"Mahatma Gandhi once said, 'The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others,'" said Old Greenwich Principal Patricia Raneri.
Students, teachers, and community members gathered Tuesday evening to celebrate the 2014 Community Service Awards. Established by Ernest Fleishman, former Superintendent of Schools, the awards aim to bring to light students' service in the community.
"When I see signs that say 'Greenwich, Home of Sports' Champions,' I say to myself, when are we going to honor and put up on a pedestal another set of champions who really serve their community?" said Fleishman. "And that was the background for the establishment for these awards. What you put up on a pedestal and respect is what you get."
And current Superintendent of Schools William McKersie is working hard to make the district known for its service.
"I want to set the tone early for our students so that we will be a district known for caring about each other, student to student, adult to student, student to adult, and adult to adult," said McKersie.
And community service is a very tangible embodiment of caring. Elementary students received the award on behalf of the work the entire school is doing, middle school students received the award to represent their own work within the school, and the six high school awards were given in honor of the students individualized work.
"We are seeking to instill service and provide opportunities for our children to become active and contributing members of their classrooms, our school communities, and the global community," said Principal Raneri.
The ultimate award of the night and the only monetary gift, the Fleishman Service Award, was given to Greenwich High School Senior John Clarke.