Service Learning


“We need your service right now, at this moment in history. I’m not going to tell you what your role should be. That’s for you to discover. But I’m asking you to stand up and play your part. I’m asking you to help change history’s course.” BARACK OBAMA

At Highland School, we believe that classroom learning works best when partnered with innovative ideas designed to nurture the entire student. Through service-learning and real, hands-on projects, Highland strives to enhance learning, promote character and leadership development, and build connections within and beyond the school community.

Key objectives of service-learning at Highland

The objective of our service-learning programs is to provide opportunities for students to:
  • Develop self-awareness and personal growth;
  • Create healthy, productive relationships with peers and adults in and outside of Highland;
  • Participate in meaningful experiences outside of the classroom that challenge and broaden their perspectives of their school, local, national and global communities;
  • Study in non-traditional learning environments; and
  • Apply classroom learning to life beyond Highland.

Through service, Highland students make a difference in their school, communities, and across the globe. They exhibit a generosity of spirit, demonstrate civic responsibility, and give their time and talent for the sake of improving the experience of others. 

Lower School service learning centers on Directors Council

Service Learning in the Lower School is centered around the Director's Council. The Directors Council is made up of a group of third and fourth-grade students selected by Lower School Director Lise Hicklin. All third and fourth-grade students will have an opportunity to serve on the Director's Council each academic year.

Every quarter, a new Directors Council chooses and coordinates a service effort. Past projects have included the Thanksgiving Food Drive, materials drive for the Fauquier SPCA, and collecting supplies for a summer lunch program for low-income students.

National Junior Honor Society (NJHS) in Middle School

Students in the National Junior Honor Society (NJHS) and the Middle School Community Service Club coordinate service efforts in the Middle School. Also, students who have the opportunity to serve as Middle School Head for the Day often include a philanthropic project on their agenda.

Service becomes a key component of Upper School experience

Students in Grade 9-11 complete a minimum of 20 service hours annually, though most surpass the requirement and continue their service efforts through Grade 12. Service opportunities are coordinated by Key Club, the Upper School service club. All students are invited to participate. The Director of Experiential and Service Learning also meets with individual students to help identify and plan service experiences around their strengths and interests.

Opportunities to serve throughout the year

Throughout the year, Highland School partners with non-profit organizations to conduct outreach and create opportunities for service learning in our local, regional, and global communities. To see a breakdown of these opportunities by month, please click on any of the expanding boxes below:

List of 11 items.

  • Dig Pink (October)

    Students get behind volleyball team to raise money
    Spearheaded by Highland’s volleyball teams and recently retired Coach Gary Hicklin, Highland has raised over $30,000 for breast cancer research through its annual Dig Pink competition. Students can participate by purchasing a t-shirt, and/or cheering on the teams at the Dig Pink games.
  • Thanksgiving Food Drive (November)

    Canned food drives in all divisions
    For over 20 years, Highland has participated in the annual Thanksgiving Dinner Project sponsored by the Fauquier Food Bank. We are proud to be traditionally the largest local school supporter, donating over 3000 pounds of food to prepare Thanksgiving dinner boxes for more than 650 families in need. Students also help assemble and distribute food baskets.
  • Holiday Philanthropy (December)

    Lots of opportunities to get involved
    Highland supports numerous projects at the holidays, including the Adopt-A-Foster Child gift drive, Head Start mitten tree and book drive, Gum Drop Square, Fauquier Family Shelter, Cards for Veterans, and other initiatives. Additionally, Key Club sponsors a Highland float in the annual Warrenton Holiday Parade.
  • Habitat for Humanity (January)

    Honoring the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.
    As part of Poverty Awareness Month and in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, a National Day of Service, Highland participates in Habitat’s 2x4 sponsorship program. Students also provide direct service by providing lunch to volunteers at a local Habitat Build site and build awareness through advocacy activities.
  • American Red Cross Blood Drive (February)

    Opportunity for students interested in medicine
    A 'Dream Team' of Highland students - many of whom are interested in careers in medicine or the field of biology – coordinates a community blood drive by working with our Red Cross liaison, recruiting donors and volunteers, and handling logistics. The drive encourages first-time student donors to consider becoming regular donors.
  • Empty Bowls Soup Dinner (March)

    Popular service project brings broad support
    Highland’s Key Club and ceramics classes partner to host a soup dinner to raise awareness and money to fight hunger in the local community. Highland families are invited to enjoy an array of soups donated by area restaurants and to select their favorite bowl from a selection handmade by Highland students. This popular event occurs just prior to the Friday night performance of the spring musical, so save the date for a night of good food and entertainment!
  • Fauquier Family Shelter (March)

    Supporting local homeless shelter
    The third quarter Lower School Director’s Council organizes a drive for the most-needed items on the shelter’s wishlist. Students then deliver their donation and tour the shelter to learn about the families it serves.
  • Highland Annual Family Service Day

    Wide range of service projects
    All Highland families are invited to join us on our annual day of service each April. Coordinated in conjunction with Global and National Youth Service Day, students and their families can choose from multiple projects to volunteer for a couple of hours or a whole day. 

    Recent projects have included Special Olympics athlete coaching and event support, hosting an Enkijape Flea Market, Highland campus beautification projects, Chestnut tree planting, Haymarket Earth Day, Fauquier Food Distribution Coalition, and F.I.S.H.
  • Middle School Head for the Day

    Part of Highland Auction fundraising event
    As part of his or her special day of leadership, the Middle School Head for the Day chooses a cause to support through a Blue and Gold Challenge in the Middle School. Organizations that have benefited from the projects  have included the Fauquier Food Bank, the Fauquier Family Shelter, and the SPCA.
  • F.I.S.H. Summer Meals for Kids (May)

    Lower School food drive
    The fourth quarter Lower School Director’s Council sponsors a drive for food items to help provide breakfast and lunch for low-income families whose children qualify for the free lunch program during the public school year. Additionally, students will grow vegetables in the Lower School garden to donate to families at Vint Hill Transitional Housing.
  • American Cancer Center Relay for Life (June)

    Join us for popular Relay for Life event 
    In addition to hosting the Fauquier Relay Princess Tea and Ballet fundraiser in February, Highland is represented by Middle and Upper School teams at the relay event each June.
  • To learn more about service learning at Highland School, you can reach Director of Experiential and Service Learning Megan Catalfamo at 540-878-2727 or email


Highland School is a co-ed independent Pre-K2 to Grade 12 day school located in Warrenton, Virginia.