MSD students receive service hours in ways that best fit their interests

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Theron Piccininni

Hours for days! Senior, Landon Reuter takes a trip to Publix to stalk up on canned goods for some extra hours.

Alison LaTorre, Writer

Helping the community is a huge part of today’s society, and there are many different ways to do it. Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students have the chance to join multiple service hour programs throughout their high school career, each helping the community in a different and unique way.

“There are numerous ways to get volunteer hours to help our community, some fun and easy ways may include joining the Marjory’s Garden Club, volunteering to help organize social events at the school and even the Best Buddies Club,” freshman Izabel Perez said. “These clubs are dedicated to enhance friendships and help the community thrive.”

Students can turn in their service hours to the guidance office before school, after school and during lunch by talking to guidance director Veronica Melei or guidance counselor Jerry Turmaine. The hours will then soon be added onto Virtual Counselor.

Some service programs offer students enough service hours to not only meet the minimum requirement of 40 hours to graduate, but the 250-hour requirement needed for the Bright Futures Florida Academic Scholarship, which covers 100% tuition.

Bright Futures is a scholarship program for students in Florida high schools looking to attend a public college in the state. To attain this scholarship, you have to maintain your grades, take the required state tests, complete all the requirements for high school and earn 250 hours of service.

There are two types of Bright Futures Scholarships: the Florida Academic Scholarship (FAS) and the Florida Medallion Scholarship (FMS). Both scholarships require four English and math credits, three natural science and social science credits and two world language credits.

These scholarships help students that either cannot afford college, or simply don’t want to pay in full, improve their financial situation. By meeting the requirements, students can save thousands of dollars on college tuition.

Within the two types of the Bright Futures Scholarship, there are two different types of coverage one can qualify for. One covers 75% of tuition to any Florida school while the other covers 100% of tuition.

Furthermore, the FAS scholarship requires a 3.50 weighted Grade Point Average, 100 service hours and a minimum score of 29 on the ACT or 1330 on the SAT. The FMS scholarship requires a 3.00 weighted Grade Point Average, 75 service hours and a minimum score of 25 on the ACT or a 1330 on the SAT.

Students can schedule an appointment with the Office of Student Financial Assistance (OSFA) to determine whether they are eligible for either of the scholarships. Students must graduate with a high school diploma or something in its equivalent, be a Florida resident and U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen and have at least six non-redeemable credit hours.

Programs such as the Parkland Library help students choose a flexible schedule to gain a certain number of service hours monthly, sometimes even weekly. The library provides convenience for students by working with them to find the schedule that best works around pre-existing obligations.

“I volunteer at the Sawgrass Nature Center, [where] all the animals at the center are hurt and cannot be released to the wild,” sophomore Arlanni Velez said. “This non-profit runs on donations and uses them towards funding the animals.”

The library is not the only program available for gaining service hours, the City of Parkland provides volunteer opportunities for events happening within the community. These events may include a Halloween festival, pumpkin patch unloading, pocket refuge or community garden plantings.

While students can obtain service hours within the community, they are also able to obtain hours through some MSD clubs and organizations like National Honor Society, Key Club, Interact Club and Student Government Association. Students partake in these clubs to help the school and community in ways that support their interests. For example, Key Club has gardening projects and candy bagging for Halloween.

Along with MSD, Heron Heights Elementary School, Somerset Parkland Academy, Park Trails Elementary School and Riverglades Elementary School offer students the chance to help out at a local school with a variety of activities.

“At the Park Trails Halloween party, my friend and I were in charge of food. Later on, we switched with our friends and helped with some of the game activities,” junior Pamela Capra said. “At the end, we walked around and saw all the hard work we put into it and it was great to know how good it came out and how much the kids enjoyed themselves.”

Students can choose specific service hour programs based on their interests. For example, if a student loves music, they can find service hour programs like Cape Town Community Projects and Teaching Performing Arts to Disadvantaged Children.

Overall, students have a variety of different programs and clubs to help out their community and earn them service hours for graduation or scholarship opportunities.