Service Learning


Operation Day’s Work (ODW) is a student-run program that encourages leadership, responsibility, and volunteerism in middle and high school-aged students. Through a community-based work day, ODW students across the United States earn money to support a project in a developing country that serves youth and advances education.

At Thetford Academy, students take one day each spring to participate in ODW. Working in the community doing odd jobs, yard work, or housework, they earn money to support the Operation Day’s Work-sponsored project. ODW teaches students about global challenges and empowers them with the knowledge that they can make a difference in the world.


The Mr. Thetford Academy Pageant (Mr. TA) was conceived in the fall of 2011, after guest speaker Eric Rwabuhihi gave TA World History students an account of the 1994 Rwandan genocide. Students in the class were moved and determined to do something about the legacy of genocide and colonialism in this central African nation.

Their research revealed that a high school education in Rwanda is a privilege that most Rwandans cannot afford. It was from this revelation that the Mr. TA Pageant was born. Now firmly a part of TA culture, Mr. TA is part talent show, part comedy, part auction—and it raises enough money each year to send several Rwandan students to high school. The annual event represents the cumulative efforts of dozens of students and adult volunteers, and teaches students that a little creativity and generosity can make a lasting and positive difference.

Mr. Rwabuhihi, inspired by Thetford Academy students and the success of Mr. TA,  founded Raise Rwanda, a 501(c)(3) non-profit in 2012. Raise Rwanda is devoted to developing similar partnerships between high school communities in northern New England and Rwanda.