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Desk of Herricks Superintendent Dr. John Bierwirth: December 31, 2010

Herricks Students All Share

A Desire to Help Others

The New Yorker Magazine of December 20-27 carried a lengthy article by Peter Hessler on the efforts of a Herricks High School graduate, Rajeev Goyal, to raise funds for the Peace Corps. After graduating from Brown, Rajeev volunteered for the Peace Corps. Some of his efforts as a volunteer from 2001 to 2003 in eastern Nepal were described in detail in the article. The stories are interesting and inspiring. Also interesting and inspiring were the descriptions of Rajeev’s current efforts to raise funds for the Peace Corps. His persistence and creativity are extraordinary, even if they occasionally go a bit over the top and rub someone the wrong way. Given the prominence of the Peace Corps it was surprising to read about how it has struggled for funding, but it was encouraging to hear about increased bi-lateral support in Congress.

Shortly after the article appeared in the New Yorker, by coincidence I also received an email from another Herricks graduate, Yaanik Kosuri. Yaanik and another Herricks graduate, Lisa Bevilacqua, were two of a group of six students from Duke and Princeton who initiated a project six months in Zimbabwe to improve nutrition and treat schistosomiasis which affects roughly 40 percent of the population of the country. More information about their extraordinary initiative can be found on their website www.upenuy.org.

Closer to home several of our Herricks High School students have been gathering blankets for homeless pets in animal shelters on Long Island. As of writing this column, over 400 blankets and other pieces had already been collected.
I am constantly impressed by the community service efforts of Herricks students both while they are students in the District and after they graduate. Whether these projects are small or large, local or international, long term or short term, they all share a desire to help others. Equally as important the motivation for these efforts comes from the students themselves (and their families), not from a mandate by the school district.