The mission of Fr. Tolton Catholic High School is to educate the whole student, including a heart for service, which is manifested in various ways, not the least of which is our service program. Students are encouraged to pursue interests and passions, which uphold and reinforce the Catholic Christian identity of the school. Students are required to perform a minimum of 20 service hours per year; these are necessary for graduation.
Tolton requires that each student perform a minimum of 80 hours of service for graduation. We suggest that you work at a pace of at least 20 hours per year to reach the requirement. Most students record well beyond this number. Students, who transfer in, will be required to perform a prorated amount for graduation, based on their time at Tolton.
It is the student’s responsibility to document all service hours in a timely manner, using the school’s online system. Verification is also done through that system, and it is the responsibility of the student to provide e-mail contact information of a non-parent/guardian adult for verification. Hours need to be verified before they can be approved. Students must submit service hours within 90 days, during the school year, of having performed the service; or by September 15 if performed over the summer; otherwise, it may not be counted.
At Tolton Catholic, we define Christian Service as any activity done without payment that assists another human being to fulfill a basic human need. A basic human need is one of the following: life, health, food, shelter, clothing, and education (the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, CCC 2447). Please note that life, health, food, and education can be interpreted on both a physical and spiritual level. In addition, caring for the earth and animals (through recycling programs, park and recreation events, or animal shelters) will count as service as it contributes to the interdependent health of all God’s creation.
The Principal will consider proposals for service that meet a basic human need other than the ones listed. If you are unsure whether your project will be considered service work, we encourage you to ask in advance. If you have any questions, you can contact the Principal. All service hours submitted are subject to the approval of the Principal.
Besides encouraging the Christian tradition of selfless giving, providing community service has many benefits for students. Some school organizations such as the Athletics, House Program, and National Honors Society, require regular service hours to qualify for membership. In addition, colleges and universities are interested in well-rounded students who see and participate in the bigger picture, and service hours may be the deciding factor between students of similar academic caliber. Completion of 125 service hours earns special recognition at end of year; and 200 or more hours earns a highest service recognition at graduation.
Tolton Catholic hopes that, through exposure to service in high school, students will be inspired to serve and care for community needs throughout their lives. We would like every student to experience the satisfaction that comes from giving to those who need help.
We want the service experience to be an outreach into the broader community as well as broad-based learning experience for the student. As such, there are some recommendations we make to enhance a student’s service experiences. Students can perform an unlimited number of service hours. In counting towards the required 80, we recommend the following:
- Service associated with parish worship (altar server, lector, choir member, etc.) is limited to 25% of a student’s total required hours.)
- Coaching or helping coach a children’s sport team is limited to 25% of a student’s total required hours.
- Service associated with a Tolton sports team, or any sports team, such as summer camps, statistics field clean up etc. is limited to 25% of a student’s total required hours.
- A+ requires 50 hours of tutoring and mentoring. Generally, all tutoring and mentoring can qualify as community service, but not all community service counts for A+.
What Is Not Service
While we cannot come up with a comprehensive list of activities that do not count as service, some common ones that we often receive questions about that we do not accept are:
- Any work done for a family member or relative (grandparent, aunt, uncle, cousin) cannot be counted as service. The reason for this is family obligations coincide too closely with service work for us to fairly assess the service.
- Babysitting, dogsitting or housesitting is typically not service unless it is a response to a medical emergency or an extreme situation.
- Yard work or shoveling snow is not service unless the person for whom you are working cannot shovel or mow the yard himself or herself due to old age or disability.
- Any activity that earns money that benefits an organization that is a for-profit business such as a club sports team, a for-profit medical center, or restaurant is not service. Anytime you assist at a fundraiser, inquire where the money is going and whether it is going to a non-profit organization or a private person who needs assistance (i.e. for medical bills).
Common Examples of Accepted and Declined Service
Hours accepted: Working at a fundraising event for a charity, non-profit organization, or person in need
Hours declined: Working at a fundraising event to pay for your soccer team’s upcoming tournament
Hours accepted: Working after school in the office of a charity or other non-profit organization
Hours declined Working free instead of taking a paycheck at your after-school job
Hours accepted: Mowing the lawn for your handicapped neighbor
Hours declined: Mowing the lawn for your parents or another family member
Hours accepted: Time spent working at an overnight service project
Hours declined: Time spent sleeping or in recreation at an overnight project
Finally, while we do accept service hours from students’ work with organizations such as Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, House programs, Tolton Service Days, and National Honor Society, not all activities done with those organizations will count as service according to the definition of service as fulfilling some basic human need.
Recording of Service Hours
Students are to use the MobileServe app to document service hours and submit them for verification. Submitted service hours will be reviewed, and approved hours will be updated on or by September 15, November 15, February 15, April 15, and June 15.
Lack of Completed Service – Consequences
Students who do not meet their service requirement for an academic year before September 15 of the following year will be ineligible to participate in extra-curricular activities (including summer leagues and camps) until the required hours are submitted, verified, and approved. Students who turn in their hours may regain eligibility to participate in extra-curricular activities only when hours are updated (based on the scheduled “Recording of Service Hours”.
Hours required are:
- Sophomores: 20 hours by September 15 of school year
- Juniors: 40 hours by September 15 of current year
- Seniors: 60 hours by September 15 of current year
All service must be completed by the end of the First Semester Senior year. In order to have Senior Privilege a student must have 60 hours reviewed and approved hours by September 15; and 80 hours reviewed and approved by February 15.
Students who do not meet their service requirement for an academic year before the second semester final exams begin will be ineligible to participate in extra-curricular activities (including summer leagues and camps) until the required hours are submitted, verified, and approved.