PHS Writing Contest Winners

contributed by Mrs. Kellie Sanders, English Department


Mrs. Kellie Sanders recently challenged her eleventh grade AP English students to write an Op-Ed essay on “The Importance of Community Service”. The essays she received were incredible and she would like to thank all the amazing writers in her 1st-period class, many of the writing entries were great examples of stellar writing. The top three winners of our Op-Ed Writing Contest are Viviana Verduzco, Aaron Saldana, and Emily Moreno. Congratulations to all the winners!


Changing Lives through Community Service

by Viviana Verduzco

Community service, whether it may be helping young kids, animals, or older people, offers many benefits that can affect unexpected aspects of our lives. One of the most popular community service opportunities for teenagers is mentoring children or younger teenagers through clubs, sports teams, and other extracurriculars. These mentorship opportunities benefit both parties; the mentors and the individuals on the other end. Teenagers feel a sense of accomplishment while sharpening their communication and problem-solving skills. The children are offered a chance to connect with older and experienced individuals and a secure outlet where they can focus their energy instead of resorting to vices. These outlets include sports, homework, exercise, fine arts, and more. Another beneficial community service opportunity is volunteering at a dog shelter. Depression develops primarily in shelter dogs, thanks to their living conditions and lack of interaction. By walking dogs, petting them, or reading to them, you offer them the comfort they lack and the sense of joy they so desperately need; shelter dogs often pass away from mental health conditions, weight problems, euthanasia, and overall space problems. According to Taylor Covington, “Every year, 3.3 million dogs enter shelters, and 670,000 are euthanized.” Most of these dogs suffered without experiencing interaction or joy because of their living situations. Although it is easy to say, “Community service is a waste of time,” “I’m busy,” or “I’m not getting paid,” we must look at the bigger picture; we are changing lives. We provide many with love, hope, and a second chance.


Looking Up and Around

by Aaron Saldana

Instead of looking down, we should begin to look up and around. The rapid rise of technology has greatly changed the world in the last 20 years. Technology’s influence on the younger population in the world has added value to community service. With community service now becoming a requirement, does the younger population feel some sense of gratitude? As of 2020, 95% of teens have a cell phone, this creates an individual barrier that distances them from their community. The fact community service has become a requirement is good because it has a domino effect on teenagers and the community around them. Their involvement helps the community change and evolve. With that being said, teens involved in community service opportunities make them feel accomplished, which I can say from personal experience. Also, their involvement and sense of gratitude when helping others only benefits their community in the future to come.


The Social Network

by Emily Moreno

Why is volunteer work necessary to do in high school? I am a high school student at Porterville High School and in the Health Pathway. In this pathway, community service hours are required to be a pathway completer when it is your time to graduate. No one specifies why community service is necessary, and I didn’t understand why it was necessary at all, not until I started doing it. It is logical to think that the purpose of community service is to give back to your community in any way possible, but that is not it at all; community service can be giving back to your community and benefiting the volunteer for networking. For instance, one community event I participated in was selling at our high school football games; it was something effortless and straightforward I could’ve done to get hours. What I didn’t expect to get out of it was opportunities not just for me but for my mother. She has a small business selling traditional Mexican food; she would sometimes donates her time to make this type of food for football game sales. Well, it turned out one of the customers that night loved it, and I learned how to network with this person and got my mother a new customer simultaneously. This community service not only got me my hours but the experience of being able to socialize, practice networking, and prepare me for future situations. So, if you are thinking about community service being a waste of time, re-think it; it opens opportunities, creates connections, and prepares you for the future.