Serve ATL Elective Faces Unexpected Challenges

Pace Pequignot

The class ServeATL, a class in which students learn about important issues in the Atlanta community and ways those problems can be addressed, has had to completely rethink their curriculum this year. The students in this class are committed to solving some of Atlanta’s problems, regardless of the obstacles in place. This class was built around the interaction between people; however, this year has been very different. “Last year, we took a lot of field trips; we took one every two weeks in this class,” says Hartley Glass, the teacher of Serve ATL. “When we weren’t going out into the community, we had someone coming in, into the [classroom] community.” 

The class would usually solve problems focusing on the City of Atlanta, but this year they found solutions for both Atlanta and COVID-related issues. “In a non-COVID year, we would be out in the city trying to figure out what are some of the biggest problems facing the city of Atlanta and what are the ways the city is responding to them and how can we help address them,” says Glass. “With COVID-19 we can’t go anywhere, and we can’t have people come talk to us, so it’s more learning about the problems and trying to find ways that we can serve differently, like through fundraising, advocacy, and education. I would say we still met all of the goals, we just had to do it differently.” The class utilized Zoom, using the platform as a method of communicating with people outside of the Westminster community. They discussed issues from poverty to food insecurity. “Ideally, I would have liked to of had face-to-face interaction with the community we are serving; the actual service was less hands-on than I would have liked for it to be.”

Serve ATL clearly furthers the school’s vision of itself. Keith Evans, in his Welcoming Wildcats Back to Campus announcement, stated, Our success in creating a safe environment for our whole school will depend on values that have always undergirded our community: selflessness, taking care of one another, and good leadership by everyone who counts themselves a Wildcat.” Serve ATL upholds these values, helping others in need. This class just shows us that when the issue hits closer to home, a solution can always be found.