Students are taking the lead

New leadership class at Soroco High School already producing results

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For the first time ever, Soroco High School students, parents and community members will be able to attend a Halloween Carnival thanks to the persistence and dedication of 11 students in a new leadership class.

During class Friday, students were brainstorming activities for the carnival, how to implement them and what people would most like to do. Pumpkin archery. Balloons filled with fake blood. The classic "feel and guess." Scary movies. Tombstone bowling. A haunted house. Bobbing for apples.

As students made suggestions, freshman Rebecca McElroy kept busy writing them down and what the students would need to make it happen, which is all part of the process teacher Sam McLoud said.

"We wanted a class where we could see the students take a vested interest in their school," he said. "These students are working to improve their school and make it more positive."

The leadership class is open to students of all grades and is a semester class, so students can either register to take it for a semester or a full year if they desire. McLoud said the class was Principal James Chamberlin's idea, although the two have very similar goals for what they wanted students to accomplish.

Instead of having a formal lecture and homework every day, McLoud said the leadership class is very "activities-driven" and he hopes the class will bridge the gaps between other classes by teaching the students what it means to be a leader.

"The main things I want them to get out of this class are a broader cultural awareness of others, resource management skills and communication skills," he said.

McLoud said his desire is for his students to not only plan school events like a Halloween Carnival, but also to get a better understanding of the world outside of Routt County.

"These students are very selfless. The school has lacked togetherness for a while and they wanted to see a positive change here. I can already see it changing," he said.

McLoud is not the only one who has noticed a big difference in the school either. Community members, parents and students have complimented the leadership class students for their hard work and success on events like homecoming and a Hurricane Katrina benefit dinner.

"Our Hurricane Katrina dinner was definitely stressful to pull off but the payoff was definitely worth it," senior Ashley Meadows said.

The school raised about $2,400 from that dinner.

Senior Stephanie Roy said she was grateful to be a part of the class because it is an opportunity for students who are student council members to have their voices heard as well.

"It's a great class because it has made everyone less hard-headed and stubborn so we can come up with some ideas to bring the school together," Roy said.

Meadows said she thinks the class offers life experiences that will help her in the future.

"I was really excited when this class got started because it has given me life skills to use beyond just what we're doing now," she said.

McElroy said she wanted to take the class to have more of a leadership role in the school. "I wanted to pick up leader skills," she said.

McLoud expects even more students to sign up for the class next semester since the word has begun circulating what the students have been doing and will continue to do.

"Our hope is that more people will want to get involved in the future," he said.

In the next few months, after tackling the Halloween Carnival, the students will begin planning an end-of-the-year activity for the entire student body and a teacher appreciation week.

"We have a good time together but we also know how to be serious and get things done," McLoud said.


--To reach Alexis DeLaCruz, call 871-4234 or e-mail adelacruz@steamboatpilot.com

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