New century award will recognize students who serve the community


Michelle Jun

Students can submit their service hours on Mobile Serve to get credit for volunteering. The goal of the new century award is to encourage students to get to one hundred accumulated hours in a year.

Kim Huang, Reporter

Twenty minutes of community service per day, two hours per week, or 10 hours per month. That’s what a student would need to get the new Century Award at the end of the school year.

“[The Century Award is] a great way to recognize students who choose to do great things in the community without expectation or compensation,” Head of Upper School Lauren Rogers said.

As Rogers explained in a chapel speech, volunteering has many personal and societal benefits, like an increased sense of belonging and building healthier, happier communities. It also combats depression and helps people stay physically healthy. Community service is an integral part of St. Mary’s.

“We have a number of student organizations that were formed to support service… like the St. Mary’s Community Fund… or Wilson’s Society,” Rogers said. “We have students that are very passionate about service, and it’s not necessarily something they do to win an award or be in a club, it’s just something they enjoy doing.” 

Angela Roberts (12) serves as the chair of the St. Mary’s Community Fund’s service committee and said she finds that volunteering is a source of comfort in a problematic world. 

“Sometimes the world just feels kind of scary, [and] there are a lot of big problems,” Roberts said. “So it’s nice to know that you’re having some impact and helping in some small way.”

Maggie Kustoff (11), who also serves as a chair of the Community Fund and tutors for Memphis Communiversity, believes that the Century Award is great motivation for those who are already passionate about this kind of work.

“I think it’s a really great way for people who are already volunteering… to go the extra step to get to the 100 hours,” she said. 

However, Maya Iyengar (10) is not convinced that the Century Award is going to be beneficial.

“In a way it’s good, but it’s also bad,” she said. “People at St. Mary’s love to chase awards, … so I think that people will start volunteering for the sake of getting the award rather than doing good in the community.” 

In a written response to this concern, Rogers hopes students volunteer for the sake of volunteering. 

“If the student chooses to do 100 hours of service to win an award – that’s an awful lot of work,” Rogers said. “I hope that they would see the value of the work that they’ve done, not just the award.”

If you find that volunteering interests you, there are many resources available to St. Mary’s students. Averie Howell (11), co-Chair of the Community Service Committee with Roberts, and Director of Student of Life Holly Hensarling send out regular emails highlighting potential volunteer opportunities. 

“There are definitely agencies and organizations in need,” Roberts said. “If you take the time to look a little bit and find what you’re interested in… you can definitely find somewhere to help.”