Student team starts up at FFHS

Wednesday, 21 December 2011 - 2:17pm

By Heather Latter, Staff writer

Drawing students from all aspects of the school, a student leadership team is starting up at Fort Frances High School as a way to co-ordinate the many groups and clubs there.“We’ll be like a collective hub for everybody and we’ll be able to support all the groups,” explained Tanner Bell, who initiated the newly-established leadership team.“We have a number of different groups that do leadership-type activities, so what we’re trying to do is create an umbrella group so we are co-ordinating and helping each other out,” echoed Carla Magisano, one of the school’s vice-principals.Some of the groups that will be represented on the student leadership team include the “mentoring committee,” which focuses on helping to transition Grade 8 students into high school, “natural helpers,” a network of students in the school who help other students with their social problems, and “Best Buddies,” a program dedicated to enhancing communities through friendships between people with and without disabilities.Students representing the sports teams, as well as The Mob/Saving Faces group and other leadership-oriented organizations within the high school, also will be included.“Sometimes [these groups] work in isolation and we thought if we could pull them all together, then all the students would know what the other groups are doing and they can always help contribute to any of the activities that are planned,” Magisano reasoned.“If there are 10 kids in one group, it’s not just to 10 kids, it’s the 60-70 kids helping out,” she stressed.One of the first activities initiated by the leadership team is a promotion of “acts of kindness.”Using material provided from the “Rachel’s Challenge” presentation back in the fall, there was an idea to put “acts of kindness” on the school walls. But the leadership team expanded that and instead is putting the them on the pillars of the school that supports the building.“We want to fill those pillars with all of our ‘acts of kindness,’ anything that we feel is good or motivational,” Bell remarked.“So people would see that and see what our school is built upon,” he added. “The foundation is all acts of kindness.”And he’s hoping the students will lead by example.“For example, if a Grade 9 student sees a Grade 12 Muskie player putting something up on the pillars, then they’re going to start to do that, too.”They have put pieces of paper on a table by the pillar and students, if they notice something or someone does something nice for them, are encouraged to fill it out and put it up.In just one day, they had filled a whole pillar.“It is completely anonymous,” Bell added, noting the students can write just simple things. For example, one student was struggling bringing in their project and someone gave them a hand.The pillars also feature motivational words and phrases.“It’s the first thing people see when they walk into the school,” Bell said. “And it emphasizes what we want our school to be built upon.”Magisano expects a lot of positive things will come from having this leadership team.“Underlying it is trying to change the culture so that it is more positive, which would then hopefully impact on anti-bullying,” she noted.And Bell wants students to stand up for one another.“If you see someone picking on someone or doing something they’re not supposed to, if it’s coming from a student saying ‘Hey, that’s not really cool’ and ‘that’s not right to do,’ then it’s a lot different because it’s a student to a student rather than from a teacher,” he reasoned.Bell also wants the leadership team to take things to the next level.“With the message that everyone should be treated the same, treated equally,” he said. “We’ll draw on all the concepts of leadership, anti-bullying, and diversity—all in one group.”Magisano noted other activities, such as the “acts of kindness,” will continue throughout the school year.Bell has an idea to do a food drive within the school—perhaps to attempt to break a world record and build an ‘M’ with it.“We haven’t looked at what the record is, but I think it’s an attainable goal,” he said. “If we can beat that, it’s something astronomical that our school can be known for—giving back to the community.”“Each month, one of the groups will pick an activity and all the groups will help,” Magisano added, saying things are just getting started with the leadership team and will fully get underway in the new year.In fact, they’ve been calling it a leadership team but they aren’t sure what the final name of the group will be as it will be up to the students to decide.“And hopefully it will grow. We have great plans,” Magisano enthused.