Hanaway Croddick shielded the sun from her face and stepped back to observe the cheerful scene around her. She took in students’ shining eyes as they watched a volleyball soar over a sturdy new net that stretched across their lawn. Laughter and spirited shouts of encouragement filled the air as a volley began.
Hanaway, an eighth grader at The Rumson Country Day School, recently surprised students at The Harbor School, a school for special needs students, with a gift-in-kind – a volleyball court to enhance their physical education program.
Last year at RCDS’s 2017 graduation ceremony, Hanaway was recognized with the Class of 1994 Jane Denny Community Service Award, which honors a student who has exhibited exemplary efforts to serve the community. The award, typically given to an eighth grader, gives the recipient an opportunity to designate a donation to a non-profit or charitable organization.
“As a seventh grader at the time, I was shocked when I heard I was the recipient,” Hanaway said. “I was honored and excited. But winning awards is not what this is all about. It’s about helping others and being a role model for other students. Seeing the smiles on the faces of the people we are helping – that’s the greatest reward.”
“The recipient of this honor must demonstrate altruism and leadership,” said RCDS Service Learning Coordinator Amy Clark. “Hanaway approaches every opportunity with enthusiasm and a willingness to lend a hand whenever and wherever she sees a need. This makes her stand out as a leader within the Service Learning Program. I have been particularly impressed by her kindness and respectful interactions with the students at The Harbor School.”
The RCDS Service Learning Program is an elective available to Upper School students. It is tied into the curriculum and serves as an integral part of the RCDS educational experience. About three times each month, the 35 students currently enrolled visit The Harbor School; The Atrium assisted living facility; and the RCDS Beginners, Pre-K and Nursery classrooms to share a positive moment with someone in need.
“The Service Program is a beneficial experience for both our students and the volunteers,” said Brian Dorgan, Supervisor of Curriculum at The Harbor School. “It provides an eye-opening perspective that students may not have gained otherwise. Watching them grow and form those bonds with each other is a really cool thing to witness.”
In the fall, Hanaway will attend The Lawrenceville School. “I was really impressed by their robust community service projects,” she said. “I hope to participate as much as I can, and maybe even introduce some of the things I took away from the RCDS Service Learning Program.”