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NP3 Engages with the Community Through Service

In the school library, students surround Callie, one of the trained therapy dogs brought onto campus as part of a student’s senior project.

By Mickaela Del Pozo
Staff Writer The Pacific Times

Voices were hushed and little chatter could be heard in the halls of NP3 High School. Students wore colored strings around their necks united to promote a silent, powerful message: We support the LGBT community.

“The Day of Silence” is a national event meant to spread awareness about the discrimination and harassment of people in the LGBT community. In 2017, students organized A Day of Silence at NP3 High School as a service-learning project.

Students at NP3 High School are required to participate in service-learning throughout high school culminating in individual projects during senior year. Service-learning projects combine community service with concepts learned in the classroom. They give students the chance to choose a current issue which interests them and propose ways to tackle real-world problems.

Students are required to engage with communities through service-learning projects, according to NP3 High School principal Melissa Mori. NP3 High School advisors prepare their students for their senior projects with service-learning projects done in advisory.

Last year, Erik Jones’s advisory built “little free libraries” to provide their communities with books to inspire a love of reading. The advisory students gathered their own materials and contacted local parks to find locations. The class built about five libraries and put them in local parks and neighborhoods.

Service-learning projects have been a part of NP3 High’s curriculum since the school’s founding. Teachers believed that students’ participation would foster an environment where “students gain the knowledge and skills necessary to thrive as global citizens,” according to the school website.

Topics range from environmental issues such as air pollution to political issues like elections. Student driven choices allow them to pursue their interests and prepare for future pursuits. Projects also help develop students’ communication skills and allow them to become comfortable speaking with others.

“Service-learning projects are important because you get to go out and explore yourself and what your aspirations are,” said sophomore Shanina Thakur.

Thakur plans to focus on the American school system for her senior project. Thakur wants to explore the effects of a heavy workload on students and their health. She would like to hold an event to compare different school systems and discuss their impact.

“Participating in service-learning projects allows us students to build on skills that are necessary for adults,” junior Simerjit Kaur said. “It also provides us opportunities to develop a relationship with our community.”

In 2017, Kaur and her advisory sold donuts to raise money for Saint John’s Program for Real Change, a women and children’s shelter. Kaur added that the donut sales required her to remain cognizant during the event of and make sure everything went smoothly. As a result, the project taught her how to hold herself and her teammates accountable.  

NP3 High School students begin to brainstorm project ideas towards the end of their first term and develop their ideas throughout the year. As students resumed classes following winter break, many are at work on their service-learning projects.

In the past two weeks, for example, senior Isabella Ochoa coordinated an on-campus CPR certification workshop on the high school campus. Senior Kenya Padilla also paired NP3 students with animals to help them de-stress. She plans to hold another session on March 13.

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