By Caitlin Marsch, Current Staff
For Serenity Krueger, trying to make a change went beyond volunteering.
Last week the West Bend West High School senior created an online petition directed at the WBHS administration asking that students who have 100 or more documented volunteer hours be honored with cords of recognition at graduation. So far, the petition has garnered over 800 signatures and the online response has been overwhelmingly positive.
Krueger says she was inspired while pondering her own graduation.
“I was thinking, I have over 300 hours of volunteer service with the school,” Krueger said. “There’s kids with this many (hours) and they’re not getting the recognition they should be getting.”
When Krueger first came up with the idea, she presented it to Patricia McIntyre, a district instructional specialist, where it was relayed to Lois Pellegrini, a high school counselor. The idea eventually made it to administration. However, it didn’t get the green light.
“One of the things that was said is that graduation is about recognizing academic achievement,” McIntyre said.
Other reasons for saying ‘no’ were also presented.
“They said it would be unfair for the kids this year because they wouldn’t have the same opportunities to earn those hundred hours,” Krueger said.
Ralph Schlass, the West High principal, was unavailable for comment.
Even after the request was denied by administration, Krueger didn’t quit. The petition, titled “Allow volunteer cords at graduation,” was created on the website change.org, where it gathered over 800 signatures in a week.
“I got motivated to just keep pushing,” Krueger said.
“I got motivated to just keep pushing.”
– Serenity Krueger, West senior
So far, the attention the petition has received has been encouraging.
“A lot of kids I talk to have been like ‘Yeah, I totally think so,’” Krueger said. “I’ve only had one or two other people that were kind of negative in their responses. Otherwise, it’s been totally positive.”
The comments posted on the petition reflect the positive response.
“So proud of the kids who take the time to volunteer!,” signer Denita Espitia said. “They should be recognized.”
Another signer, Torian Stuth, commented, “I think it is a fantastic way to promote more volunteering among high school students and produce lifelong humanitarians!”
Despite the large support, McIntyre recognizes that there is opposition to the petition.
“One of the arguments that people make is that people will only volunteer to earn a cord, and then that’s not the spirit of volunteerism,” she said.
McIntyre is unsure if the change will be made after the petition is submitted.
“I am not sure if that is something that’s going to happen,” McIntyre said. “I think discussion is something that needs to continue to take place.”
(Image: Serenity Krueger’s petition at change.org. Screen shot taken Tuesday by Caitlin Marsch, Current Staff.)