8th Grade Students Participate in the Annual Seattle Challenge
This week, one hundred and six of our 8th grade students completed the Seattle Challenge – an important capstone experience of Middle School at Seattle Academy. Designed over twenty-five years ago, the Seattle Challenge is a three-day urban retreat that explores the realities of people who experience poverty and homelessness in the city of Seattle. The retreat is an opportunity for students to step out into the world and see it from a different perspective.
First and foremost, Seattle Challenge is a service trip. This year, students volunteered at forty-five different organizations all over Seattle that provide different services to the more vulnerable populations of our community. The students’ days were spent navigating their way through the city then volunteering at supervised work projects with local social service agencies, hearing from agency speakers, and reflecting on the experiences as a group. During their three days, students ate a combination of food served at the organizations where they volunteered and sack meals. At night, they slept in secured spaces and floors of partner organizations.
Highlights of their service work included sorting and preparing nearly eighteen thousand pounds of food for shelters and meal programs for Food Lifeline; cleaning bathrooms and serving meals at an emergency homeless shelter; and sorting donated clothing, books, and toys for Mary's Place.
Seattle Academy is committed to providing opportunities for our students to contribute to the larger community as they move through the school’s program towards adulthood. Seattle Challenge supports our students’ development as members of the SAAS community and our larger community and helps foster a sense of independence. The experience also encourages students to respond creatively and concretely to the demands of citizenship in a diverse and changing society.