An Inside Look at the Heart-y Party: A Community Service Elective


Mrs. Sangiolo (sitting, far right) and members of Rectory's Community Service Elective in their Halloween costumes.

Last week, The DiRectory went to the learning center to talk to Mrs. Sangiolo and some members of the Heart-y Party/Community Service Elective. When we arrived, we were met with smiling faces of hard workers. The members of the elective were busy making decorations and finalizing last-minute plans, and there was excitement all around. We managed to have the elective members sit down to talk with us, and the answers we got to our questions were genuine and enthusiastic.

The Heart-y Party is a Rectory holiday tradition that was started many years ago by retired Rectory tutor and long-time dorm parent, Mrs. Mary Lou Seward. It is the teachers’ gift to all Rectory students, as the faculty members bring in holiday foods and candies to share with all of them. The students get to spend a fun-filled class period in the library with their peers playing games, making crafts, and eating all that delicious food. The Heart-y Party is also a way for the Rectory community to donate to local charities, such as food pantries and homeless shelters; Rectory teachers and students bring in toys, warm hats and mittens, and other gifts for children who are not as fortunate as they are. On the day of the Heart-y Party, everyone at Rectory gets in the holiday spirit as they help assemble the gift bags that will be donated to those in need. 

Current Rectory tutor, Mrs. Sangiolo, offered to take over the tradition after Mrs. Seward retired. Mrs. Mungai, Director of the Learning Center, came up with the brilliant idea to get the students at Rectory involved in the production and planning of this event as a community service elective. This is the first year that the elective was offered. Mrs. Sangiolo hopes to offer it again next year, with more emphasis on performing community service off-campus.

DiRectory: Why did you want to join this elective?

Kaitlyn Y., 8th-grade student: [I joined because] I thought helping out would be great for myself and others.

DiRectory: What kinds of activities do the members of this service elective do?

Mrs. Sangiolo: We have students help get ready for the party. They have been soliciting donations, calling on human services organizations, making phone calls to telemarketers, writing letters, gathering supplies for craft making, sorting donations and storing them in the library closet, visiting CARe, doing trash pickup before Fall Family Weekend, and helping box food donations for families’ Thanksgiving dinners.

Jojo L., 8th-grade student: We’re mostly focusing on getting donations right now.

DiRectory: Do you ever go off-campus for this elective?

Mrs. Sangiolo: We are helping CT Audubon, TEEG (Thompson Ecumenical Empowerment Group), and we helped clean out a garage for a neighbor in need.

DiRectory: Lastly, was this elective your first choice?

Kaitlyn Y., Yueun B., Jojo L., and Kate L.: Yes!

Thank you to Mrs. Sangiolo and the Community Service Elective members for speaking to us. Make sure to donate to the Heart-y Party, and earn some points for your black or orange team!