Our goal with all service projects is to have the students develop empathy for others and see how even one person can make a difference in the lives of others. They realize how the things they learn in the classroom connect to the world around them. All this benefits the students in that it gives them a better perspective of the world they live in and a better sense of themselves.Jason Coady, Athey Family Master of Mathematics and Pottstown CARES coordinator
Service is considered an integral part of the way we live in a decent and caring community, and involvement in service is one the School's highest priorities. Students are encouraged to participate in service activities throughout their time at The Hill, and the School supports students who wish to pursue their own service interests if they feel that there is a need that's not being met. The Hill School strives to ensure that each and every student has many occasions during his or her time here to put others first and to help to solve problems besetting the community, and we welcome suggestions for new ways the School can get involved.
Students may choose to spend up to two terms each year in daily afternoon service activities. If a student is interested and has a specific interest, we’ll do our best to accommodate that. Students will participate in three or four days of service each week and are also required to complete two one-hour fitness workouts each week. This program is available all three terms.Student benefit from the strong relationships the School has with many outstanding organizations in Pottstown and the surrounding region. More recently, Hobart’s Run – Hill’s distinctive neighborhood improvement initiative – has become more involved in supporting Hill’s Community Service program. Students are engaged with Pottstown’s revitalization in a variety of ways, from helping to beautify the historic Edgewood Cemetery located near campus, to participating in the Pottstown Area Social Innovations Lab run by Hobart’s Run as well as numerous service projects benefitting local nonprofits.
In addition to off-campus service opportunities, part of being The Family Boarding School is acknowledging that our campus is a community itself, and so for all students service begins "at home." As part of the Campus Service program, students will do a variety of things: serving meals in the Dining Room, assisting with office tasks, helping prepare science labs, and more. Students also serve the campus community in a number of other ways, including taking the lead in overseeing the dorms as prefects, planning student activities as members of the Student Life Association, and promoting the student-written Honor Code as members of the Honor Council.
Each fall, all Hill School students, as well as Hill faculty and staff, join forces with the Borough, Pottstown School District, and MCCC to weed, pick up trash, and complete other “spruce up” tasks in public spaces in the core downtown Pottstown area for an annual Pottstown CARES day in addition to smaller CARES initiatives that are held throughout the year.
The initial, joint CARES (Community, Awareness, Responsibility, Empowerment, and Sustainability) endeavor was conceived in the spring of 2013 during conversations between Borough Manager Mark Flanders, Pottstown School Superintendent Dr. Jeff Sparagana, and Hill School Headmaster Zachary Lehman. The three leaders envisioned a collaborative project that would help to “spruce up” a designated area in the core of Pottstown while boosting community pride. In 2014, Montgomery County Community College’s (MCCC) West Campus joined the CARES planning team.
Hill School Community Service Opportunities
- Latinos Unidos at First Baptist Church in Pottstown: Hill students tutor bilingual children during this after-school program held Tuesdays through Fridays.
- Operation Backpack: Hill students assist with inventory management and weekly preparations for this organization that provides weekend meals for children at area schools.
- Olivet Boys and Girls Club: Hill students work with the after-school program, providing homework assistance, overseeing activities in the gym and game room, and helping students rehearse carols for the club's annual holiday party.
Past short-term projects in which students have participated include:
- Setting up for a used book sale at the Pottstown Public Library
- Cleaning, raking, and landscaping in preparation for the opening of an art exhibit celebrating veterans
- Preparing equipment for a community-wide cleanup event