Community service is just one important way Harding Academy students learn how to think critically and independently for a lifetime.
Community service is just one important way Harding Academy students learn how to think critically and independently for a lifetime. When kindergartners make cards for National Nurses Week, they learn to appreciate those who devote their lives to the care of others. In partnership with Metro Police, students take the next step and learn what it means to care for others who live under very challenging conditions. First graders donate teddy bears for police to have in squad cars for children in distress; second graders donate toys for the department’s drive for under-served families. Further community partnerships with Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital teach third and fourth graders empathy for families whose children have serious health conditions.
By the time students enter middle school at Harding, they have had many experiences serving others in the Greater Nashville community, and are consequently prepared for service in various Metro Nashville neighborhoods. They read to students in Metro schools and at St. Mary Villa’s pre-school; they serve at Renewal House and Feed the Children; and they participate in beautification efforts at Radnor Lake and on the Cumberland River.
The Cumberland River project partnership began three years ago. It came about after students became aware of the nonprofit called Save the Cumberland, formed by Vic Scoggins, a U.S. Navy veteran. Decades ago Scoggins had became interested in the environmental degradation he observed on the Cumberland River. To raise awareness, he swam 700 miles down the Cumberland to draw attention to the many problems one might observe in its waters and along its banks. Captain Vic purchased an old Navy vessel, with the intention of using it as a platform for research and education on the Cumberland River. But, preparing the boat to fulfill his dream has proved to be a long, arduous task, which is where Harding students have been so helpful.
They've washed windows and walls, polished brass, and scraped and painted various surfaces. It is their hope that one day, they, too, will participate in saving the Cumberland.