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PWLMS student council attends leadership camp

Holly Atchison

Seven representatives from the student body government and National Junior Honor Society of Pau-Wa-Lu Middle School attended a leadership camp at Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif. this summer, giving them a chance to improve skills for their upcoming terms in various elected offices.

“We did a lot of ice-breaking activities because there were lots of schools there, so it was the kind of games where we could meet each other and get to know each other and get comfortable around each other,” said Amanda Crandall, 14, NJHS publicity officer.

Crandall said there were 15 schools participating in the three-day camp, put on by the California Activity Directors Association, with PWLMS being the only school from Nevada invited to attend.

“This is the third year we have participated in this program,” said Tom Morgan, a history teacher at PWLMS and the group’s chaperone, along with his wife Lea. “We’ve found it to be very good in motivating our students and staff to get involved with these activities.

“They get to mix with kids from other schools. They see a lot of ideas about fund-raising activities, how to plan assemblies, what the components of effective leadership are, how to conduct a meeting, how to divide work, how to be a leader.”

“We learned a lot of stuff about how to put on activities at our school, how to make activities better,” said Lauren hayes, 14, president of NJHS for the ninth grade. “We also learned new things to put on at our school. We learned personal leadership skills that would help us in our positions as student officers.”

“We split up into groups and we shared ideas with other schools,” said student body President Blake Hennessy-York, 15. “We learned how to run meetings and how to set goals and achieve them. We learned activities that could build leadership through the whole school.”

Each student learned something different from the experience which they are planning to implement during their terms in office this year.

“I learned a great deal from this camp. We set goals for our whole school. Some of them were to increase student involvement, continue and finish school projects, conduct a student forum, maintain a high level of community service and, of course, fund-raisers,” said Hennessy-York.

“I learned how to keep track of our funds and order checks,” said Todd Doherty, 14, student body treasurer. “I’m going to apply that to my position.”

“I learned a lot of things from other schools that I didn’t know,” said student body Vice President Jaclyn Campbell, 13. “I learned how to run a more organized meeting. It taught me how to unite the grades and make the school more organized than it is.

“I’m going to really try to get more involved and get the school more involved. I’m going to make it better than it was last year with more fun while still learning.”

“I’m going to get more of the 7th and 8th grade involved and most of the school involved,” said Jake Allsip, 13, secretary of the student body.

“It think it will help me and the rest of the student body leaders greatly so we can spread out our leadership,” Hayes said. “It helped us realize that, although we were chosen to go to this camp as leaders, there were other leaders at our school. We want to try and recognize them, not just positive leaders but negative leaders and maybe make them more positive.”

“It gave us a lot of ideas of types of things you can do to earn money,” said Jaime McCreary, 13, NJHS 9th grade representative. “That will help us a lot because we need to do that.”

The school fund-raisers are what allowed the students to attend the camp, according to Morgan. He said the experience is one that is well-liked by the students who attend each year.

“They love it,” said Morgan. “They love going. They get fired up about school. They come back and they’re excited about school.

“The feedback I’ve received has been almost 100 percent positive.”

Allsip said he had fun on the trip, his favorite part being the motivational speakers and the Stanford campus.

Hayes said having the officers come together as a group was a positive part of the camp.

“We got a lot closer as friends and learned a lot more about each other,” she said. “I was really glad that we got the opportunity to go to this camp. I thought it was a wonderful experience that I’ll carry throughout my life.”

Since the group was quite large, Hayes said the school was “very generous” with funding, thanking Principal Charlie Condron, Vice Principal Fritz Battcher, the Morgans and Vice Principal Rita Elliot.

“I thought it was a really good experience,” Doherty said. “I got to meet lots of new people and it was really fun. I think the best part about it was I learned to feel comfortable around other people I don’t know and how to just have fun.”

Campbell also said meeting new people was a bonus to the learning experience.

“It was really fun,” she said. “It was a great experience that I would love to do again. I made a lot of new friends.”

McCreary said she liked the different games that were taught and being able to see what other schools are doing.

“I thought it was an awesome learning experience that we’re all going to benefit from not just in this next year, but throughout our school years,” said Hennessy-York.

Morgan seems to think the leadership camp paid off.

“The group was an exceptional group,” Morgan said. “I’m real optimistic about working with these students this year.”