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High School Students Help Middle Schoolers Learn To Lead

"A leader doesn't have to be perfect," said Sophia Mayhugh, seventh grade student at Springs Studio for Academic Excellence, when asked what she learned at Middle School Leadership Conference April 15. "A leader makes mistakes, but always tries to do the next right thing."
Student council leaders from Falcon High School, Sand Creek High School, and Vista Ridge High School hosted students in grades six through eight from Falcon Middle School, Horizon Middle School, Skyview Middle School, and Springs Studio for Academic Excellence at the annual District 49 event. 
Brianna Harold, Horizon Middle School eighth grader catches ping pong balls in a team race at the MSLC at SCHS April 15.  Students race in the licorice relay race at the MSLC at SCHS April 15.
Each year, a different high school hosts middle school students from across the district to teach leadership skills. "We want to help get them excited for high school and want to be on the student council," said Kayli Adams, one of two SCHS seniors that organized this years' event. "I hope it helps them bring school spirit to their middle school too."
"Listen to them," said Julie Rizzuti, co-organizer, "They are being crazy out there right now!" 
Students mixed into teams, creating team chants and participating in a series of team-building games. "When you have a job to do and you don't know people, you'll have to meet them and work with them," said Emma Simpson, ninth-grader at SCHS, who was on the white team with students from across the district. 
Robby Warkentine, an eighth-grader at Falcon Middle School listens to District 49 CEO Peter Hilts at the MSLC at SCHS 4/15.  Kayli Adams, SCHS senior and an organizer of the 2016 MSLC, held at SCHS, listens to a student question April 15.
Prior to lunch, students heard from Peter Hilts, District 49 chief education officer, who challenged the students to always do the next right thing.  
"If you get into the habit of doing the next right thing," said Hilts, "you'll create a legacy of leadership that people will want to follow."
Hilts told the students to use their personal lives as an opportunity to practice good leadership for the school setting. "Take that opportunity to practice," he said, "it'll make our schools better, our families better, and our community better."
(L to R) Emily Miller, Isabella Jones, and Kat Lucardie, eighth grade students at SMS, dance during MSLC at SCHS April 15.  Students from four high schools and four middle schools in District 49 dance at the annual MSLC at SCHS April 15.  
After lunch, the students danced together in the SCHS field house, building camaraderie and sharing laughter. "I know some of them that got chosen to come are shy," said Kayli, "but look at them out there, they are coming out of their shell!"
When the dancing was complete, the teams listened to and cheered for each others' chants. The chants, meant to be a series of positive statements about their team color included dancing, singing and acting. 
"I'm going to take what I've learned today and share it with my peers," Sophia said.
Hannah Carr, VRHS junior, dances at the MSLC at SCHS on April 15.  Mekhi Reese, SCHS sophomore, and Bruce Smith, SCHS freshman, dance at the MSLC at SCHS April 15.
Matt Meister