Written by Kaitlin Beard, Rome News-Tribune staff writer, published 8/11/09
Darlington School faculty and staff had the opportunity to bond together Monday as they worked at service projects across Rome.
Monday marked the beginning of the teacher work week with the first day of class coming up next Monday.
“It’s a great opportunity to ease into the year,” said Kathy O’Mara, an art teacher.
Groups worked at various locations including the Boys & Girls Club, Rome-Floyd County Library, Mercy Senior Care, McHenry Elementary, Harbor House, Rome Little Theater, Dog Pack Rescue, YMCA, Open Door Home and South Broad Food Pantry.
“They went to different places where we work throughout the year,” said LaFarah Pringle, a senior at Darlington who is on the servant leadership team.
Students on the team were responsible for finding the various organizations where teachers would volunteer. There are 13 student servant leaders, so each faculty and staff group had at least one student “chaperone,” according to Reba Barnes, director of servant leadership.
Faculty and staff had only positive things to say about the volunteer service. “We were ‘reading the shelves’ which is librarian lingo for putting books in order,” said Rebekah Kinney, a fourth grade teacher. “‘Service beyond self’ is [part of] our motto, so we’re always looking for ways we can serve the community. Plus, it’s nice to all be together.”
In fact, participants point to the unity created by faculty and staff working with people from other departments. “It gives us all a chance to work with people we don’t work with every day,” said Wendy Payne, a library assistant.
The volunteer service not only benefits the community, but also gives faculty and staff a glimpse into what students do throughout the school year.
“This is the third year for the servant leadership program where students have to complete a certain amount of service hours by the end of the year,” said Bailey Duncan, a history teacher at the upper school. “The teachers are living up to it because the students set the bar high.”
“We get to lead by example,” said Headmaster Tom Whitworth. “It’s a little edgy and puts us in a place students are in.”