Junior Valeria Luquin and her mother, Lorena Luquin, volunteered at the Self-Realization Fellowship Books & Gifts shop in Encinitas, Calif. in September 2020. (Photo courtesy of Valeria Luquin)

Coronavirus Coverage

NHS continues to help communities despite pandemic restrictions

The COVID-19 pandemic has not stopped Cassia Ramelb from volunteering for causes ranging from climate change to public health and racking up over a hundred volunteer hours throughout high school. “I feel like volunteering is my way to give back and make change where I see fit,” Ramelb said. “I feel like, rather than just…
<a href="https://highschool.latimes.com/author/delilahbrumer/" target="_self">Delilah Brumer</a>

Delilah Brumer

April 30, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has not stopped Cassia Ramelb from volunteering for causes ranging from climate change to public health and racking up over a hundred volunteer hours throughout high school.

“I feel like volunteering is my way to give back and make change where I see fit,” Ramelb said. “I feel like, rather than just reposting something [on social media], I feel it’s more meaningful and more impactful if I hands-on put my energy somewhere. It’s very rewarding.”

Ramelb is this year’s President of the Daniel Pearl Magnet High School chapter of the National Honor Society. NHS is a national service and leadership organization, with more than one million estimated participants worldwide. The DPMHS class of 2019 started the DPMHS chapter in order to provide volunteer and academic opportunities to students and the club has been actively running since then.

The club requires all of its 38 members to complete either 15 or 20 hours of volunteer work per year, depending on how long they’ve been in the club. Many students volunteer in order to give back to their communities and show colleges their passions.

These students, made up of sophomores, juniors and seniors, are finding creative ways to fulfill this requirement and overcome the difficulties of not being in-person. The club sponsors are Magnet Coordinator Leah Pevar and English teacher Cynthia Barry Wald.

“Coming up with ways for students to earn [volunteer] hours has been challenging,” Pevar said. “Even just having meetings has been challenging.”

Volunteer opportunities are being provided to students in the club through school events, such as the Meet-the-Magnet nights. As well as through Schoology posts with volunteer ideas.

“I would say (COVID-19) has made [volunteering] more difficult,” Ramelb said. “I’ve had to navigate more online activities and it’s really hard to get out there when you’re kind of just away from other people.”

While COVID-19 has made volunteering more challenging, many students are making the best of the situation. For example, junior Hayden Brewer has been working on a project against racism for his English class.

“I just want to help people,” Brewer said. “I’ve actually grown accustomed to distance learning.”

The last meeting of the club for the year is tentatively scheduled for late April. In the meantime, the club members will continue making an impact in their communities.

“I’m really proud that NHS has carried on,” Pevar said. “I’m really glad that they are still going strong.”

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