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Vestal High School IB students volunteer at CHOW food pantry to help community

Vestal High School juniors and seniors intending to earn their International Baccalaureate diploma at graduation engaged in a volunteer project at CHOW. Helping the community while working toward their goals is a root tenet of the IB Program.

Photos provided by Vestal School District

In addition to their academic coursework, all International Baccalaureate Diploma candidates must complete the core component of Creativity/Activity/Service (CAS). CAS enables students to enhance their personal and interpersonal development as well as their social and civic development through experiential learning, lending an important counterbalance to the academic pressures of the rest of the IB Diploma Program. CAS experiences should be both challenging and enjoyable – a personal journey of self-discovery that recognizes each student’s individual starting point.

On December 3, a group of junior and senior IB Diploma candidates traveled to the Community Hunger Outreach Warehouse to volunteer for the morning. The field trip to CHOW focused specifically on the service strand of the core component, which involves collaborative and reciprocal engagement with the community in response to an authentic need. Initially, students become acutely aware of the food needs of the greater Southern Tier area, as they received a briefing about how CHOW receives food through local donations and purchases. This context helped to provide the motivation for the work of sorting food products and packing items for distribution to food pantries around the area.

Students are also inspired by the efforts of previous classmates, as Vestal High School IB Diploma candidates have a long history of service to CHOW. Jeffrey Dunham, IB Coordinator at Vestal, noted that “many VHS students are individually serving the community, but the IB program provides opportunities for them to work as a group to expand what they can offer. Working together as two efficient teams, students packed enough food for 1,575 meals.”

This story was written and provided to by the Vestal Central School District. Send stories about the accomplishments of your school’s students to [email protected] with .jpg photos.