Sophomore Lily Wagoner helps sort food at the Atlanta Community Food Bank on Service Day a year ago. Photo: Lee Wilson
Sophomore Lily Wagoner helps sort food at the Atlanta Community Food Bank on Service Day a year ago.  Photo: Lee Wilson

Transitioning from middle school to high school is like going from being on top of the world to crashing face-first into the ground. Freshmen don’t have their drivers licenses, they’re always the ones who have to clean up after sports practices, and their dance always comes last in Spirit Week.

But being a freshman still has its perks. There are Pace traditions just for freshmen that include the retreat at Camp Skyline, Service Day, the Six Flags science trip and Phlotilla.

However, an executive decision has been made and there will be no Service Day for the freshmen this year. Traditionally, Service Day is matched with PSAT day on the second Wednesday of October. Freshmen spend the day performing service for the community while sophomores and juniors take the PSAT and the seniors have a day off to work on their college applications.

“Yom Kippur falls on PSAT day this year, so the College Board decided to push the PSAT back a week,” said Head of Upper School Michael Gannon. “This way, fall break is a day longer for everyone.” Because fall break is longer with the Yom Kippur holiday on Oct. 12, the freshmen and seniors cannot afford to miss any more school, according to Mr. Gannon. With the PSAT pushed to Oct. 19, freshmen will report to school rather than have Service Day and the sophomores and juniors will have to return to their classes after taking the two hour and 45-minute long PSAT.

Service Day serves as a good icebreaker for the new upper schoolers, and it is a chance for them to bond as a grade. They also get to see some ways they can serve their community and really get personal with what they are most passionate about. The opportunities range from working at the Atlanta Community Food Bank to helping children make arts and crafts at Easter Seals child development centers. “The Atlanta Food Bank was a very insightful experience I learned from and enjoyed,” junior Donn Boddie said.

Service Day is often overlooked as one of the freshman traditions, but it has left an impact on most upper school students. “I wish there was a Service Day for all the grades every year,” said sophomore Kayla Ross.

Yom Kippur falls at the end of September in 2017, and Service Day will likely return in October on PSAT Day.