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Krista Brick is a multi-media journalist with Montgomery Community Media. A mom of four busy kids, Krista has her foot in high school, middle school and elementary school as well as on the soccer field, baseball diamond, track and volleyball court. Inside her blog Keeping up with the Kids celebrates... Read more

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brianna nelson

Damascus Student Accrues More than 2,000 Volunteer Hours

Damascus High Junior Brianna Nelson likes to donate her time…lots of it-  2,227 hours to be exact and climbing.brianna nelson

As of April, she has the most Student Service Learning hours of all current Montgomery County Public High School students. The number even surprised her.

“I knew I had a lot and it wasn’t a specific goal,” Nelson told MyMCMedia. “Once I reached the required number I didn’t see reason to stop or stop documenting them.”

Students in MCPS are required by the Maryland Department of Education to document 75 SSL hours to graduate. Maryland is the first state in the nation to require high school students to engage in service-learning activities as a condition of graduation, according to the Education Department. Students can start accruing them after fifth grade.

This year in Montgomery County 2,129 seniors of the county’s 10,000 graduates were able to don a special purple graduation tassel signifying they accrued 260 or more SSL hours, according to Kimberly Bloch-Rincan, coordinator for SSL program for MCPS.

At Damascus High where Nelson attends, 66 students earned a purple tassel. Even her principal said she had “no idea [Brianna] had that many hours.”

“When we recognize academic success and recognize a student’s commitment to community service it elevates that value,” said Damascus Principal Jennifer Webster. “It shows kids success is about more than grades. Grades are great but it is also about commitment and helping others and giving back.”

Brianna, who lives in Gaithersburg, found a few ways in her community to give back. She works with the Maryland Association for Family and Community Education to assemble and send monthly care packages to troops; helps the ALS Association in Rockville with administrative work and volunteers for the Damascus Sports Association as a poms coach. She’s also helping teachers prepare their classrooms for the school year.

“I think the SSL hours are making students understand they are not the only people in the world. It can be a small gesture but it makes a difference for someone,” Brianna said.

As of April, 676 nonprofit in Montgomery County are approved to award SSL hours. Find out who they are here.




Krista Brick

About Krista Brick

Krista Brick is a multi-media journalist with Montgomery Community Media.


4 Responses to “Damascus Student Accrues More than 2,000 Volunteer Hours”

  1. On June 11, 2015 at 9:29 am responded with... #

    Not sure why it was a surprise to her or her school’s administration – it’s printed on every report card.

  2. On June 11, 2015 at 9:59 am responded with... #

    First tag “als associatin” is spelled wrong and an apparent duplication for the second one.

  3. On June 11, 2015 at 10:32 am responded with... #

    What does it take to have a comment posted and what am I doing wrong? I know I commented on your solar array in Germantown article and now on this article, and probably some others as well – none are posted. Please contact me on mes20874 @ yahoo . com (without spaces)

  4. On June 11, 2015 at 10:38 pm responded with... #

    @MS – Honestly, is this all you can come up with after reading an inspiring article about a young lady that has contributed so much of her personal time in order to help others? May I make a suggestion, try not overthinking the story, then dig deep down inside and offer up a “CONGRATULATIONS”, or “Job well done”…

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