Silver Cord

Silver Cord


The purpose of the Silver Cord Program is to instill within our students the habit of giving to others in their community and around the world.  Quality community service helps develop character and encourages a personal investment to the success and improvement of the community’s future.  Also at Hillcrest Academy, as followers of Jesus Christ, we encourage students to care for those in need.

The Silver Cord Program recognizes students for their volunteer service during their high school years.  Students who volunteer at least 30 hours each year they are enrolled at Hillcrest Academy will have the distinct honor of wearing a silver cord during their graduation ceremony.  Recognition will also be given each year at the Academics and Fine Arts Award Ceremony in May.


  • Students need to volunteer for at least 3 different types of activities under at least 3 different organizations (or your own initiated activity) per year.
  • Student volunteers need to complete a Silver Cord Service Form documenting the hours, activity, and organization or event.  The form must be signed by the coordinator, student, and a parent for the activity or the organization.  Reflection questions must also be answered.
  • Community service and forms must be completed by April 30 for recognition at the May Awards Ceremony and for the Senior Graduation Ceremony.   Underclassmen can continue accruing hours during the summer – summer service hours may be credited to either the previous or new grade level.

Qualified Service Activities

Volunteer service hours must meet a clear community need and be performed through a non-profit agency or affiliated organization.  Exceptions to the non-profit requirement are made for nursing homes and daycare centers or in the event of a fundraiser in which the student receives no monetary disbursement.  Qualified service activities include but are not limited to:

  • School – assisting with fine arts events, open house and prospective student events, athletic assistance other than team manager or statistician, child care during parent/teacher conferences, tutoring not for credit.
  • Church – teaching in Sunday School or Bible School, youth mission trips, choir or special music, worship leading, child care during services
  • Community groups/organizations – Rotary, Kiwanis or Lion’s Club, 4-H, Safe Haven Animal Shelter, Kalona Historical Society, Quad County Pork Days, local celebrations/festivals, Community Garden
  • Nursing homes or senior centers – providing music or playing games with residents, pushing wheelchairs in the summer
  • Libraries – shelving books, making bulletin boards, assisting with summer children’s programs
  • Charity work – any cancer society, homeless shelters, blood drives, Special Olympics, hospitals, food pantries, Crowded Closet, Iowa Mennonite Relief (MCC) Sale
  • Physical labor through an organized event like MYF, 4H, or FFA – yard work or shoveling snow for elderly or homebound individual other than a relative

Non-Qualified Service Activities

Service hours that result in school credit or grade, varsity letter, and/or financial compensation DO NOT count towards the Silver Cord Program.  Also travel, meals and breaks should not be included as service hours.  Non-qualified service activities include but are not limited to:

  • School fundraisers for student monetary accounts such as the Chili Supper 
  • Service and Learning Term or classroom academic requirement hours
  • Music, drama or athletic practices
  • Working at home
  • Babysitting, yard work, or helping a relative, friend, or neighbor for free
  • Participation in self-improvement workshops, clinics
  • Court ordered or discipline requirement hours