State may extend requirements to high school students
“The service will vary and differ depending upon where they live, what they like to do, and how they can best serve. But the values underlying each activity remain the same: our lives are only complete, when our actions extend beyond helping ourselves.
Blagojevich plans to introduce legislation that changes the requirements for receiving the Illinois Merit Recognition Scholarship to include a minimum of 50 hours of service to their communities. Currently, any student who graduates in the top 5% of their class and attends an Illinois public university is eligible to receive a one-time $1,000 merit scholarship.
Although, the National Center for Education Statistics Nationwide reports that 53% of public schools in the United States require students to participate in community service, if Illinois extends a service requirement to high school students, it will become only the second state in the country to do so. The first was Maryland. Chicago Public Schools require all students to complete a 40-hour community service requirement in order to graduate.
“Activities could range from working at a local library, volunteering at a senior center, to picking up trash in a local park, to helping out at the local hospital. But the values underlying each activity remain the same: our lives are only complete, when our actions extend beyond helping ourselves.” Blagojevich said.
“We’ll study how the program has worked in other places. We’ll work with local school districts, teachers, and volunteer organizations. We’ll talk to parents. We’ll talk to students. We’ll do all of the research. But I must admit, the idea is compelling,” said the Governor.