Captains Outreach: seniors spend their last days giving back


Senior Jordyn Chambers shelves books at the Sycolin Creek Elementary School library. The students chose to volunteer at the library for their Captains Outreach community service, which takes place during the last month of school. Photos courtesy of Sophia Kuzminski.

Classrooms have been a bit emptier than usual recently, but there’s still nearly a month left of school. Where is everyone?

The absences are mostly from the senior class, many of whom are participating in Captains Outreach this month. Captains Outreach is a school-sponsored community service project in which seniors can perform 50 hours of community service in lieu of school attendance after AP exams are administered.

“I think the Outreach program is very innovative,” senior Sarah Charah said. “It gives the students the chance to learn lessons through real life experiences.”

For her Outreach project, Charah is donating her time to the Evergreen Mill Elementary School library, where she is excited to be working with little kids. Charah has prior experience working with kids, through her participation in tutoring and Educators Rising.

Seniors submit their own ideas for their Outreach project. Proposals are approved by faculty before students begin their service. Projects may be completed in a group or individually, and require both an LCHS and a community sponsor to help coordinate and record service hours.

Volunteering at middle or elementary schools is a popular Outreach project, but it’s not the only option. Others are volunteering at Camp Highroad, the animal shelter, or other local businesses.

“I chose Outreach because I wanted to help the community in a fun way,” Charah said. “To us it may seem little or not important, but it’s everything to those principals, camp counselors, clinics, or whoever else people chose to help.”

For many students, Outreach is another item on the senior year bucket list, along with their last homecoming, prom, and graduation.

“Since I was a freshman and heard about Outreach I got excited,” Charah said. “It’s a chance to spend time with friends I’ll miss when we are all away at college.”

Charah also admires Outreach for the experience and lessons it imparts on students. It takes them out of the classroom, away from the quizzes and notes, and gives them a more authentic real-world experience.

“We get to escape the high school bubble and make real progress in our community,” she said. “It also teaches discipline, responsibility, patience, and leadership. And honestly, when the senioritis gets really bad, it’s hard to do any more work, so this new environment [students] will be in can offer something refreshing.”

Captains Outreach is a valuable, unique, and enjoyable way for seniors to close out their high school careers. It’s a win-win for both the community and the students, leaving the former especially with meaningful lessons and experience that they can carry with them in their future endeavors. 

Charah acknowledged the lasting impact of the Outreach program: “It will be something [students] remember forever.”