St. Mark’s believes the goal of building leadership skills and character can be achieved by ensuring that community service is central to the mission of the school. The School develops the habit of community involvement to awaken concern for those coping with hardship and to instill a lifelong commitment to service and advocacy. A meaningful program of mandatory community service can raise social awareness, develop the ability to communicate meaningfully and respectfully with all individuals, and teach sound leadership values and skills.
St. Mark’s distinguishes between community service and charity by emphasizing the educational, person-to-person nature of community service. Such service enables our students to play a beneficial role in the Dallas community, as well as in agencies serving special needs within the city. Students acquire knowledge and deepen understanding of their community through presentation of experts, direct observation, and personal experience.
Upper School students are required to complete 15 hours of service per year. These hours may be all completed during the first trimester or submitted in increments of 5 hours minimum for each trimester. Middle School students will participate in a class project in the Spring or the Fall. Since the goal of the program is to foster empathy and an appreciation for a broad range of backgrounds and experiences and to encourage students to step out of their traditional daily interactions, students will not receive community service credit hours for service at a private camp, church, synagogue, or mosque, music/dance school, etc. unless they are directly involved in outreach through their organization.