K-12 Service is Part of EMS Culture

December 9, 2021 / Andrea Wenger
12th grade service at Willow Run Farm 2021
12th grade service at Willow Run Farm 2021

Service both within the school, in the community and beyond is part of the culture at Eastern Mennonite School.

So far this fall:

  • K-5 partnered with Harrisonburg City Schools for a clothing drive to provide warm clothes for newcomers to the community
  • 6th grade raked leaves for neighbors in Park View
  • 8th grade created, collected, and delivered encouraging cards and treats to health care workers at Sentara RMH.
  • 9th grade did trail maintenance at Hillandale Park
  • 11th grade sold baked goods to benefit the work of Open Doors for those seeking shelter in our community. This paired nicely with a National Honor Society project collecting supplies for Open Doors, and a chapel presentation by Open Doors staff.
  • 12th grade spent a morning digging root vegetables at the Farm at Willow Run for Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community.

The We Serve Club — an Interact Club sponsored by the Rotary Club of Rockingham County — collected shoes for Kenya in September; picked up roadside trash in October; served the meal at Bridge of Hope’s annual fundraiser and collected food for Patchwork Pantry in November; and set up luminaries and prepared stockings filled with goodies for Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community in December.

Each spring, grades 6-12 focus an entire day on service through the Community Service Day. High school students serve with area non-profits doing whatever project they are asked to do, from painting to yard work, cleaning shelves, or cleaning. Read a report from 2021 when we inched toward “normal” due to the pandemic, and a report from 2019.

Within our school

  • 5th grade students take turns at morning drop off, greeting peers with Maria Archer, K-8 principal.
  • 7th grade students collect paper for recycling from both school buildings each week
  • 8th grade students set out the lunch waste management system bins to collect compostable food scraps, napkins, and to-go boxes
  • High school students support collection of trash and compostables after lunch
  • Physics students lead robotics lessons for 4th grade
  • 5th grade students are reading buddies with 3rd grade students. And 3rd grade students read with kindergarten buddies.
  • Volunteer students host prospective student visitors throughout the year for visitors to grades 6-12.

Through service to others, students grow as compassionate, involved community members. Their eyes are opened to others’ needs, they learn new skills, and develop as leaders.

“Through service to others, students grow as compassionate, involved community members,” says Maria Archer, K-8 principal. “Their eyes are opened to others’ needs, they learn new skills, and develop as leaders.”

Prospective students and families are invited to visit the school in the coming months for enrollment in fall of 2022. Find information on upcoming visits for grades 6-12 and register to attend at easternmennonite.org/visit

Check out some more photos from this story

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