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Celebrating ten years of ACG Sunderland: The importance of service

Service to the school and community has been an integral part of life at ACG Sunderland since it was founded ten years ago.

Every year student leaders select charities to support through fundraising and volunteering. This year, they kicked off a project to refresh the primary school gardens. Now they’re turning their attention to raising money for CanTeen, Youthline and Carelink Trust. All three charities were selected for their relevance and resonance with students.

“CanTeen works with young people similar in age to us. We thought it important to learn about the effects of cancer, and how to help those grappling with such struggles,” explained ACG Sunderland student leader Hope Adams, Year 13.

“Youthline was a good charity to support because there is a substantial amount of stigma surrounding mental illnesses; and Carelink Trust accepts food donations during the Christmas period. The majority of us are lucky enough not to have experienced such struggles, so it’s important that we develop a thankfulness for what we have.”

Although students always aim to raise as much money as possible, they say the dollar amount is not the focus.

“We like to prioritise raising awareness,” says student leader Veronica Semau. “With CanTeen, for example, we focused on making sure students were aware of what they were supporting and what teens with cancer go through. We did this by having people from CanTeen come in to speak about it and then we sold bandanas and CanTeen boxes.”

All service and charity activities are student led and involve students at every level of the school – from preschool to college.

“We take pride in being a relatively small school and always try and include all year groups in school services and activities,” Veronica said. “It strengthens our Sunderland family bond and gives us a sense of pride that we are leaving a legacy behind for future generations.”