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St. Stephen's Episcopal School - 1950
Service Learning Coordinators
Service Learning at St. Stephen’s
At St. Stephen’s Episcopal School, Service Learning is an essential aspect of our education. Our service program encourages students to think beyond their own needs, to develop a passion for service, and to inspire one another. We pursue service as a way of life and recognize the world’s challenges as opportunities for commitment to change, improvement, and growth. As a school community, service is our way of applying what we teach and learn in the classroom to make a positive difference in our world.
The Power of Language

Five years ago, I traveled to Argentina and returned home with a deep desire to learn Spanish. I had visited Spanish-speaking countries before, but a humbling experience at a bakery in Buenos Aires— barely able to complete a basic pastry-for-cash transaction—made me determined to master the language. Spanish is a beautiful language, but my primary reason for learning Spanish was to be able to communicate with others. Hispanics are the fastest-growing population group in Texas, and demographers project that Hispanics will become the state’s largest ethnic group in fewer than 10 years. Therefore, I approached learning Spanish as a way to connect more with the people around me. I hoped that a second language also would make my world a little bigger.

This summer, after five years of once-a-week classes and a two-week academic stint in Mexico, I finally felt my Spanish was good enough to put to use. I had begun looking for volunteer opportunities in Austin when it suddenly occurred to me that I did not need to leave St. Stephen’s campus to help others gain the power of knowing a second language!

Throughout the years, I have gotten to know some of my wonderful colleagues who keep our buildings clean and our grounds gorgeous. Since I started taking Spanish classes, they have always been kind enough to speak Spanish with me. I figured that it was my turn to give back and share my knowledge of English with anyone who had the desire to learn. Many of our housekeeping and maintenance staff members are bilingual, but I did find a small group who jumped at the opportunity to take an English class on our campus. Every Tuesday afternoon we meet in my classroom to explore English vocabulary and learn English verb conjugations. At this point, we are just practicing small phrases and learning about English at the sentence level, but the women I teach are great students with a real desire to learn — which is all that it takes to be successful. Language is power, and it is an honor for me to help empower some of the people who do the hardest work on our campus.

By Jenny Huth Ph.D., English Department Chair

Watch the Take 10 CPR Video by film instructor David Fabelo

On Friday, April 26, St. Stephen’s Episcopal School student leaders hosted and facilitated TAKE10 CPR training for students in conjunction with Take Heart Austin and cardiologist Dr. Robert Wozniak. Led by senior Annie Nordhauser, students developed the idea and planned the event with a goal of training at least 95 percent of St. Stephen's students in compression only CPR.

Twenty-five St. Stephen’s students volunteered to become student trainers for the school, and time was set aside for the student body to be trained during the different lunch periods last Friday.

“We are very impressed with the enthusiasm, creativity and initiative demonstrated by these students,” said Louis Gonzales, TAKE10 program manager. "The students, particularly Annie, have really spearheaded this effort with Dr. Wozniak’s guidance. Take Heart Austin has supported the students with our TAKE10 CPR program, preparing their trainers and loaning equipment, but they have done most of the work.” 

Read more about the CPR training at St. Stephen's.

Spartans Donate Time and Effort at El Buen Samaritano

St. Stephen’s students volunteered in April at El Buen Samaritano. Around 1000 people participated in Your Health Your Family Day--health screenings, appointments at the El Buen clinic, doctor talks, healthy cooking demos, garden tours. Outdoor activities included Zumba classes and rock wall climbing. St. Stephen’s students were stationed at the various activity spots and were helpful with setting up, taking down and keeping everything moving smoothly.

"It is really great to have had such a showing of students and I hope we can do lots more next year! We are really aiming to have more service learning opportunities so they can understand more about why places like El Buen exist. For example, the health fair started at 9 and we had one woman who came at 4 am to be sure she could get a health screening. Volunteering is a lot more meaningful when you meet the people and hear their stories."  – Lisie Sillers, El Buen Samaritano Episcopal Mission

Middle School Service Learning
Service learning in the middle school is integrated throughout the curriculum.  Students participate in partnerships with El Buen Samaritano, Mobile Loaves and Fishes, our sister school St. Etienne in Haiti, and a number of other opportunities throughout the year. 

Click here to download Middle School service learning opportunities (PDF).
Upper School Service Learning
Students must complete 10 hours of service learning projects per academic year.  By year’s end, students must submit responses to questions on the area of societal need that the service addresses, and submit responses to questions about their service experience.  This documentation must be submitted to advisors for review between April 1st and May 1st via an online form. 

In order to receive credit for service hours, students must record the hours online in the Omnia program and have their supervisor send an email confirming their service hours to Both of these things must be submitted by the end of the term in which the service was performed.
"VOLUNTEERS ARE NOT PAID – not because they are worthless, but because they are priceless." - Anonymous
FAQ's About Entering Hours
Q. Can I just submit a letter from the organization where I volunteered instead of having them e-mail you?
A. Yes, but it must be on official stationery from that organization.

Q. If I volunteered over a period of time for the same organization do I have to enter in seperate dates?
A. No, just enter in the last date of service and make sure you enter the information in the term in which you worked.

Q. If my hours aren't verified right away should I assume they won't be accepted?
A. No, there is a delay in entering hours and their verification. If the work you did follows all the specified guidelines your work will eventually be verified. If you are nervous about whether or not hours will be accepted, you should check BEFORE you even do the project.