Leaders emerging from Pau-Wa-Lu

Two leadership classes at Pau-Wa-Lu Middle School were busy last week, hosting a breakfast for firefighters and police officers, and participating in a roundtable discussion with Minden Rotary Club members.

"The students spent six weeks preparing for the breakfast," said seventh-grade leadership teacher Miki Trujillo. "They were here at 6:15 in the morning. Each student contributed some kind of food or supply."

Trujillo said the breakfast, which took place on Oct. 17, gave students the opportunity to converse with 40 firefighters, police investigators and SWAT team members.

"The kids were so assertive, showing their leadership skills and greeting officers," she said. "They learned the value of giving back, of service. They now know how good it feels."

Trujillo said Pau-Wa-Lu teaches its students to follow six pillars of good character: trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship. She said leadership students model these traits.

"The pillars overlap and are inter-linked with each other," she said. "The students carry these things over into their homes, becoming better daughters and sons, becoming better students and better friends."

Seventh-grade leadership student Alicia Harrison said the breakfast taught her how to be a good citizen.

"I learned how to be respectful, and how to give back," she said.

On Oct. 24, leadership students hosted a roundtable discussion with seven members of the Minden Rotary Club, discussing the school's six pillars of character.

"We wanted the students to be well-heard by adults," said eighth- and ninth-grade leadership teacher Mena Dedmon. "Saying things out loud to an adult audience solidifies the students' own values and allows them to figure out what they're really about."

Ninth-grade leadership student and school body president Rose Lombino said she was impressed with the discussion.

"It was cool to share our experiences, and see how they related to us," she said.

Dedmon said her students promote a sense of belonging throughout Pau-Wa-Lu. She said she wanted them to share this with the greater community.

"We want to show community leaders how awesome these kids at Pau-Wa-Lu are."

Ninth-grader Alex Petri said leadership class has transformed his personality.

"It really straightened me out. I'm so much nicer now than I used to be," said Petri.

Seventh-grader Jaden Mustacchio shared his own experience with the class.

"I've learned about responsibility, doing what's right even when no one's looking," he said. "Try your hardest in everything."

Leadership students will be participating in Project Santa Clause this Christmas as well as other community projects. For more information about the leadership classes, contact Miki Trujillo or Mena Dedmon at 265-6100.


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