The Buzz About Student Service Learning


Lyndsey Brown, Writer

As rising seniors start to pick their classes and the seniors reflect on their last ever high school classes, one class has sparked many interests, Student Service Learning. Student Service Learning (SSL) has become a course that many upperclassmen take in their final year due to the fact that most of their required credits are already done. TJ High had much to say about this class.

The woman who helps run all of this SSL work is Mrs. Biggart. She explained that, “Students go in and they are tutoring other students 80% of the time tutoring other students and then they help the teacher.” When asked about the changes being made to this program, Biggart responded with “It will be called PACE and will be more tutoring based. Students who want to help in the Front Office and Counseling Office will just be aides and won’t get credit for it.” Finally, she was asked, “Why is SSL encouraged for the seniors to take?” She replied, “It’s easy for them. They don’t have to think a lot and they don’t have any homework. They enjoy giving back to the students.” It’s fun to see the background of this course and how it really helps the teachers out. Many students who have gained a connection with a teacher over the years have chosen to help out that teacher and their class.

Senior Blakely Massey who is an SSL for Mr. Miller and Senior Meredith Fitz-Enz who is an SSL for Mr. Lemmon was also interviewed. Massey was asked “What do you do as an SSL?” in which she responded with “ I help the kids with assignments and then I do organizational stuff for Mr. Miller. I do a lot of things like papers and moving them around and getting them where they need to be.” Fitz-Enz was asked “What is your favorite part about being Mr. Lemmon’s SSL?” She replied, “Honestly, Mr. Lemmon because he brightens my day. Whenever I am having a bad day he has some joke up his sleeve just ready for me.”

Mr. Miller is a Social Studies teacher here at TJ High and had some great things to say about this program. When asked if he wants to continue having SSL’s in the future he responded, “I do. I would like to continue having SSLs. “Know that I have been teaching 9th grade APUSH for 5 years. I’m looking to start using them when they become Juniors and Seniors so they can help students write context thesis and DBQs.” Mr. Lemmon, who is also a Social Studies teacher here was asked: “What is your favorite thing about having an SSL, especially Meredith?” to which he responded, “Probably having somebody who will laugh at the jokes that go over the students’ heads and she does all the grunt work which is great. Things like modernizing google slides and creating lessons is very helpful.” It’s great to see how much of an impact these students are creating on the teachers, students, and class itself with SSL.

One of the most popular places to SSL is the offices, especially the Counseling Office. Senior Kyle Bumgardner was asked about his time in the Counseling Office. When given the question: “What do you do as an SSL in the Counseling Office?” he replied, “I run passes anywhere they need to be run and occasionally will help out with packets for different grade assemblies.” He was also asked “What is your favorite part of being an SSL in the Counseling Office?” to which he responded with “My favorite part is probably just the free period. I can use it to get extra work done that I might be behind on.” Lastly, he was asked about his thoughts for recommending this course and he responded with “Yes, this is such an easy thing to do. You get a lot of extra time during the day and it is very stress free.”

Mrs. Umberger is one of our amazing Counseling Secretaries and was asked about her thoughts on SSLs in the office. She was asked “What is your favorite thing about having Senior SSL’s in the Counseling Office?” She replied with “Having the seniors has given me an opportunity to get to know a lot of you all and to build relationships and feel a part of TJ.” As you can see, SSL is a course that is spoken very highly about and seems to be appreciated by all members of the school community. SSL is such a great program for the upperclassmen to get them in classrooms and offices to help everyone that truly needs it and we can’t wait to see how it continues to flourish.