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Austin High School

301 3rd Street NW
Austin, MN 55912
School Hours: 8:30AM - 3:30PM

Austin Public Schools

Scarlet Cord

"Volunteers are not paid - not because they are worthless, but because they are priceless."



The Scarlet Cord Program is designed to recognize and encourage Austin High School students to develop character that results from volunteering service to our community. Students will not only benefit the community, but will develop their own leadership and citizenship skills.


The Scarlet Cord Program is a distinguished volunteer service award available to Austin High School students who perform community service/volunteering during every year of high school. Students who complete the required number of volunteer service hours each year will be recognized at the Spring Awards ceremony. Seniors completing all required hours will be recognized by wearing a scarlet cord with their cap and gown and with special mention in the Commencement Program.


Students who complete the 160 hours of community service by April 30th of their graduation year will receive the Scarlet Cord to wear at Graduation.

  • Students must complete the required paperwork on time for the volunteer hours to be counted.
  • Community service projects must be taken from the approved list of activities or pre-approved by the Scarlet Cord Committee/advisor to ensure that the work qualifies before it is initiated.
  • A calendar year for the Scarlet Cord program is May 1st of the current year until April 30th of the following school year. Students may volunteer over the summer and log hours appropriately.
  • Volunteer service hours are pro-rated from the beginning of the program at Austin High School. Class of 2015 and beyond would need 160 hours. Special consideration will be given to students who move in late in their high school career or have extenuating circumstances.

Service Hours

Hour Requirements

It is strongly recommended that students earn 40 hours per year. By completing 40 hours each year, students will be recognized at the Spring Awards Ceremony. Students will be allowed a 60 hour maximum per year. Upon entering senior year, students must have a minimum of 100 hours in order to be eligible to receive the Scarlet Cord and be recognized during graduation.

Students will be able to receive a maximum of 10 hours for school related service work per school year. Students will be able to receive a maximum of 20 hours for a single specific service activity. (For example, students could serve meals at the Salvation Army for a total of 20 hours.)

Scarlet Cord hours should be logged into Get Connected.

***In order to be eligible for graduation recognition all hours must be submitted by May 1st!

Acceptable Hours Ideas

It is important to remember that:

  • Volunteer work is an unpaid activity.
  • Not all good deeds are a community service.
  • Volunteer service cannot occur during a student's academic classes.
  • Hours begin to count at the start of your freshman year.

Summer Service

Service hours earned during the summer after the academic year may be applied toward either the prior or following school year - student's choice. (For example, the summer after sophomore year can apply toward either the sophomore or junior 40 hour requirement.) Summer hours earned prior to freshman year do not count, as the program does not begin until school starts freshman year. Students can locate blank Scarlet Cord forms for documenting summer service by downloading a form. Students should keep completed forms until they return to school in the fall. Summer hours are due by September 15th.

The following are ideas that would be acceptable to fulfill hours of service:

  • Volunteering for community service organizations
  • Volunteering to help in the neighborhood
  • Helping at the Salvation Army
  • Volunteering at the Food Shelf
  • Volunteering at the Red Cross
  • Helping to improve the school, community, parks, etc.
  • Cleaning roadside ditches or other public areas around the community
  • Assisting with the Special Olympics (ARC)
  • Assisting at a hospital, shelter, daycare or nursing home
  • Volunteering at the YMCA-front desk, laundry, cleaning
  • Volunteering at Blood Drives
  • Volunteering to help coach younger children in sports
  • Volunteer camp counselor
  • Volunteer tutor for younger children
  • Big Brother/Big Sister/Mentoring program
  • Helping at the Public Library
  • Working to promote and implement any town activities or celebrations
  • United Way Day of Caring
  • Church Related Service
  • Volunteering at the Humane Society
  • Volunteering at the Nature Center
  • Giving Blood
  • Volunteering at The Cedars of Austin

**Students may propose additional ideas for service. Pre-approval forms are available by clicking here. Pre-approval forms are suggested in situations where students are unsure if the service activity will qualify. These forms may be submitted to any member of the Character Counts Committee.

The following activities would not meet requirements:

  • You may not receive money or other compensation for the task.
  • You must perform a service for someone other than the family members you live with.
  • Chores at home or on the farm and babysitting younger siblings do not count.
  • May not be court ordered.
  • Task as assigned as a disciplinary action.
  • May not be minor acts of kindness (holding a door open, etc.)
  • May not include working for a PROFIT organization for free.
  • Music or athletic practices.


For additional information, or to share a volunteer opportunity, please contact

Counseling Staff

Kris Murley
Counseling Admin Assistant
Fax: 507-355-2416

Sarah Schmit
9th - 12th Grade Counselor
Last Names A-E

Lynn Keenan
9th - 12th Grade Counselor
Last Names F-L

Julie Hale
9th - 12th Grade Counselor
Last Names M-Reh

Bryce Hoffa
9th - 12th Grade Counselor
Last Names Rei-Z

Robin Garcia
Success Coach
Spanish Interpreter