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    • Volunteers read to young students at the Davis Academy in New Haven.

Hopkins Springs into Action for Service Week

Abigail Rakotomavo ’26 Assistant News Editor
Hopkins’ second annual Spring Service Week, led by The Maroon Key Board, took place from April 3-6. 
According to club leader Katherine Papadatos ’23, the events of the week provided “a way for students to come together to do a wide range of different activities.” These activities focused on bringing attention to educational disparities while connecting Hopkins to the New Haven community.

Hopkins partnered with a variety of schools and organizations to arrange fundraisers, donations, drives, and hands-on activities as a way to support the New Haven community. Before each Service Week, Maroon Key chooses a theme to center its volunteer efforts around; this year it was education. Papadatos explained that this theme “can apply to a wide range of topics.” She continued, “The versatility yet specificity of this year's theme opens many great opportunities for board members to engage a wide audience while still tying their project back to education.”

One of Maroon Key’s Head Advisers Anna Robinette described the variety of events students could partake in: “We have hands on service opportunities like the read-aloud events at Mitchell Library, the art classes at Edgewood School, and the Science Day with the Boys and Girls Club of New Haven.” Said Robinette, “We also have chances for students at Hopkins to learn more about this history of segregation in New Haven Public Schools in Mr. Saunders’s lecture or to hear their classmates debate hot topics such as questions of educational equality, AI technology in schools, or even questions of curriculum design that are so central to current political discussions across the country. So there’s a little something for everyone!”

Maroon Key Board Co-Presidents Isabel Clare ’23 and Sciana Vertusma ’23 commented on the goals of Spring Service Week. They said, “As Hopkins students, we have the privilege of receiving a world-class education that many students in our surrounding community do not have access to.” They worked to address these issues by fostering discussions about education while “extending our resources through face-to-face interaction and instruction” and “providing tangible resources through [the] Backpack Drive and Used Book Drive.” Vertusma and Clare hoped that this event would spark interest in volunteer work among students and “raise awareness about education and the many forms education can take on, as well as education disparities.” They said, “We hope to increase Hopkins’ involvement in service as a whole and extend our resources to New Haven community members.”

Many students find Spring Service Week to be a gratifying way to give back to the community. Rose Robertson ’24, who helped to run Thursday’s Lego drive, stated that she feels community service can be rewarding: “I really love face-to-face, in person, hands-on volunteer work because it feels the most fulfilling — like I'm actually helping make a difference when it's tangible and not just [raising] money, although that’s important, too. I love that about Spring Service Week.” Robinette said, “Hopkins students not only benefit from feeling empowered to make a difference, to get involved in their community, but they can also learn so much from the organizations and community partners in New Haven who have a similar respect for and love of schools.”

Board member Ava Maccaro ’24 enjoys facilitating these partnerships: “My personal favorite part of service week is partnering with outside organizations and bringing them to Hopkins. This year I had the opportunity to headway the art projects that we are hosting for Edgewood second graders. I loved being able to spread my love for and bring my enjoyment of art to younger students.” She added that, by extending our support to other institutions, “we get the opportunity to make an impact beyond the Hopkins community. Knowledge is such a gift, and Spring Service Week is one way that we, as Hopkins students, can share the wealth!”
Other board members shared what they liked the most about Service Week. Clare said, “My favorite part about Spring Service Week is actually the days after, when I hear volunteers talking about the activities they participated in and how much fun they had. I am very excited to see everything come together and want to recognize how hard the project managers have worked in preparation for the week!” Vertusma said that she had looked forward to the public speaking tournament, “It is a great combination of a learning opportunity and a way to share knowledge with others. I hope that through this tournament, students will come out with a more informed perspective about education equity.”

Students and staff who aren’t a part of Maroon Key can continue to contribute to its efforts by volunteering outside of Hopkins. “Every single organization that [we worked] with during Spring Service Week is super valuable and they accept help and donations all year-round,” noted Robertson. Clare and Vertusma included that more information can be found in the Community Service tab on the LMS or in Maroon Key’s emails — they “encourage all Hopkins community members to get involved on their own time.”
 
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Rose Robertson

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