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Connecting to Their Community

Langley High School Community Service Club celebrates first year.

From left, Langley High School junior Rana Halabi, senior Heini Korhonen, junior Jessica Zheng, teacher Chris Bass, senior Brian Chung, sophomore Tony Zheng and sophomore Jeff Waters, members of the Langley High School Community Service club. Chung was named the club’s first ever Volunteer of the Year. Not pictured: senior Lizz Gentry and junior Brittany Kim.

From left, Langley High School junior Rana Halabi, senior Heini Korhonen, junior Jessica Zheng, teacher Chris Bass, senior Brian Chung, sophomore Tony Zheng and sophomore Jeff Waters, members of the Langley High School Community Service club. Chung was named the club’s first ever Volunteer of the Year. Not pictured: senior Lizz Gentry and junior Brittany Kim. Photo by Alex McVeigh.

— The Langley High School Community Service Club celebrated their first year of existence Friday, June 8 at The Old Brogue. Club members volunteered at 11 different events for a total of more than 300 hours around the area during the year, from helping pack meals for the homeless to spending time with the residents of Vinson Hall, a nursing home.

"This group has been amazing, they show up for events ready to give maximum effort for however long it takes, for some events they put in up to 12 hours in a day, said Chris Bass, Langley faculty member and supervisor of the club.

Junior Jessica Zheng grew up in China, and said there weren’t a lot of chances to volunteer there.

"Once I got here and got the opportunity to get out in my community I saw how much fun it was," she said. "My brother and I like to say we’re addicted to the feeling of accomplishment you get when you’re finished."

Zheng isn’t the only member of the club who comes from around the world. Many of the officers are from other countries or grew up outside of Northern Virginia.

"It’s been fun to watch people who didn’t come from this area immerse themselves so fully in the community around them, it’s a great way to get involved outside of school," Bass said. "The faculty has noticed how active and dedicated these students are."

Senior Brian Chung was awarded the volunteer of the year. He received a plaque and also has his name listed first on the plaque Bass had made to hang up in the school to recognize future volunteers of the year.

"I started volunteering in third grade, playing piano at some of the local shelters, and I still volunteer regularly with my church," Chung said. "It’s just something I’ve always loved to do."

The group also volunteered during the Spooktacular and June Fest in Great Falls, Langley’s holiday cookie drive, fun fairs at Forest Edge and Great Falls Elementary Schools and decorated the Colvin Run Community Hall, among others. They also volunteered at a homeless shelter in Dumfries.

Junior Rana Halabi said one of her favorite events was volunteering at Vinson Hall, an assisted living facility in McLean for retired military officers, career government employees and family members.

"We each got paired up with a resident, and spent the day coloring and doing art projects with them," she said.

Bass said one of the strengths of the club is having a young core, there are only a few seniors leaving this year.

"The seniors we had set a great example, and I think everyone else looked to them for guidance," he said. "I think that will make for great leadership next year and the years to come."