Is the 40 hour community service requirement fair for the class of 2024?

Natalie Bartelt, Editor-in-Chief

The community service waiver that was in effect due to the COVID-19 pandemic ends this school year. Beginning with the 2023-2024 year, 40 hours of community service is required for graduation for the class of 2024 and the classes following.

The restored requirement has sparked conversation between this year’s juniors about if it is fair or not that they will still have to complete all the required hours, despite not being able to volunteer during their freshman 2020-2021 school year, and some of their following sophomore year.

The waiver was put into place due to the inability to volunteer in many public places that had closed, and the social-distancing enforcement in Illinois. The class of 2020, 2021, 2022, and 2023 were all excused from the long-standing 40 hours requirement, however, juniors that will be graduating next school year will not receive any kind of exemption from the requirement and are still expected to obtain all hours.

Many juniors are not in favor of this decision. Junior Gabby Humphrey told Tiger Tales, “It’s not about the ease of getting all the hours, it’s just about fairness and equal opportunity. To me, what’s fair for juniors is 30 required hours as the idea is you complete 10 every year, and we had more than a year taken away.” Junior Jorge Morales also insisted that the requirement was not fair, expressing, “We had one year of COVID, and one year we were still coming back from it with restrictions. We should be required 30 hours at the most.” 

Senior Devin Thomas agreed with other students urging that “it isn’t fair to the class of 2024.” He furthered to say “their freshman year was online…opportunities for community service were minimal.”

Some, however, don’t find this to be all that daunting. A poll put to Snapchat determined that 39 percent of students thought the service hour requirement was fair.

Though some juniors may deem this requirement unjust, there are many opportunities to be found within the community. Contact counselors and local organizations for available options and any questions.