What Gives You Meaning and Purpose?

Why Community Service Matters
A high-quality education is a gift that not everyone receives. Those fortunate enough to be able to spend our high school years engaged in this kind of deep and rich learning have a responsibility to think about what such an experience means. One of the ways we ask our students to do that at Gann is by challenging students to engage in community service. 

In keeping with the fundamental Jewish values of gemilut hasadim (acts of loving kindness) and tikkun olam (improving the world), Gann Academy consciously strives to connect midrash (intellectual creativity) and ma'aseh (responsible action).

Gann Gets Out — Serving Community

Everyone at Gann—students and faculty—takes part in community service throughout the year. As a result, the school has special partnerships with many area service organizations. 

These organizations include nursing homes, food banks, soup kitchens, nursery schools, day care centers, community farms, and transitional homes. They look forward to our regular visits and appreciate what Gann's community contributes.

Ninth graders participate in one planned community service days, often with faculty and staff members. They prepare for these service days in their advisory groups and by researching a social or community issue. A typical service day may involve serving a meal at a soup kitchen, cleaning up a park, or speaking with homeless guests. We want our students to understand the complex social issues of the world.

Sophomores, juniors, and seniors are required to spend 18 hours each year volunteering. They choose the organizations or issues that are most important to them and decide where they want to make a difference. 

Many students report becoming more deeply engaged in issues of social justice as a result of their service. Most also develop practical skills and gain some valuable work experience. And most will tell you that service has been a major influence on their life goals.

Glimpse of Gann

List of 5 news stories.

  • Gann Student Testifies Before Legislative Committee

    Sara Shapiro '20 and her eleventh-grade History teacher, Alex Green, were on Beacon Hill last week, testifying before a legislative committee in support of a bill that would open the historical records of people with disabilities.

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  • Exploration Week 2019

    At Gann, we are passionate about helping students explore learning that may not be possible in the four walls of a classroom. And so we craft hands-on learning opportunities each year in which Gann students cultivate awareness, curiosity, and respect for the world around them.

    Enter Exploration Week, a weeklong adventure which took place last week that lets students immerse themselves in a new place and topic.

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  • Politics and the State of the Students

    An Op-Ed by Leora Soibelman '21 published in the Shevuon Hatichon student newspaper.

    The word "politics" produces an eye-roll every time I say it. 
    That reaction reveals a larger problem in our society: people are wary of government. An institution that is meant to help us and represent our beliefs has become the thing that Americans want to talk least about. And that attitude adds to the cycle that got it there: if people don’t believe in government, it stops working.

    One step at a time, I’m trying to change that.
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  • New Composting Initiative Launched

    Gann recently rolled out a new composting initiative to further promote sustainability on campus and to reduce our ecological footprint. The composting project is spearheaded by Biology Teacher Emily Hart, Jewish Life Fellow Noah Weinberg, and Director of Food Services Steve Smith.
    As part of the effort, the Servery has switched from disposable cups, plates, and utensils to compost-approved alternatives, and replaced the cafeteria trash bins with new 64-gallon compost bins. “Students now toss their food scraps and tableware directly into the compost container,” says Hart. “Each week, our partner, Black Earth Compost, comes and replaces the bins with empty ones.”

    This initiative is expected to keep more than 6,500 gallons of waste out of the landfill each year.
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  • Exploring Diversity

    In December, a delegation from Gann joined more than 6,000 independent school students and educators at the 30th annual People of Color Conference and the Student Diversity Leadership Conference hosted in Anaheim, California. The conference, run by the National Association of Independent Schools, focused on improving the interracial, interethnic, and intercultural climate at schools across the country.

    "The conference was an outstanding experience," said sophomore Naomi Ravel, "You meet people and learn everything about them—from their name to how they were raised. The most meaningful part of the whole trip was knowing you're loved by everyone around you even if you [just met them]." Ravel described the content: "We learned about awareness, social justice, and human rights, and how to stand up for ourselves." Senior Alyssa Block said learning about others backgrounds and life experiences was "powerful and moving".
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