Before graduating, twelfth grade students of Cape Elizabeth High School must participate in the Senior-to-Senior program, an initiative that has students do volunteer work for the elderly.
While this is a great way to get kids to connect with the community and help out some seniors, making it mandatory initiates a gag reflex in the students. Seniors are filled with dread when they pass the cork bulletin board that asks eagerly “Have you got your hours yet?!” “We have!!!” replies an ecstatic photo of some seniors from past years who have paid their dues.
Mr. Kohan is the head honcho of the senior to senior operation. Mr. Kohan explained that the main goal of the program is to get senior students involved with senior citizens, as this is a great way to help out the seniors and introduce the students to volunteer work.
Contrary to common belief, Senior to Senior is not mandatory towards a student's graduation. Rather, as Mr. Kohan put it, the students are expected to participate.
Senior student Stephen Bennett speculated that “you may as well just get it done.” Stephen noted that other schools required substantially more volunteer time, and actually required students to complete them. “It’s a nice thing to do. People just may as well do it. Considering how much we have to do in comparison to other schools I think students here can get off their (redacted) for three hours to help some folks out.”
I for one am not someone who would naturally make time to do volunteer work. Even when prompted, I’m not exactly jumping to make it happen. So when I saw that the school was providing me with an opportunity to get my hours in with some of my classmates, I figured I should get it over with. Just like those kids on the bulletin board, I would have my hours. I couldn’t wait to join them. They seemed so excited. What about? Getting their hours done? I could not know for sure, but I hoped someday to be as excited as they were. I was sure that getting my hours in would open the path to me. I signed my name.
We would be raking leaves on a Sunday. My friend and associate Federico Giovine arrived at my house in the morning, as I was scrambling to get ready. At the rendezvous, we were given an address and formed teams. Stephen Bennett and my fellow journalist Roman Medina joined the party. This team was a force to be reckoned with. We grabbed some Red Bulls so we’d be able to keep our edge and rode off.
We found the house eventually and approached the front stoop to state our business. A moment after we knocked on the door, an elderly man appeared. He seemed incredibly suspicious of us. We explained that we were merely there to rake his lawn, but he didn't seem to be buying it. As it turns out, the poor man hadn’t been notified that he would be having community service done unto him. From his perspective, a group of teenagers had pulled up to his house wearing gloves and brandishing rakes and trash bags. Lord only knows what kinds of monstrosities these hooligans are up to.
Eventually we assured him that we were there only to rake his lawn and not to set fire to it, or steal him away in an industrial sized paper bag, though he was not thoroughly convinced until about halfway through our work, when he could see we actually were just raking the leaves.
Our team worked efficiently, and we were done in just over three hours. In our complex system, we would have one group create a pile and bag it. One member would load their car with bags and drive the bags down to the dump, where there was a fantastic pile of leaves that the town had been communally dumping into. Trips were made back and forth until we had left our senior’s lawn practically spotless.
Senior to Senior is an expansive and versatile program with several Some of the other senior to senior events being hosted by the school include lunchens, concerts, lawn care, and assistance at cape memory care. Mr. Kohan shoots for 100% participation from the student body, and with an occasional outlier, the seniors usually come through. Mr Kohan stated that senior to senior is the “Funnest, coolest thing” he does here.
Superintendent's Office
(207) 799-2217
Howard Colter, Interim Superintendent
Pond Cove Elementary School
(207) 799-7339
Kelly Hasson, Principal
Cape Elizabeth Middle School
(207) 799-8176
Mike Tracy, Principal
Cape Elizabeth High School
(207) 799-3309
Jeff Shedd, Principal
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