More than 300 Shady Side Academy students participate in Day of Service
Katie-Bray McGhee gave up sleeping in and a day off school last week to scoop ice cream to patients at the veteran's hospital in O'Hara.
She made the right decision, said the 10th-grader at Shady Side Academy, who participated in the school's annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service on Jan. 20.
“Giving back to the community is especially important to me because it is a great way to expand on my small and limited viewpoints of the world,” she said.
The MLK Day of Service, in its fourth year, saw more than 200 SSA students and 100 staff and parents commit their time and effort to helping people from around the region.
Students split into eight groups where they prepared meals for the homeless, made minor renovations to area shelters and played bingo with hospital patients.
Some groups who received help this year include The Homeless Children's Education Fund, Bethlehem Haven Shelter, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, HealthSouth Harmarville Rehabilitation Hospital and the Kingsley Center of East Liberty.
McGhee spent her day at the VA Pittsburgh Health System Heinz Campus in O'Hara, along with about three dozen others who played games, ate lunch and served root beer floats to patients.
The sophomore said she felt she was the one to benefit.
“It helped me learn about amazing people that I wouldn't have otherwise gotten the chance to know,” she said.
“I really got to listen to these men's stories and appreciate all of their service to our country.”
One of the patients, an amputee, gave her a teapot that he created in the ceramics room at the hospital.
“He only had one arm and was still able to create the most beautiful things,” she said. “It was a really great experience, and I loved getting to meet these men.”
Math teacher Mary Krauland said that was the point of the socialization, to give students a greater appreciation of others' sacrifices.
“Just to see all those people in wheelchairs and to interact with them instead of just hearing about veterans' service, that was special,” Krauland said.
“The patients responded in such a positive way and there were a lot of caring conversations.”
This is the fourth annual Day of Service hosted by SSA students and staff, meant to honor the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Since the first year, the event has grown from 230 students, staff and parents to more than 300 this year.
The goal is to instill the value of service, Academy President Tom Cangiano said.
“It is important to us to be deliberate in finding ways for our students to engage with and serve the communities beyond our campus gates,” he said.
Tenth-grader Sarah Anania also spent her day off mixing milkshakes and making cards for patients at the VA hospital.
“It brings our community together in an amazing way,” she said. “It is an experience that I will never forget.”
Sarah said another WWII veteran also shared his passion for ceramics with the students, along with regaling them with military stories.
“It not only made his day but mine,” she said.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.