Form of 2017 and SPS Sparks Join Together in a Day of Service
SPS Sparks Recap Video
Tenley Rooney | Students toiled on the banks of Library Pond in the rain, swinging pickaxes and using their hands to uproot thick brush from the shoreline. Their mission: To rid the shoreline of invasive species. It was one of many tasks undertaken by the Form of 2017, as members worked alongside faculty and alumni for the School’s first Sixth Form Day of Service with SPS Sparks on May 31.
“I think that is a good message to send out there that our students are engaged in service, that they are committed to making a difference in the world,” said Kathy Taylor, director of community outreach.
Community outreach is a required element of the St. Paul’s School experience. Each student must complete 40 hours of service before graduating but, as Taylor notes, they often go beyond. As a form, the minimum community outreach hours needed for graduation is 5,300 hours, but the Form of 2017 tallied 12,190.25 hours. Such selfless commitment is a common thread at SPS. Steve Crandall ’70, co-founder of SPS Sparks, has been rallying alumni since 2013 to join in a day of service to rekindle the friendships and lessons learned at SPS.
“It’s something that resonates from our years at St. Paul’s,” explained Crandall. “It was part of the basic foundation and principles we were educated under – service to others.”
By joining with the members of the Sixth Form and faculty, SPS Sparks widened its reach from a single project to 15 different tasks, both at the School and at the nearby NH Audubon Society. Projects included replacing wooden walkways and observation platforms by Turkey Pond to caring for saplings of endangered American Chestnut trees to cleaning up trails and creating nesting habitats for birds.
“What they are planting today is going to take decades to come to fruition, and that’s the legacy they will be leaving,” said School Environmental Steward Nick Babladelis, who helped pinpoint projects for the day. “The partnership with alumni is an incredible opportunity to connect and a meaningful way to cap off their time here.”
Tsemone Ogembi ’17 and her group planted pollinating shrubs at the NH Audubon Society. “It’s the most connected I’ve felt with my form,” she said. Recently elected Alumni Association President Liz Robbins ’79, P’17 ripped up roots with the group at Library Pond, while SPS Sparks members Steve Moorhead ’70, Don Lippincott ’70, and Chip Gowen ’70, poured their efforts into the adjacent acreage shared between SPS and NH Audubon. “We grew up in a generation where getting involved in volunteering and social
action was important,” said Lippincott. “This has been a great opportunity for us to get back into it and carry it forward.”