Service learning combines learning goals and community service to enrich both student growth and the common good. To quote Vanderbilt University’s Janet S. Eyler (winner of the 2003 Thomas Ehrlich Faculty Award for Service Learning) and Dwight E. Giles, Jr., service learning is
“a form of experiential education where learning occurs through a cycle of action and reflection as students. . . seek to achieve real objectives for the community and deeper understanding and skills for themselves. In the process, students link personal and social development with academic and cognitive development. . . experience enhances understanding; understanding leads to more effective action.”
At every grade level, students participate in service learning projects, from collecting teddy bears for children, to visiting assisted-living facilities, to donating supplies to the Red Cross. Students learn civic responsibility, strengthen communities, and experience the joy of making a difference.
Eighth graders embark on student-driven service learning projects which serve as a capstone to their education. These projects blend the best elements of a St John’s education – servant leadership, collaboration, meaningful and relevant learning, and a unique experience. Students research problems in their community, plan and evaluate solutions, and present their results to a community.