Come graduation day, many soon-to-be grads are adorned with a multitude of cords. Cords are a wearable representation of the work a student has done across their four years. Green Cord is one of the many cords offered at Timber Creek, and can be earned by having at least 100 volunteer hours over the span of a year. While it used to be solely 100 hours, from any location, no excess stipulations, it has now been switched to 25 hours with KellerISD, 40 community hours, from at least three different locations, and if that sounds tedious, that’s because it is.
Previously, Green Cord was a seamless process. There was a slip of green paper in which the student would log their hours and have the sponsor of whatever event they were participating in sign off on it with the date of which the student volunteered. The sponsor of Green Cord at the time, Brian Day would make sure there was no “foul play” with the logged hours, and that was that. The student would receive their cord, no ifs, ands, or buts.
During the 16-17 school year, Green Cord switched to an online form, called “x2VOL”. Green Cord hopefuls now sign up on this website, and log their hours there. One may think this makes the process much simpler, no more worries about losing or accidentally damaging a log of all of your hard work, and maybe it would have been easier if there wasn’t a new plethora of standards piled on top of what was supposed to be a more convenient situation for students. Hours must be approved by the new head coordinator of Green Cord, Stacy Cleveland as they are logged. This wouldn’t be a massive deal, but many students have concerns, because some of their hours have not been approved since the beginning of school. They wait anxiously to find out whether their hours will be counted or not, because if their hours are denied, they have to start from scratch and rush to meet the semester requirement of 40 hours.
Timber Creek students do multiple extracurricular activities, and 100 hours in one school year is already a lot to ask for without all of the newly-added hoops to jump through. If a student doesn’t feel like dedicating 25 hours of their time toward Keller ISD because they want to volunteer with organizations that resonate more with them, they should be allowed to do so, and be credited for all hours. If a student contributes 5 hours every Sunday to their church, or 3 hours a weekend to an animal shelter, they shouldn’t have half of their hours severed from their progress toward their cord. Students should not have to stray away from their passions in order to contribute 25 hours to a district which they already give approximately 40 hours of their time weekly. Students should not have to stop volunteering with something they believe matters because they have to volunteer with two more places or else their hours have gone to waste.
Another catch is, volunteering through any other clubs or organizations doesn’t necessarily count towards the cord either. Cleveland has to be asked first, and there is no set system on what hours can be approved through the clubs, and which cannot. Students should be able to willingly volunteer their time to, and through whatever they choose, and know it’s black and white. There should be no grey area. Having no set rules or standards allows for instances of favoritism, which is not fair, considering every student working towards their green cord is taking time out of their busy schedule to give to their community.
In addition, another Keller ISD high school does not have similar stipulations. Keller High school still sticks to the previous regime of 100 hours from any location. This inconsistency allows for many problems. It paints the facade that other high schoolers in the district are more selfless than Timber Creek students when in reality, the stipulations are simply more strict for Timber Creek. Timber Creek students should be rewarded for their community service at the same level as their district-wide counterparts.
Green Cord requirements should be reverted to the original system of solely 100 hours, no excess standards to meet, and no unnecessary obstacles. This makes things less tedious for Green Cordees and Cleveland as well. It allows students to give back at their leisure, and makes community service a self-fulfilling experience, rather than a chore.