For students attending Meridian Technology Center, the last two years haven’t just been about what they get from coming to class. It’s also been about what they give.
As part of the school’s Citizenship-Ready endorsement, students at Meridian have an opportunity to be recognized for their contributions to the community. During their time at Tech, over 90 students documented more than 2,300 community service hours.
“When students attend Meridian, we want to help them be prepared for life,” said Jeanie Zagar, Executive Director, Career Planning/Career Development. “We focus on the academic success that will prepare them to enter the workforce or college through Career-Ready and College-Ready Credentials, and we also emphasize the difference they can make in the community through service.”
Stillwater students Karen Taylor and Emmaline Dethloff earned the Citizenship-Ready credential based on their commitment to community service while at Tech. Taylor accounted for 49 hours of documented volunteerism and Dethloff tracked 20 hours for the additional designation.
The impact of COVID-19 prevented many non-profits and social service agencies from coordinating their traditional community service projects. Still, students like Taylor and Dethloff helped when and where they could to support causes related to their career training and with agencies making an impact in their communities.
“We found ways to impact people from a distance,” Taylor said. “We certainly had to change the ways we were able to volunteer, but just knowing that we were still able to help is what mattered.”
Much of Taylor’s service hours were spent preparing meals for a men’s prayer breakfast that is offered through her church. She and Dethloff also spent time sorting food and organizing boxes at Our Daily Bread, a food and resource center that is dedicated to fighting hunger in Payne County. They both also volunteered at Pink Out Week, a week of service and fundraising for cancer research the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation.
The Biomedical Sciences students both indicated the credential wasn’t the motivation for their service hours – it was the idea of giving back to the place they call home.
“It’s not possible for us to know everyone in the community and what needs they might have, but we’re trying to do our part to help make Stillwater a better place,” explained Dethloff.
Some of the other local agencies that benefited from Meridian student volunteers include the Oklahoma Blood Institute, Lions Meadows of Hope, Oklahoma Mission of Mercy and the Red Cross.
Stillwater students Emmaline Dethloff, left, and Karen Taylor, right, are two of more than 90 Meridian graduates to participate in community service projects throughout their time at Tech.