Upper School

Making a Difference

CCA is committed to educating our students in our classrooms and beyond. That is why we encourage their participation in community service.  Volunteering their time to make the community a better place is a great benefit to our students—both academically and emotionally. Community service increases self-confidence, teaches life skills, enhances social skills, and teaches responsibility. Volunteering provides students with insights into issues facing our community and inspires a life-long commitment to service. 

List of 6 items.

  • Water Day

     
     
    For four years, CCA Upper School students and faculty have taken a full day to grapple with water quality as an essential global and local challenge. We’ve come to call this annual event Water Day.
    Goals of Water Day:
    • Develop understanding about local & global water quality issues
    • Promote place-based citizen science
    • Promote interdisciplinary, experiential learning
    • Expose students to the professional examples of local leaders in politics, science, non-profit organizations and journalism
    Water Day is a time where we put normal classes on hold to learn all about water issues first-hand. This extension to classroom work brings a reality to water-related issues, which we hope inspires students to want to go back out, learn more and even pursue a career in the environmental field.

    The focus for 2018 was on Cape Cod rivers with the purpose of educating our students about relevant and important water-related issues and giving them authentic hands-on experiences by going into the field local nonprofit and scientific organizations.  

    Water Day 2018 (April 25th) began with an opening activity at CCA, giving students a common sense view of the big picture regarding rivers.  They viewed RIVERBLUE, a documentary film that examines the destruction of our rivers from a pollutive industry – fashion – and the pollution’s effect on humanity and the solutions that inspire hope for the future.

    They then welcomed Max Holmes, the deputy director and senior scientist at Woods Hole Research Center, who helped shift the students’ focus from global rivers to Cape rivers.
    The participating Cape Cod Academy students journeyed in three different groups to the Quashnet, Mashpee, and Coonamessett Rivers. They learned how to conduct water sampling techniques to detect how changes in the landscape drive changes in important physical and chemical indicators like pH and temperature, and how aquatic and coastal wildlife respond.

    The students also had the opportunity to learn about the Coonamessett River Restoration Project with Betsy Gladfelter, lead coordinator for the Coonamessett Heritage Trail Grant and River Restoration. The goal of this project is to restore the lower Coonamessett River by improving the health of the local watershed and river ecosystem, enhancing public access, and highlighting the rich diverse history of the area.

    After a morning on the rivers, the students held a follow-up discussion with an esteemed group of panelists that included:
    1. Brad Chase, Biologist, Mass. Division of Marine Fisheries
    2. Andrew Gottlieb, Executive Director Association to Preserve Cape Cod and Chair, Mashpee Board of Selectmen  
    3. Anya Suslova, Research Assistant, Woods Hole Research Center  
    The panel was moderated by student council president Mariah Van Sciver ’18.
     
    Previous Water Days 2015-2017
    • Water Day 2015: Access & Monitoring
    • Water Day 2016: Local Nitrogen Problems, Green Tech Solutions
    • Water Day 2017: Public Water Problems
  • Advocacy, Service & Social Entrepreneurship

    Goals of this program:
    • Promote engagement with social, political, and environmental concerns on the Cape, in the region and across the Globe.
    • Develop the habits of critical, compassionate, and responsible thinking so that students more readily “see” such issues and recognize that they should want to educate themselves and act in ways that are consistent with their priorities and values.
    • Teach students that they can use the skills of “Social Entrepreneurship” to do good while also delivering value and fun to their community.
    How Things Get Done in the Real World

    Resourcefulness. Being able to make a case. Aligning the interests of diverse stakeholders. Sustaining a commitment. Persevering in the face of challenges. Recognizing a need. Making disciplined choices. . . These are the skills and habits of people who make a difference in the world, people who get things done.

    When CCA or another school refers to its “service learning” curriculum or program, we indicate that we teach students not just the importance of volunteering, or even considering and serving the needs of others, but also reflecting on what is important to a person. We teach students to reflect on who one is in relationship to the world around them, and the strengths and opportunities each of them has. We also teach students to think critically about problems, what those problems stem from, and how different approaches might change the situation.

    In 2017 we committed to more actively developing advocacy and service as part of the habits and mindset of a CCA graduate.

    Among the activities under the umbrella of this initiative:
    • Water Day--an annual event to grapple with the importance of water quality on Cape Cod and the roles that businesses, government bodies, non-profits, and activists must each can play in solving complex problems
    • Our Community Service Organization, which dedicates over 500 hours per year to community needs
    • The Senior Service Learning Project--for over 20 years CCA seniors have channeled their talents and interests  into 80 hours of direct work with local not-for-profit organizations
    • Entrepreneurship seminars that teach skills that are equally applicable to social entrepreneurship as they are to building a business enterprise
    • Shelter from the Storm--a student-produced annual benefit concert that raises major funding each year to address a reserached humanitarian issue on the Cape
    • Hosting the Human Rights Academy that gathers high-school age students from across the Cape twice a year for training, problem-solving, and sharing of ideas and projects

    CCA isn’t training students for careers in not-for-profits, or teaching a certain political orientation, or suggesting that students need to commit their lives to community activism. But, local not-for-profits and local issues are a great laboratory for learning how things do or don’t get done in the world.

    CCA actively inspires students to consider others--to listen for their voices, to see their experiences--to respect others and the complexity of a world that resists simple solutions. We teach students that learning is edifying in itself but also prepares them to do and act, to lead and rally others, and find a better way. We are teaching them how to get things done...better.
  • Senior Service Learning Project

    Senior Service Projects: May 1- June 10

    Cape Cod Academy seniors dedicate the last four weeks of the school year to their individual service learning projects. The planning process for the projects begins in late winter when each senior develops goals based on their talents and interests and what they hope to contribute. The students then research local organizations, identify those that might be a good fit, set up interviews, and work out details for their service. Each student ultimately chooses a single local non-profit and contributes at least 80 hours over the four weeks of the project.

    During the four weeks of service, seniors are asked to write reflective essays and attend weekly meetings on campus to share their experiences. Seniors also honor their commitments to school teams, ensembles, rehearsals for the spring musical, and Advanced Placement exam preparation. The projects culminate during the first week in June with presentations to underclassmen and faculty.

    The service learning project gives seniors the opportunity to extend their learning into a workplace environment. It requires them to take ownership and to be responsible. It drives home the goal we have for our graduates: their educations prepare them to not only learn but to DO. . . to make a difference in the world.
  • Human Rights Academy

    In 2016, CCA became the new home of The Human Rights Academy, a county-wide force for educating and mobilizing student activists.  Nearly 100 students from member schools across the Cape meet twice each year to discuss the challenges of citizenship and how young people can make a positive impact on  their schools and communities.

    Each school team picks a project, executes it during the year, and then shares the results with all the member schools and local leaders in our spring meetings.  These projects have contributed to promoting anti-bullying legislation at the State House, funding safe water programs in the 3rd world , and supporting the local causes supported each year by CCA’s Shelter from the Storm benefit concerts--addressing opiod addiction, domestic violence, veteran homelessness, and food poverty.
  • Service Clubs

    Pink Ribbon
    We raise awareness and educate the community about Breast Cancer in hopes to help the fight against cancer. The club plans events throughout the year to raise money (bake sales, cancer walk, dance marathon, carnations, etc.). Donations and funds collected by our group support local organizations and the Cape Cod Women’s Cancer Prevention and Early Detection Fund.  Approximately 400 hours of service and fundraising per year. Open to students in grades 6-12.

    Community Service Organization
    Our purpose is to stimulate a desire among students to participate in community service, support community service efforts initiated by students and envelope the school community in such efforts.  Membership is open to all CCA students enrolled in grades 9 through 12. Acceptance into CSO requires a written application (obtained from the organization’s advisors) and a letter of intent. Membership is a year long commitment.  Members fulfilling one year’s worth of participation will take part in a public ceremony of recognition, will receive a cord for each year of participation, and will receive a notation on their transcripts signifying such involvement. Approximately 400 hours of service and fundraising per year.

    Human Rights Club
    Organizers of the Shelter Concert & Coffee Houses; approximately 500 hours of service and fundraising per year. The Shelter concert raises $10,000-$25,000 per year for a major local funding need. The Coffee Houses raise $500-$1000 each event for charities picked by the student body.

    Environmental Club
    Passionate about reducing waste, conserving energy, gardening, stopping climate change, clean water, and getting out into nature.  We are dedicated to having the “big kids” in the club mentor the “little kids” at CCA about nature. We try to think globally and act locally.
  • Shelter from the Storm & CCA Coffee Houses

    For 11 years, CCA students have produced an annual benefit concert to raise major funding ($10,000-$25,000) for a local cause. These concerts have raised over $125,000 in their first 10 years and earned 5 Congressional citations.
     
    An important part of the initiative is what the student organizers learn about a local humanitarian problem--its multiple causes, the people trying to address it, and the individual stories of local people affected. Students also learn a lot through the process of grant making, the process of reviewing many competing and worthy funding proposals and researching the likely impacts of the organizations and projects.

    CCA’s first Shelter concert fed the Noah Shelter for 4 months. Over the years, we have assisted the Veterans’ Outreach Center in Hyannis, Homeless not Hopeless Shelters, the Housing Assistance Corporation (HAC) and many other groups.

    Our goal is to tackle a significant portion or all of a given humanitarian projects:
    • we worked with the Duffy Health Center and totally funded 3 Stand Down programs, bringing up to 30 agencies together to provide free services to Cape Veterans.
    • we totally funded the rebuilding of 10 living units at the Safe Harbor Shelter for battered women and children.
    • last year, we fully funded Duffy Health’s new MAT program for opioid-addicted Cape teens.

    In 2018, CCA student organizers voted to direct their support toward hunger problems.
    The Council of Churches’ Faith Family Kitchen has been serving some 30 thousand hot meals a year and over 500 Cape Codders have been depending on it.  This year’s Shelter from the Storm successfully raised enough money to cover the Faith Family Kitchen's food expenses for a full year.

    With some funds left over, we’ll support CapeKidMeals for kids who receive free meals at their schools but are food-insecure on weekends.  Cape Cod Academy provides CKM with a food pantry and staging center here on campus where volunteers bag an assortment of nutritious foods to tide these children over the weekends when their cupboards might be bare otherwise.


    The concert, called Shelter from the Storm, is a showcase of student performers from a broad range of Cape schools. Student performers come to one of three student-produced CCA Coffee Houses on campus to audition for inclusion in the main Shelter concert in February.

    In addition to individual singers, dancers, and musicians, the benefit concerts feature 3 large academies--Dance Designs, Beth Walsh Dancers and Atlantic Coast Dance Academy--and the Youth Symphony Orchestra from the Conservatory.

    We look forward to staging this critical event in service to our community again in February 2019.