From RWL hour requirements to NHS’s Week of Service, Bedford High School has always emphasized the importance of community service. This year, BHS is extending their commitment to community service through the Community Excellence Grant, an opportunity for one select Junior to design and implement their own community service project. What’s special about this Grant is that the chosen student will have complete financial backing from the BHS Alumni Association, in the form of $600, to carry out their project.
The Community Excellence Grant has been in the works at BHS for years with extensive conversations between the Alumni Association and the school administration. James Schappler, Alumni President and one of the main organizers of the Grant, described the hard work put into it as “[it] didn’t just spring up in a vacuum one day, like a cartoon bubble appearing over someone’s head… We have been talking for years about organizing something like this, and finally had the right team in place this year to make it a reality!”. Shappler’s connection to the grant is deeply personal; as a senior, he organized the Joseph Fong Scholarship in memory of his friend and classmate who passed away from cancer. Shappler described Fong as “a genuinely great person… He cared about giving back to his community and school and cared deeply about each person who entered his life” and explained that he and other BHS Alumni wanted to “embody [Fong’s] spirit and find ways to give back to the community”. The Community Excellence Grant was the best way for them to do this and immortalizes the legacy of Joseph Fong, a beloved member of the BHS community.
Because this project is for Juniors only, class president Noel Desmarais and the other officers are working with Shappler to spread the word about the grant. Desmarais commented on why he believes that his classmates should take advantage of it: “it’s a really great opportunity because it makes students the leaders of the project which is something that we don’t often get a chance to do”. He also explained that he loved that the grant is open-ended and “if someone is passionate about something there’s definitely a [community service] project they could do relating to that passion”.
According to Shappler, this grant will be offered every year until, as he put it, “the day the robots eventually win and overtake us”. He also wants to expand it to more and more students every year in order to help the community even more. Both Shappler and Desmarais believe that the grant will do a lot of good for the community and offer one deserving Junior the perfect opportunity to implement their vision and have a positive impact on others. As Shappler said, “I’m a firm believer that when empowered with the necessary funds and mentorship, high school students can do some unreal things”.
If you want to apply for the Community Excellence Grant, go to the alumni tab on the BHS website. Fill out and print the BCE Grant Application then give it to Mrs. Woods. The deadline for applying is April 6, 2018.