When Huntley High School senior McKenna Carbon was bouncing around ideas for a service project in her Service in Action class, she aimed to create an opportunity that would promote positive relations between students and police officers.
She thought the fun and friendly confines of a volleyball court made the perfect setting to bring officers and students (“Badges and Backpacks”) together. On April 21, a team of about a dozen individuals from the Huntley Police Department squared off against members of the class in friendly competition at the Huntley Park District.
“The event went very well. There were lots of laughs. Although the officers defeated the students, everyone seemed to have a great time,” Carbon said. “This event was a great opportunity for students to positively interact with local law enforcement.”
While Huntley 158 has a long tradition of working closely with local law enforcement agencies and while students at HHS regularly interact with School Resource Officer Nora Cirks, she said that opportunities such as this help students become comfortable interacting with police and to see that they are approachable.
“The officers had a blast playing against the students. It was also fun to integrate the teams and play along side them,” said Cirks.
The Service in Action Class was designed to give senior students the opportunity to make a difference inside and outside the classroom. Offered in the Blended Learning format, students experience both traditional classroom activities and progressive learning opportunities to inspire them to change the world.
A key component of the class is to have students create and implement their own service projects. Topics covered in the class and projects are virtually unlimited, with students getting to follow their interests into areas they feel can make a positive and lasting impact on the world.
Many participants saw potential for the class to continue building relationships with police.
“Everyone seemed to really get into it and enjoy the experience,” Cirks said. “We hope this can turn into an annual event.”