Silver Cord Program

BG Header Activities North High Silver Cord

About the Program 

The Silver Cord Program is a service program available to all North High students. To qualify for this award, students must volunteer a minimum of 40 hours of service during their sophomore, junior, and senior year, for a total of at least 120 hours. Silver Cord of Service Award recipients will have the distinct honor of wearing a silver cord during their graduation ceremony. 

This is a self-directed program. Students are responsible for turning in all of their hours. 

A School Committed to Community Service 

The purpose of the North High Silver Cord Program is to instill the importance of community service within North High students. The Silver Cord Program encourages students to be accountable for investing in their own education and in their community on a regular basis during high school. 

Service Matters!

Here’s How Students Can Get Started:

  • The Silver Cord Program begins on the first day of a student’s sophomore year and concludes by graduation day of their senior year. 
  • Students should consider completing activities or working with organizations that interest them. 
  • Silver Cord hours must meet a clearly defined need for an agency, charity program, church, political agency, social service, group, or community event. If there is an activity in question, you should have it pre-approved by the Silver Cord Coordinator at North High. The approved service hours must be completed for “non-pay.” 
  • Students should always contact the organization site to schedule and confirm all service activities prior to volunteering. 
  • Students can print the Silver Cord Award Form or pick one up in the main office during the school year. 
  • Hours in question will be reviewed by the North High administrative team. 

Silver Cord Award FAQs

Who is Eligible?

All North High students who wish to help the community and others.

How do I qualify to receive the Silver Cord for Graduation?

Students must complete a minimum of forty hours of committee-approved community service in their sophomore, junior, and senior years at North High School. Students cannot average 40 hours over the three-year span; forty hours must be completed within each school year.

The goal of the Silver Cord Award is to instill the idea of community service as a life-long pursuit. If a student successfully completes the number of hours necessary, they will receive a silver cord to wear at commencement similar to the gold cords worn by academic award winners.

How do I document my hours?

Students MUST document all service activities on the Silver Cord Award Form provided on this page.

One form must be used for each site or project and signed by a supervisor at the site. (A note confirming the students’ service signed by the supervisor at the project is also acceptable. It must be attached to the Silver Cord Form). 

Forms can be submitted to Ms. Ruhrer at North High School at any time during the year. There is no specific deadline for underclassmen to submit forms, although it is best to turn them in as soon as they are completed. 

Seniors should submit all Silver Cord forms by May 2nd of senior year. Forms may be picked up from the office or can be printed using the links in the Silver Cord Award navigation menu.

Can I complete service hours in the summer?

Service hours earned during the summer after the academic year may be applied toward EITHER the prior or following year – it is the student’s choice. (For example, the summer after the sophomore year can apply toward either the sophomore or junior 40 hour requirement or divided between the two as needed). 

It is recommended that all summer projects be pre-approved in writing by a principal to make sure they are acceptable. Summer service that complies with the Silver Cord criteria will be accepted even if students were not able to submit pre-approval forms. Students should pick up blank Silver Cord Award forms before the end of school to use for documentation summer service. Please keep completed forms until you return to North in the fall. The Silver Cord Adviser will be responsible for keeping students’ Silver Cord files.

What service activities DO qualify for the Silver Cord Award?

Silver Cord hours are intended for providing a SERVICE or meeting a clear NEED for a non-profit agency, church, school, park, charity program, fundraiser or community event. The service should be “above and beyond” one’s usual scope of involvement and could be part of required service for a program such as Scouts or religious education. While some organizations meet during the school day, only hours outside of school time could be applied to Silver Cord service. If there is any question about whether a specific volunteer experience meets the criteria of “providing service” or “meeting a need” students should get prior approval from the Silver Cord Committee by submitting a pre-approval form. The Silver Cord Review Committee makes final determinations regarding service.

Approved Organizations/Activities:

  • Blood Bank/Blood Drives
  • Food Bank
  • United Way
  • Gospel Mission
  • Friendship Connections
  • Beyond The Bell
  • Goodwill
  • Watchful Eye Foundation
  • Local church activities
  • YMCA
  • Red Cross
  • Peer Tutoring/Extended Day
  • S.T.A.R.S
  • Humane Society
  • Head Start
  • Local medical centers
  • Retirement Homes
  • Salvation Army
  • Big Brothers/Big Sisters
  • Habitat for Humanity
  • Special Olympics
  • Ronald McDonald House
  • Junior League
  • American Heart Association
  • Art Splash
  • Ragbrai
  • Mid-Steps Service
  • Santa House
  • Political Organizations or Candidates

What service activities do NOT qualify for the Silver Cord Award?

Silver Cord hours CANNOT BE for a relative, or for pay or compensation of any kind.

Other activities that are not accepted include NHS sports team managing, training or event timing or administration; most NHS music program events; concession stand or fundraising events in which proceeds benefit an NHS program; serving as a camp counselor while receiving free room and board (some exceptions made for camps for children with disabilities); performing in a musical, dance, or theater group unless related to a social cause or charity benefit; participation on committees in which the focus is on one’s own leadership development and does not include outreach to the larger community. Court-ordered community service hours are also not eligible.