Student leaders apply leadership skills to WHS community

Megan Malur and Emma McNulty

Student leaders at WHS have been working to apply what they learned at the winter leadership conference they attended on February 15. Specifically, the students worked on acts of kindness to help improve the school community.

Student activities director Nicholas Pezzote is one of the organizers of the winter leadership conference and commented on its purpose.

“The focus of this [conference] was to continue our work on kindness, on the theme that kindness matters. We asked ourselves how do you use kindness in leadership?” Pezzote said.

Freshman Ryan Wims, a member of the student council, offered his views on this theme.

“In this conference, [Pezzote] tried to highlight some kindness he has been seeing around the school, to emphasize the fact that small acts can make a big difference,” Wims said. “Especially in terms of kindness, you don’t need to do something major to make a big impact or leave the school a better place.”

Following this theme, Pezzote asked the students to plan a charity event that would focus on giving back.

“We challenged student leaders to come up with a volunteer activity that they would do for the community, something charitable that they would not receive any NHS hours,” Pezzote said.

Junior class president Christina Binney described the impact she saw this conference have on her grade and the steps they would be taking as a result.

“[Juniors] were really focused on making money for our own grade for a lot of the time throughout high school…but we were less focused on service,” Binney said. “Hearing everyone’s ideas and hearing how much we actually wanted to do service, our focus has actually completely switched. We’re now going to be aiming for two to three big service ideas run by our grade [before our graduation].”

Each grade’s service idea was targeted to help different groups. Sophomore class president Allison Kirk shared how her grade wanted to help those battling breast cancer.

“My grade was planning to do a walk for breast cancer where you don’t get [community service] hours, you just go as a team, and you raise money collectively and have a good time. I think that is really important,” Kirk said.

Other grades also came up with ideas for community service. Freshmen made goodie bags with hygiene products for Watch City Market in Waltham, while the juniors decided to make cookies for the WHS bus drivers. Continuing with tradition, the seniors decided to run Kicks for Cancer.

Pezzote noted that these acts of kindness would be continued for each grade throughout their time at WHS.

“It’s becoming a new tradition for each grade to host their own charitable act for the community that is not done for NHS hours,” Pezzote said.

Another take away from the conference is the way different groups of student leaders can communicate and work together as a whole.

“We got to check in with everyone and make sure that we were all focusing on bringing our school together rather than just individual things with our grades. We need to start focusing on that more,” Kirk said.

Next year, the leadership conferences will take a different approach. Pezotte plans to shift the focus next year to address school spirit.

“School spirit regularly comes up from all different leadership groups and it’s something a lot of people want to see a positive shift in. I don’t think it’s going to be something that’s really easy to do. It’s going to take time, but it’s doable,” Pezzotte said.