What is Senior Service at KHS?

After AP exams at KHS, seniors are given the opportunity to spend nearly a month helping out the local community.

For last year’s St. Baldrick’s fundraiser, KHS Seniors utilized Instagram to spread the word to the Kinnelon community.

Photo Courtesy of the St. Baldrick's KHS Instagram

For last year’s St. Baldrick’s fundraiser, KHS Seniors utilized Instagram to spread the word to the Kinnelon community.

When the late-spring heat enters the halls of KHS — and the work ethic of seniors is long gone — students who meet certain requirements are given the opportunity to leave school for nearly a month to embark on their own approved missions in the goal of bettering the community.

Senior Service is a project seniors partake in at the end of the school year, from May 15 to June 12, that allows them to gain valuable community service or professional work experience. Students can work in nursing homes, hospitals, libraries, other district schools, parks, and other community oriented organizations

When seniors are choosing their project, they must be mindful of specific criteria and have their project approved by the school. The project must be non-remunerative, which means students cannot be paid, and the students can have no prior relationship with the employer and cannot volunteer at a site where their parents have an affiliation.

Since the project is at the end of the year, seniors will likely attempt to use this as a break from the monotony and strain of school during the rest of the year. Though the project does still require work and if it is not completed, students will be removed from the project. Students must complete a journal and submit it to Google Classroom, work 25 hours a week, work a minimum of 3-4 hours a day, write a final reflection, and attend a mandatory meeting at the end of the project. 

Students wishing to participate in the program cannot exceed 10 absences prior to the beginning of the program. Although project supervisor Dr. Wendy Bruffy clarifies, “If you have excused absences, that doesn’t count against you.” Much to the relief of the seniors who are pushing that absence limit at the end of the year “It’s on a case to case basis.”

Projects span a wide range of community and professional topics, but are all encouraged to take place in and around the Kinnelon area. Dr. Bruffy said her favorite project last year was, “St. Baldrick’s […] because that’s good for childhood cancer.” Favorites aside, “people have gone to recording places” and additionally to “PRM (Pearl R. Miller Middle School), or Kiel or Stonybrook [which] gives the student a bit of an opportunity to reminisce with some of their old teachers and flashback in time.”

“[It’s] an opportunity to reminisce with some […] old teachers and flashback in time” ”

— Dr. Bruffy

If none of those opportunities seem appealing to prospective students, there are plenty of other opportunities shown to seniors when the project gets closer. Traveling to Pyramid Mountain and other local parks for clean up service or working with the local government departments are very popular activities among the senior class. 

Overall, the workload of the project is lighter than the usual grind of final exams and end of year projects. This is a great opportunity for seniors to not only wind down as the year comes to a close, but to also gain valuable experience that the confines of a classroom could never offer. Not all learning comes from the classroom and as seniors prepare to acclimate to the new learning environments their futures hold, the opportunity to learn on the job is invaluable.