SigMT Vol12 Iss 4

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SiG MT 10 FROM THE EDITOR Hayley Lenington-Leray wasn't born when George Herbert Walker Bush was president, but I remember him gracing the pages of my history books throughout my high school years. Some things that stand out to me, all politics aside, were his deep seeded faith, love of family and compassion for people. His words were not rhetorical utterances, but rather words that lead through his own example. Prior to his presidential victory, he delivered what became known as his "thousand points of light" acceptance speech at the 1988 GOP National Convention in New Orleans. He spoke highly of America's volunteer organizations, referring to them as "a brilliant diversity spread like stars, like a thousand points of light in a broad and peaceful sky." He was calling upon Americans to bring back a sense of community by serving others, finding the good in everyone and doing our part in making our country and our world, a better place. I'm fortunate to have gone to schools that encourage and require community volunteer hours. I didn't understand the reasoning when I was younger, but as I prepare to graduate high school, I'm beginning to make sense of and value the opportunities volunteering has presented. I used to think high school was about getting good grades and making the varsity team in whichever sport I was playing, but it's far more than that. It's about preparing for the future and understanding what "the real world" has in store. It's seeing the faces of the elderly light up when you walk into the room to help share in their "senior" prom. It's about giving of oneself and asking nothing in return. It's about social interaction at a higher level and the social and economic lessons learned outside of a school's protected environment. It's about opening our eyes to social indifferences and seeing those who are suffering and showing them respect and honoring their dignity. It's about being dependable and developing a work ethic that is desirable to future employers. But, perhaps most importantly, it's about helping those less fortunate, extending grace and being grateful for what we have. ere are arguments for and against public schools requiring volunteer hours. I believe my experience in volunteering has helped to better understand what it means to be a good citizen, because without community service, everyone's quality of life suffers. If you instill this in students at a young age, you are igniting a flame that provides light in that "broad and peaceful sky" for others to follow. My hope is for our community leaders to look to Great Falls Central as a role model and encourage our public schools to make it a requirement as well. It's overwhelming to think about, but the reality is unless we ask more from our youth and engage them early on, we risk the ability to mold good and informed citizens that in turn build stronger communities. I oen hear my parents reminiscing about the past, recalling memories of fall suppers and community gatherings and days that seemed a bit easier. While I love the trips down memory lane, I look to the future with skepticism and fear. I see a world ruled by technology and rather than connecting community members, as it was originally intended, I see it as a mechanism for isolation and social destruction. Social media is causing My husband and I were recently invited to lunch by a local non-profit organization where our daughter was giving a speech for a scholarship they were offering. e question she was to expand on focused on President George H. W. Bush's statement, "We are a nation of communities…a brilliant diversity spread like stars, like a thousand points of light in a broad and peaceful sky." How do you intend to serve as an example, now and in the future, of a responsible American citizen?" We were expecting the typical graduating senior "speech of accomplishments and awards" and how they have molded her into a good citizen now and for the future, but what we heard took us both by surprise. I am sharing it because it might encourage all of us to, as she writes, "rekindle the spirit of serving others." I e Speech

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