PHS developing leaders through LEAD TWENTYPublished 9:50pm Thursday, May 15, 2014
By MOLLY DAVIDSON / Staff Writer
PELHAM—Pelham High School’s new student organization, LEAD TWENTY, offers students a unique opportunity to develop their leadership while also making a positive impact on the community.
“It’s a blend of Peer Helpers and Student Government Association,” faculty sponsor and 11th grade Guidance Counselor Shelly Johnson said of LEAD TWENTY.
LEAD TWENTY’s student written mission statement is “to embody leadership through education, service, action, empowerment and personal integrity,” and they do this through their small-group work and work with the community as a whole.
Throughout the year, LEAD TWENTY has sought to raise awareness of important and pertinent issues, such as suicide and human trafficking. In the fall, they supported suicide prevention efforts through a coin drive and their participation in the Out of the Darkness Walk. The group arranged for knowledgeable speakers to come to PHS and speak to the student body about both suicide prevention and human trafficking.
LEAD TWENTY has also organized service projects to give back to the community. This spring, they spent one Saturday “cleaning the Buck Creek area” in preparation for Buck Creek Festival, and another rainy Saturday picking up trash around the PHS campus.
“They were such troopers out there in the rain,” Johnson said.
LEAD TWENTY additionally works to strengthen their personal leadership ability through small group work. The group meets weekly to conduct “book studies,” plan events and hear guest speakers, such as Pelham Board of Education President Rick Rhoades.
“We started out meeting just once a week, but that was definitely not enough, Johnson said. “Next year we will meet every chance that we have.”
Each LEAD TWENTY member also has an individual faculty mentor whom they meet with regularly.
The group is already making plans for the next school year, Johnson said. In addition to looking for new members to fill the seven available spots in the group, they are planning an “entirely student led,” full-day leadership conference for the incoming PHS ninth grade class.
“The more students that are able to serve in a leadership capacity at schools, the better,” Johnson said. “(LEAD TWENTY) teaches them principles that will go beyond high school and continue to impact them for a lifetime.”