SM East upperclassmen spend day off volunteering through SHARE Senior Service Day

A group of SM East seniors arranged a “field day” for special education students as part of the annual SHARE Senior Service Day.

Wednesday was a national testing day for many high school students, but since seniors don’t have to sit for their exams, they technically had the day off.

That didn’t stop hundreds of them from convening at SM East yesterday morning, though. Instead of staying in bed, nearly the entire senior class gathered at the school and then fanned out across the metro area to volunteer in service projects.

This is the fifth year seniors at the school have organized to spend the day giving back through SHARE, SM East’s student-led volunteer organization — and it’s already become a beloved tradition. Students describe it as the “happiest day of senior year.”

Senior Brigid Wentz had two older brothers go through the school and had watched them check off senior year milestones. As she helped oversee a set of field day activities she and fellow senior Molly Hogan had organized for special needs students, she said the SHARE Senior Service Day has become a rite of passage at the school.

“Everything’s coming to an end,” she said. “I’d heard so many seniors talk about how fun this day was and now it’s here for us, too.”

Hogan said she couldn’t imagine a better way to spend the service day than working with fellow students.

“I want to be a teacher when I’m older, so I’ve always loved working with special needs kids,” she said.

Though the field day activity was held on the SM East campus, the vast majority of students left the building. They participated in around 30 different volunteer projects across the metro, from Harvesters and the Kansas City Community Gardens to Jewish Family Services and the Ronald McDonald House.

The service day culminates with a picnic that was held at Harmon Park.