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Community Work Mandate in High Schools


There is no shortage of debate on whether community service must be compulsory for high school students in order to graduate. Educational institutions across the country require students to complete a particular number of hours of volunteer work. On the one hand, compulsory community service supporter claim that it assists in improving students ‘ leadership skills, which are essential in professional field. On the contrary, compulsory community service opponents are of opinion that volunteering is the activity that people should be able to choose sincerely. Hence, this essay aims to analyze the reasonability of mandatory community service in high schools.

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Summary of Author’s Position

Throughout the study of Brown et al., “The Impact of High School Mandatory Community Service”, the findings on compulsory community service hours in school are mainly positive. The research proved that mandating students to do volunteer service attracts them to community sector. Partially, it is because some students would not try themselves to engage in such work otherwise.

Furthermore, requiring teenagers to do volunteer work did not provoke aversion from this type of activity further. According to Brown et al., compulsory volunteering activities tend to have “consistent impacts when it provides a positive experience for the student volunteer [..] when it involves a sustained volunteering commitment with one organization” (27). Notably, the study suggests that the effect on the future civic engagement of high school volunteering is contingent. Remarkably, all the arguments are statistically reinforced. Eventually, the researchers discovered that when students made a long-term commitment to one community-related activity, the advantages of further volunteering engagement increased.

Personal Opinion

As far as I am concerned, community service must be compulsory indeed. Whether adolescents might clean a playground, tutor, or assist a senior citizen in routine tasks, the effect of such activities is undeniably positive and inspirational. I believe community work aids individuals in developing empathy and emotional intellect, especially during interaction with other people or animals. Furthermore, it is essential to mention that in order to stay afloat, most non-profit organizations rely on students, and getting a surplus of volunteers helps those organizations to continue doing noble deeds.

However, perhaps the most beneficial part of the requirement for community work hours is that it provides students with group dynamics experience. Young individuals learn to form a cooperative team to achieve their goals when performing community service. They also need to work effectively with members in positions of authority. Students make attitudinal and emotional changes by studying how to be productive members of society if they dedicate time to the family.

Possible Counter Rebuttal

The importance of volunteer work stems from the fact that it is unpaid. Thus, if schools require teenagers to do community service, then some individuals might argue that those activities will lose value. Additionally, some volunteering students do not feel so fulfilled by their experience serving the community. Consequently, they become incredibly annoyed because of the school system has pressured them to do so in the same manner that some kids ignore good advice because it comes from their family. Moreover, it cannot be denied that high school years is a busy and stressful period in the life of teenagers.

In addition to their schoolwork, most students are balancing careers and numerous after-school activities. Henceforth, it is cruel to those students who have responsibilities outside the school to keep them from graduation due to the lack of volunteer work, because some of them don’t have time to spare.

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Work Cited

Brown, Steven D., et al. “The Impact of High School Mandatory Community Service Programs on Subsequent Volunteering and Civic Engagement.” Report prepared for the Knowledge Development Centre, Imagine Canada. Wilfrid Laurier University, 2007.

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