Julianna Cornish’s school day started per usual with morning worship inside Pantego Christian Academy’s chapel. 

Instead of having a day full of lessons and assignments to follow, the senior spent the rest of her morning volunteering at Greek Oaks School in Arlington, a Christian school for people with intellectual disabilities. 

Cornish wasn’t alone. Pantego Christian Academy will dedicate one day of each school year to volunteering around Arlington and surrounding communities. The entire student body will go in groups to serve in local nonprofits, pick up trash in public parks and create holiday cards and fleece blankets for older residents.

Give back day is important for students to take what they learn in school and apply it in their community, Kathy Ferrell, head of Pantego Christian Academy, said. 

“This is the best day of the year. And for our students this is what we teach about being the hands and feet of Jesus, and they’re actually getting to live it out today,” Ferrell said. 

About Pantego Christian Academy

Pantego Christian Academy is a Christian private school in Pantego, a town in Tarrant County surrounded by Arlington and Dalworthington Gardens. 

The academy was started in 1963 by Pantego Bible Church, according to the school’s website. Pantego Christian Academy is a covenantal school, meaning that at least one parent of each student “must be a confessing believer in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior in order for their child to be enrolled at PCA.”

Pantego Christian Academy has held a give back day each of the past 11 years. The idea for the school’s give back day started as a conversation between Moody Alexander and other parents at his son’s baseball game in 2013, the Pantego resident said. 

“There was this sense of, ‘Are there things we can do to expose them to a bigger world?’” Alexander said. “What can we do as a school to promote the kind of the things that we are teaching and give the kids experience in serving?” 

Alexander is a sponsor for the school’s give back day. He and his wife have seven children, who have graduated or are currently enrolled in the school. 

“It’s an excellent opportunity to teach the kids and to get just another layer of their education experience,” Alexander said. 

Cornish, 18, became a Pantego Christian Academy Panther when she came to the school as a fourth grade student. Now, as a senior, this was her last year participating in give back day. But she said the experience has motivated her to keep volunteering after she graduates. 

“It inspires me to keep doing this when I’m older,” Cornish said. “I’ve always had a passion for helping people, and so this really helps me get out and meet people to do other events.”

Marissa Greene is a Report for America corps member, covering faith for the Fort Worth Report. You can contact her at marissa.greene@fortworthreport.org or on Twitter @marissaygreene.

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Marissa Greene is a Report for America corps member and covers faith in Tarrant County for the Fort Worth Report. Greene got her start in journalism at Austin Community College, where she spearheaded the...