Mandatory Service Hours

Article By: Jiwon Cyhn

“… CAS hours are given!” This is posted alongside every council or club announcement whenever they detail an upcoming service trip. While some state that this information is vital, others insist that it is defies the purpose of “true service.” It is undeniable that the CAS system is important in our international system – after all, it ensures that students do service, and even propels their passions forward. But does having a mandatory number of hours stop a person from feeling passionate about service? And to what extent is passion from within important in doing service?

Kyle Kim (Grade 10) states that the CAS system is “important” for doing service because it “makes all students look into the light of others and to realize the importance of helping those who are less fortunate than us.” Bianca Antonio (Grade 9) further expands of the importance of service, describing her first trip as a high schooler, as “really fun” because she got “a taste of what service in ISM is really like.” She also discusses her view of the mandatory hours, saying that it “seems necessary in order to make people take time out off their personal schedule and engage in service.” Students, especially the underclassmen, are strongly encouraged to engage in service while they still have time – most, if not all, find that going to saturday services, or any service trips in general, are worthwhile and should continue.

On the other hand, the IB students display their inclination towards the removal of mandatory hours. Not only does is ManageBac “annoying” (Daniyal Toor, grade 11) because of its many features, but it also takes up “a lot of time.” IB students already have to spend weekends hunched over books, on the field training for IASAS, or spending afterschool training for their CulCon speeches. Their time is, undeniably, limited. However, Toor also states that, without the required hours, most upperclassmen, or students in general, would “slack off service as if it was optional.” He also states that, while it seems strange to ‘force’ students to do service, it is actually quite “useful” and fun.

While it may seem like a “hassle” at first, having a required number of service hours actually helps students discover the significance of service by encouraging them. Most go at first in order to ‘fill in that little box to make Mr. Woods happy’ but end up going more because of pleasure rather than a prerequisite. Therefore, the required hours should still be continued.