of free athletics clinics and arts workshops. Coaches and players from the varsity basketball, squash, swimming, and wrestling teams conducted free clinics in their respective sports. Nearly 150 children attended the basketball clinic, which was held in both Mercer Field House and Gillison Court.
Players from both the boys’ and girls’ basketball teams ran different stations focusing on both fundamental and game situation drills; boys’ and girls’ squash team members demonstrated technical drills and played squash-related games; children were able to receive swimming instruction from members of the swim team; and members of the wrestling team showed off different maneuvers and techniques. After each respective clinic ended, the campers joined the student-coaches in the School’s dining hall for lunch.
Children were invited to attend three arts workshops – “Memory Quilt,” “Let Freedom Sing,” and woodworking - led by Hill faculty and students. Ellen Nelson, chair of the Arts department, read Faith Ringgold’s “Tar Beach” to a large group of children before instructing them to recreate a happy family memory as an inspiration to make their own “quilt” using fabric, paint, mixed media, and glue.
Stephen Longenecker, Oaklawn-Tuttle Director of Choral Music, along with student singers and musicians, led a choral workshop with an emphasis on songs from the Civil Rights Movement.
Luke Block, instructor of fine woodworking, opened up the workshop as he and Hill students worked with local children to build replicas of the great pyramids for a playground of a Philadelphia area school.On-campus academic workshops
Hill students also had the opportunity to participate in several workshops around campus with discussions and activities centered on the topic of civil rights. Pat Hagarman and Rob Steinman, instructors of science, along with Dr. Seth Boyd and Melanie Berner, instructors of English, led a discussion in the CAVE theatre called the “Science of Racism
Diane Richards, instructor of the arts, led a session, “Creating Images of Power in Adobe Photoshop,” held in the tech lab of the Ryan Library. Students each chose a historical image and manipulated it using Photoshop techniques to make the image more powerful through the use of bold colors, contrasts, and the additional of text.
Jim Watson, instructor of English, and Hsaio-Ning Tu, instructor of Chinese, used the powerful documentary “A Class Divided” as a springboard for a student discussion about civil rights and discrimination. The documentary is centered on third-grade Iowa teacher Jane Elliott's "blue eyes/brown eyes" classroom exercise, originally conducted in the days following the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968. She had demonstrated to her students what it would be like to be treated differently just based on a physical difference.
In a session led by Ned Ide, chair of the English department, and Becky Smith, School counselor, students viewed clips of rappers and hip hop artists from the 1990s and discussed how King’s legacy exists in that genre of music. They also discussed what ways civil rights issues still exist today, noting inequalities in public education as just one area.Field trips
In addition to the on-campus workshops and community volunteer projects, Hill students had the opportunity to participate in a variety of field trips celebrating Dr. King’s legacy. All third form students traveled to Washington D.C. where they visited the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial and the Holocaust Museum. Fourth, fifth, and sixth form students had the option to also enjoy the trip to D.C., or travel to Philadelphia to visit the Constitution Center, the National Museum of Liberty, or the Philadelphia Museum of Art. One other service project was held outside of Pottstown in Trenton, N.J., where students volunteered with the local Lions Club to repair eyeglasses for resource-limited countries.