By Hailie Avila, Tessa Waterman and Christina Nelson
APR 4, 2016
In order to graduate from St. Thomas Aquinas (STA), it is necessary to accumulate a total of 100 service hours over the course of four years. Service Hours Coordinator, Mrs. Carol Bergen, compiles and records the hours earned by each student. According to Mrs. Bergen, there are cases where seniors find themselves lacking the requisite number of hours. For this reason, Mrs. Bergen strongly recommends that students ensure that they complete at least 25 hours each year. She also suggests that seniors submit their service hours by Christmas of their final year.
Although Mrs. Bergen works part-time, she not only tracks the students’ and teachers’ hours, she also creates the playbills for the STA plays and concerts. Students need to be patient with the process of inputting service hours. To help avoid delays in recording service hours, students need to make sure that they properly complete the paperwork that they submit to Mrs. Bergen.
Mrs. Bergen sets up an individual folder for every student. When a service activity takes place, the moderator sends Mrs. Bergen a printout that includes the participant’s name, ID number, description of the activity, hours served and date of the event. She keeps this information in a binder, for a minimum of four years.
All service opportunities have to be for a non-profit organization. Mrs. Bergen explained that the service project, “… has to be for free, no money can exchange hands.” So, for example, volunteering at animal hospitals and shelters is not eligible, due to the fact that they charge money for their services. Mrs. Bergen told reporters, “Receiving service hours also goes with our philosophy at St. Thomas, which is giving.