Service Learning Group Highlights

Like most previously in-person programs, most of Sage’s Service Learning groups have had a multitude of obstacles to overcome this year. However, Service Learning has proven to be an extremely valuable experience for students that builds on itself throughout their four years of high school, and Sage was determined to find a way to continue Service Learning this year and preserve its continuity. 

One awesome group that exemplifies the hard work students and faculty have been devoting to Service Learning is Prosthetics. 

“In collaboration with the E-NABLE online group, Prosthetics provides free 3D-printed prosthetics for both kids and adults in our community who don’t have access to traditional prosthetics,” senior Nico Luo said.

Prosthetics is unique in that in order to participate in it, students must be enrolled in the Sage Connected 3D Design, Modeling and Fabrication course, which works in tandem with the Service Learning group. But because both the course and the Service Learning program typically utilize the school’s 3D printers, the teacher in charge, Mrs. Lerch, had to invent some creative work-arounds.

“We were able to secure a really good deal financially on 3D printers students could optionally purchase to use at home, which about two thirds of the students proceeded to do,” Mrs. Lerch said.

Students were then divided into groups to work on individuals’ prosthetics, and each group had at least one student with a printer. 

“There were a lot of logistics involved with transferring tools and filament from school and 3D printed parts that different students had, which required a lot of coordination,” Mrs. Lerch said. 

“I really want to thank Mrs. Lerch for organizing this group. She has given myself and many other students the opportunity to use 3D printing to help people, and the whole experience has been very inspiring,” Luo said.

The group is now developing prosthetics for six new recipients, which should be ready for delivery by the end of March.

Another Service Learning group that has tirelessly worked throughout the year to serve the local community is the Music to Heal group. Although it is a small group composed of five students, the group has so far achieved outstanding goals. Usually, when there are no COVID restrictions, the group goes to assisted living facilities to perform for the elders. In other words, they bring the concerts to the elders who cannot leave the facilities due to health concerns. But why did the current members join the group?

Junior David Zhu, a cellist, has always looked for an opportunity to expand his musical experience whether through large orchestras or small ensembles. “Music to Heal adds a whole new dimension to my exploration of music,” Zhu said. The performance the group does are undoubtedly incomparable to the grandiose orchestral performances at large concert halls, but this new experience gives students a different perspective on performing. 

“Especially in classical music, we sometimes focus on the technicalities so much that we forget about the crucial element inherent to all performances—the audience,” Zhu said.

 For the students, participation in this group has become a once in a lifetime learning experience. 

“Having the opportunity to perform for seniors who more than ever needs the community’s support really gives a lot of previously unfound meaning and purpose to my music making,” Zhu said.

So far this year, the Music to Heal SL group has created performance videos to send to the facilities. Especially today when assisted living facility residents lack contact with the outside world, this program allows for elders to connect with the world one more time through music.