The year for the celebration was going to be 1966. September 24, 1966, was the 100th anniversary of the day when George Washington Copp Noble, then a young man of 30 years of age, opened the door of Noble’s Classical School (the original proper name of the school) to 10 boys. Since that day, the school had grown, evolved, improved, and become an established and respected institution. Starting in the summer of 1960, the Nobles community began to organize for the coming celebration.
The Centennial Committee, headed by Richard T. Flood (Nobles 1923), developed a vision to strengthen the school’s reach into the future, while celebrating the accomplishments of the past. One of the main ideas stated by the Committee was that “consideration should be given to adding another dimension to a Nobles education… specifically this new dimension should stimulate a student’s interest in becoming an active participant in the community affairs… in various levels of government and in the arts and sciences.”
Thus the seeds of the Community Service/Service Learning Program were planted. Nobles intended to face the new “dimension” seriously and thoroughly.
The Committee had hoped to start the program in conjunction with the 1966 celebration but it took until the fall of 1971 for the plan to come to fruition. Mr. Gleason, then a newly appointed headmaster, hired Bill Chamberlin to be the first Community Involvement Program Director. Eventually, a department was set up, in the fall of 1978, run by Virginia Miller; by 1985, 80 hours of Community Service became a requirement for graduation.
The program started small, but developed steadily. It has grown and flourished, led by dedicated directors and peopled with students who find themselves swept by the enthusiasm of the tasks, even if some of them might have joined “because they had to.”
Now the program is indeed local and global.
During the academic year 2011-12, Nobles sponsored 79 service-related events; the students involved in the Service Learning program worked with 46 local partnerships and agencies; Nobles visited and/or contributed to 55 national and international sites during the year. The Nobles Community gave 18,448 hours to service events.
The vision of the Centennial Celebration has become a reality.