Cry of the Hawk

The student news site of North Harford High School

Cry of the Hawk

Cry of the Hawk


Should the northern Harford County area have its own 'snow zone' for inclement weather days?

  • YES (92%, 60 Votes)
  • NO (8%, 5 Votes)

Total Voters: 65

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Stuffing backpacks for student projects;

English department earns service hours for school

     Every year, students participate in a service learning project that is created by different departments in the school so students can earn service hours to graduate. This year, the English department sponsored a school supplies drive for those in need. 

     English teacher Michael James, who is also the head of the English department, explains the concept of the service learning project. “Harford County puts a department in charge of students’ volunteer hours; it’s a state mandate for students to graduate.” Students need at least 75 hours of service hours to graduate, according to the Maryland State Board of Education.

     Since it was the English department’s year, “We [teachers] built [the project] into the curriculum,” says James. English teacher Ms. Kathleen Lemke came up with this idea where students helped to stuff a backpack with school supplies. James comments that “it was really well organized and simple to do, which I think made it a better success.” Lemke says, “We decided since we are going to be in charge of the service learning, it needs to be tangible and real, which also meets the service requirements.” 

     In total, 88 backpacks were filled. Lemke says that “those backpacks will first go to the donation food  pantry recipients.” Spanish teacher Ms. Jean Buttitta runs the pantry, where there are backpacks or bags filled with food that are provided to families in need. Lemke continues, “if there are any left over, they will go to NH’s Care Closet, near the nurses office and the library, for NH students to use if they are in need.”

     James mentions that, “This project is built into the school and it is a school-wide project. Every student gets credit for it,” which includes students who don’t participate by bringing in supplies. “These projects have been going on since middle school, so by the end of your high school career, you will already have enough service hours to graduate.” He also mentions a previous service project they did a couple years back. “We did book trailer videos for the library. However, I don’t know how many kids actually saw them, whereas this project has a direct impact for kids who need the supplies.”

     James also mentions the importance of service hours for people in general. According to, volunteering provides a sense of purpose and builds empathy. Working with others in need can enhance a person’s happiness and feeling of being loved. 

     Lemke also brings to light another part of the school she wishes would be a good way for faculty and students to help each other and those in need. North Harford has its own Care Closet for students who need it. Lemke says “I think that the Care Closet we have here is very important and something that should play a larger role in students and teachers lives. I would love to see faculty and students donate nonperishable foods to those who need meals over the weekend and don’t have access to them.”

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