Thomas Jefferson’s Leadership Class allows the student body to engage in fun extra activities.
Author and motivational speaker Simon Sinek once said, “Leadership is not about the next election, but it’s about the next generation.” The Leadership class at Thomas Jefferson is the next generation of leaders. The class is TJ’s own version of a student council, and it consists of many leaders in the school. Leadership teacher and counselor Erin Thompson stated, “It’s important to have the Leadership class so that everyone and anyone from all different groups have their ideas brought up. Some may say that traditional student councils are simply a popularity vote and because of that there are not any elected positions in TJ’s Leadership class. This ensures that everyone in the class participates fully. It is a great opportunity for students to get involved because the class is open to students who would like to join, as long as they portray excellence in attendance, grades, and behavior. The students in Leadership are an important aspect of TJ because they embody qualities that not only further the school’s success, but the student body’s success as well.
Leadership plans most of the fun events that happen throughout the year. With assistance and advisement from Jon Poole and Thompson, students are able to create their own projects using their own ideas. This year some of the events that have already occurred have been spirit week, the bonfire, Homecoming, the Jamaican Jam, Scary Movie Night, and College Week. The students also ensure they have a table at Trick-or-Treat-Street every year and plan the Backyard Bash and other fun events to end the year with in the spring. These events are planned to create a sense of community in the school where students of all ages can come together and have some fun. Some events for students to look forward to for the rest of this semester are a holiday dance (Snowball), Skate City night, a movie night to fundraise for St. Jude’s Children Hospital, a fundraiser for the Dumb Friends League where students are encouraged to bring in dog toys to donate, a White Elephant gift exchange, and opportunities to buy Candy-Grams for the special people in their lives.
In addition to planning school events, Leadership students are also involved in the greater community. Once a month the entire class goes to Samuels Elementary School to lead an anti-bullying session with the kids. They are given a book to read and questions to spark conversations to have the children share their own ideas and learn how to be kind to one another. Every Friday a group goes back to Samuels to fill Totes for Hope, which are bags filled with food such as rice and vegetables and are delivered to different classrooms for the kids to bring home to their families who can’t afford food for the weekend.
Leadership is involved with the youth, but also the elderly. Once a month, representatives from Jiminy Wicket come to the school and set up a croquet game in the dance room. Visitors from a local senior center come to the school and join in the game. A majority of the elderly visitors have Alzheimer’s and don’t get visitors throughout the day so it is refreshing for them to come and play with the students. Senior Araya Maestas stated, “I think it’s important to show how to be a leader in the school, especially in our day and age. This class really shows you how to help others, not just around the school, but also outside of school as well.”
The class itself is also very diverse with students from various backgrounds and specific interests. The different ideas and opinions that come from the group allow the students to reach many students within the school. Each person has their own ideals and interests and taking all of that into account is extremely important to the students in Leadership. The class successfully leads the student body and provides events and activities for the entire school to enjoy.