Originally published in the spring 2016 edition of The Pillar, Athenian’s student newspaper
by Dylan Ratner ’17
Beach cleanups. Campus beautification. Distributing donated food. All of these activities are typical of Athenian’s annual community service or hiking day, Tim Holm Day. Still, as most advisories work individually, not all Athenian students get to experience the breadth of Athenian’s Tim Holm Day offerings. The best way to get a sense for what Tim Holm Day is all about is to hear it from the students themselves. On a trip to the Diablo Hills Regional park to clean up a dump site, here is one advisory’s take on Tim Holm Day and service at Athenian or in their own lives.
“I realize now, that when it comes to community service, it doesn’t always have to be ‘your community’ because I do a lot of community service in Texas, even though I don’t live there anymore,” Priya Canzius ‘16, on her final Tim Holm Day, said. “Still, I feel like Athenian is my home and so doing service [through Athenian] is pretty rewarding.”
Others in the group spoke about how community service engages them with people and communities that they might not otherwise interact with, providing an essential outlet to interact with the world outside the Athenian ‘bubble.’
“It’s a really fun experience and great to get off campus to help the greater Bay Area,” Julia Van Warmerdam ’17 said. “Even though it is hot, it is a wonderful time to bond with my fellow advisees as we dig through dirt to uncover old trash.”
For some, the experience provided a new way to engage with Athenian’s commitment to community service and spend time with a variety of Athenian students who they did not normally see.
“Coming to Athenian this year, Tim Holm Day is a new experience for me,” Lauren Hollis ’19 said. “I love how the entire school makes an effort to contribute to our local community and truly lives up to the Community Service pillar. It is nice to take a break from school and spend time with friends in other grades while still feeling productive afterwards.”
In addition to providing opportunities for service, Tim Holm Day is also a day to celebrate Athenian spirit and serves as a ritual to remind the Athenian community of its values.
“As a freshman, Tim Holm Day was never mentioned to me until a few weeks before so it is interesting to learn more about Athenian’s history and it feels good to be able to help contribute to something that would benefit many more people to come,” Kaitlyn Chin ’19 said.
One aspect of Tim Holm day that is often overlooked is the intersectionality of Athenian’s different pillars, particularly between those of Community Service and Environmental Stewardship. For some students, this synthesis of Athenian values reflects and reinforces the importance of Tim Holm Day.
“Being out in nature was so relaxing and a nice change from being in a classroom,” Van Warmerdam said. “I like that this work really manifests our values in a concrete way. It was also nice to explore a new park in the Bay Area while doing good work.”