Community Service is a very important part of life at Mason Prep, and our students, faculty, staff and families are involved in various service projects. Our City Council sponsors many projects that our entire school supports, and students participate in the Jump Rope for Heart initiative through their physical education classes. In addition, our eighth grade students complete twenty hours of community service as a part of their education in becoming contributing members of their society.
SERVICE LEARNING PROJECTS
In 2016-17, Mason Prep’s first year of incorporating Service Learning Projects as part of each grade level’s curriculum was a great success. Each grade chose a project for the year, and teachers wove the work and lessons learned from these projects through several areas of study over the course of the year. This allowed students to explore the issues and challenges around their project, as well as the impact of their efforts, more fully than is typical with more traditional community service efforts.
KE: Students learned about the uses of water in our community and the importance of water for everyday life. In a Morning Meeting, they presented facts about water availability and usage in the U.S. and developing countries and the importance of bringing clean water to people for whom accessing water is a challenge. The class participated in the Charleston Walk for Water which benefitted Water Mission.
KR: Students learned about an orphanage in Honduras which their teacher, Miss Rett, had visited. Students learned that the children in the orphanage did not have many of the things we use every day including toiletries, clothing and toys. KR conducted a drive to gather donations for the orphanage and Miss Rett traveled to Honduras to deliver the supplies to the children.
1st Grade: First graders learned about the animals at Hallie Hill Animal Sanctuary in Hollywood, South Carolina, and how the shelter takes care of many dogs and cats. Students discovered that the animals needed enrichment toys to help keep them happy while at Hallie Hill. First graders held a "read-a-thon" to raise money for supplies to make the toys and raised $1,380! They made MANY toys for both dogs and cats which were delivered by Mrs. Stamatiades and Mrs. Kreutner. See a video about their experience here.
2nd grade: Students learned about the healing power of music by helping patients at MUSC Children’s Hospital. Students made three kinds of instruments at school, putting together a video of instructions. They sent the supplies for making instruments and the instructions to the patients at MUSC to spread happiness and the love of music. See a presentation about their experience here.
3rd Grade: Students worked with Jim Weinberg on his art project involving painting the last remaining piece of the old Cooper River bridges. They created their own artistic interpretations of the bridges, which were converted into greeting cards and sold to raise money for a plaque to accompany the painted pier. Members of the class attended the dedication of the old Cooper River bridge pier and shared their artistic interpretations of the pier with Mayor Riley.
4th grade: In an effort to learn about the life and school experiences of children from different backgrounds, our students were paired with students from the WINGS program at North Charleston Elementary School. The kids wrote letters back and forth during the year and had two get-togethers where they ate together, played games and just enjoyed time with their new friends. See a video about their experience here.
5th Grade: The Mason Prep 5th grade French class was matched with two Peace Corps volunteers who are serving in Togo (Africa), and communicated with them through the year. When it came time to decide on a service learning project, the 5th graders chose to raise money to make a difference for the children in the village where the Peace Corps volunteers are located. Our students raised a total of $2,286 by requesting donations to sponsor their participation in an obstacle course where they completed real world tasks similar to what the Togolese children do every day. See a presentation about their experience here.
6th Grade: Students participated in the South Carolina Oyster Restoration and Enhancement Program (SCORE). They visited the SCDNR Marine Resources Research Institute on James Island and then worked with the SCORE project to bag 337 large bags of recycled oyster shells, which will later be used for local oyster reef restoration. The reefs created by these bags of recycled oyster shells will help control erosion and provide habitats for new adult oysters which will filter over 900 million gallons of water annually.
7th Grade: The 7th grade concentrated on hunger in Charleston. They welcomed Stacey Denaux, CEO of One80 Place, to school to talk about how many local people are food insecure and what One80 Place and their community partners are doing to help. Students then volunteered at several local charities including Fields to Families and I Heart Hungry Kids. The final step was putting on a canned food drive to benefit the Lowcountry Food Bank.
8th Grade: Our 8th graders’ project focused on animal behavior and needs. They visited the Charleston Animal Society and then researched animal intelligence and issues surrounding human uses of animals. Using what they learned, they created enrichment toys for animals living at the Charleston Animal Society, helping them to be more mentally and physically active. They presented their toys to representatives from CAS who said, “[We] cannot tell you how amazed and touched we all were at Charleston Animal Society by your students. Our behavioral/enrichment team was blown away with how many amazing ways our animals' lives can now be enriched.”
Access the Community Service Log here.