Last spring, students and faculty gathered for a community service- themed school meeting in which Director of Community Service Bernie Baker announced the recipients of the Workman Grants and Cost Award. Sixteen students received the Workman Grant to support their own community service projects in their hometown. The Cost Award is a $2500 grant in honor of Charles Piper Cost, a Deerfield alum who died in his second year of college at Williams College. The grant is supported by his friends and family.
Generally, the selection committee awards the Cost Award each summer to one student who has created an organization that will last even after the student has graduated and moved on to college. This year, the Cost Award was granted to Andy Harris ’10.
Harris worked on his project with Katie Regan ’10 in Milford, New Hampshire. Harris and Regan directed a children’s musical, Seussical the Musical Junior, with three other high school students at a local boys’ and girls’ Club.
“We did everything from costumes and lights to props and budget planning. We had to rent mikes and pay for everything else in the production,” explained Regan. “The grant helped so much. Without the Cost Award, it wouldn’t have been possible for five high school students to pull it off.”
The application for the Cost Award is essentially the same as that for a Workman Grant. All interested students apply for a grant; however, students must specify their interest in the Cost Award.
The application process for both grants was extensive. “You have to submit a plan of what you intend for your project to accomplish,” said Harris. “I included information about the show, who I planned on having help with it, the rehearsal schedule, a brief budget, and many other details.”
A selection committee, including Dr. Baker and Associate Head of School and Director of College Advising Martha Lyman, read all the applications and decided which projects to award grants towards.
Despite the hard work that went into this project, including tech week when the high school students spent hours painting the set and working out the lighting, they found their overall involvement to be a lot of fun.
The experience of working with children, Regan stressed, “was absolutely incredible. A lot of the kids had never done theatre before and it was nice to see all these talented kids experience theatre for the first time. It was very rewarding.”
Regan particularly enjoyed working backstage, adding, “I felt almost more nervous than the kids, but I was so excited to see them perform.”
Harris echoed her sentiments, commenting that, “It was great just to work with the kids. They’re all pretty adorable. By the time they get to actually perform, it is so cool to see them on stage and be excited about what they are doing.”
Click here to read students’ journals about their community service projects.