A new student group has been formed at Edison High School that helps youth develop into leaders.
A leadership council was started this year and is led by teachers Greg Marsh and Amy Bordash. So far, there are 25 juniors and seniors involved and members build leadership skills, learn conflict resolution skills and positive team building strategies and also promote school spirit and pride, which they then share with their peers and younger students within the district.
“We plan to continue this group in years to come and make positive changes in the school and community and allow the students to lead by example,” said Marsh.
“Our goal is to bring students together at meetings where they can lead and come up with ideas that they would like to see happen in the classroom and the community,” Bordash added.
The council began after Marsh and Bordash, who both coached junior high track at the school, discussed how they could change the culture in the school and district.
“We thought doing something like this group would be a great start since so many kids in our district do outstanding things on a daily basis and this would allow us to showcase all of these amazing moments,” Bordash added. “When we focus on the positives, our entire outlook changes for the better, so building a positive culture where students feel valued was something we knew we wanted to go for. We approached [EHS Principal Matt Morrison] to get approval to create the group and have received support from all of the administrators throughout the district.”
Criteria include being involved in a minimum of two extracurricular activities from sports, band and choir to a school musical, plus they must be in good academic and behavioral standing. The teens have visited elementary schools and conducted community service such as collecting hats and gloves for the needy, and there will be more to come.
Officials said the council is building a positive social media platform that highlights accomplishments schoolwide where students support other students by attending their events and taking pictures to share on social media and the school TV monitors. Additionally, they have shared breakfast with elementary students, read to classes, created holiday cards to send to military members overseas, designed teacher appreciation cards for staff members as an act of kindness and collecting donations to send a Stanton student with financial needs on a field trip to Pittsburgh. More plans are to write positive messages on girls’ restroom mirrors and school windows; denote accomplishments on a spirit wall painted on the building outside the auditorium; provide doughnuts to first responders for Random Acts of Kindness Day; collect plastic caps or lids to help with the Jefferson County Fairgrounds bench project by the county fair queen; distribute cards and goodie bags to celebrate staff members’ birthdays; and volunteer to read morning announcements at EHS. Future endeavors include visiting elementary schools to talk to sixth-grade students about life at EHS as they transition to the junior high and painting the spirit wall in celebration of the Class of 2023. Seniors then will be able to sign their names for a donation to benefit the Mackenzie Smith Memorial Scholarship Fund. Smith would have been a member of this year’s graduating class.
A few of the members said they were glad to be part of the leadership council and enjoyed helping others.
“I feel like we’ve done a lot to help the school and community,” said senior Anna Wadas. “We did the hat and glove drive and I donated them to Bell Chapel [United Methodist] Church to give out to the community. We’ve also visited the elementary schools twice to read to kids, have breakfast and talk about the future when coming to high school.”
“[The council’s purpose] is to bring us together,” added Gampolo. “I enjoy it. It makes me feel good to do something. I’ve enjoyed going to the elementary schools and connecting with the kids.”