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Citizenship & Civic Engagement

We live our mission of inspiring a spirit of citizenship in our students. In fact, it is a defining part of our program. Independence has a unique commitment to graduating students who not only talk about being good citizens, but also demonstrate what it means to be responsible and respectful members of a community, whether that be at school, in their neighborhood or out in the world at large. 

In third grade, students participate in the Patriotic Program. Through this hallmark experience, they learn about and honor leaders and patriots of the past, as well as those who serve us now.

As students get older, lessons in citizenship advance. Beginning in sixth grade, they gain connections and empathy for the world beyond our campus through community service requirements. They are even given an opportunity for summer service travel to places such as Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic. Throughout our school’s history, Independence graduates have taken this culture of good citizenship with them when they leave and continue to find ways to serve their communities, both locally and globally.

Here’s a few examples of these young citizens in action:

Dr. Kathryn (Sepelyak) Kirsch ’01 – Founded Health for the Homeless, which works to improve access to and quality of health care for members of the homeless community in Palo Alto, California

Capt. Stephanie DeAngelo ’06 – Graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy and currently serves as a commissioned officer in the Air Force

Chris Reynolds ’10 – Received a Fulbright Fellowship to research barriers to health care for members of vulnerable populations

Meera Garg ’14 – While still a student at Independence, founded Help the Veterans, which is still going strong as a non-profit

Jane Lyons ’15 – Started Youth Overcoming Obstacles with her brother to help teens incarcerated at a local facility and received the honor of Outstanding Service by a Young American from the Jefferson Awards

When you see one of our runners at a cross country meet cheering on an opponent who’s having a hard time, you realize that sportsmanship is very close to citizenship. When we teach one, we’re teaching both.