by Cori Hilsgen
Kennedy Community School Student Council members and Ambassadors have been busy filling their leadership roles to organize projects to help fill area needs around St. Joseph.
Activities these students have been busy organizing this year include competing to collect for a food drive where they donated 364 items to the St. Joseph Community Food Shelf, collecting about 80 items for the Toys for Tots program, collecting about 40 items for a Hat and Mitten Drive for students at the school and packing more than 1,260 Colt Action Packs (weekend food bags) for students in need at the school.
Several students commented about their participation in their leadership roles.
“I (chose) to apply and become part of Ambassadors because I hoped to make friends and meet new people,” said sixth-grader Megan Stromquist. “I also wanted to be involved in a good group and do something for my school. I enjoy doing something good for my school and community and hanging out with others who enjoy helping others too.”
“I (chose) to become a part of Ambassadors because I could see how much of a positive impact it had on my community,” said eighth-grader Rylin Dierkes. “I love to cheer people (up) and make their lives easier and more enjoyable so I saw it as an opportunity to contribute to my school. I very much enjoy helping out around my school and doing fundraisers and charities and just overall improving people’s time at school, (be)cause I know what a stressful environment it can be.”
“I chose to apply to represent my class,” said sixth-grader Jasmine Bonovsky. “What I enjoy about it is having fun with other people in middle school.”
“I chose to be part of Student Council because I love using my creativity to benefit people,” said eighth-grader Lillianna Midy. “I enjoy planning things and helping with fundraisers.”
“I chose to apply to Student Council because it seemed like a good chance to help improve the school,” said sixth-grader Abby Petroski. “I enjoy getting to meet new students and having a chance to socialize with students I already know. I also like the feeling that comes with knowing you’ve helped a student or sometimes an animal in need.”
Dana Thomson, who is the adviser for both the Student Council and the Ambassadors, said the school has 26 student ambassadors and 24 student council members in sixth- through eighth-grades. Students need to apply to be either Ambassadors or Student Council members and their application requires a teacher recommendation.
The two leadership groups meet during their advisory class in the morning, but the students also need to meet the advisory class requirements.
Thomson said students usually meet two or three times each month.
She said the students are always looking for service project ideas and would welcome other projects. Both leadership groups are encouraged to find service projects that help meet area needs.
The students are currently working on and plan to donate about 12 blankets to Anna Marie’s Alliance in St. Cloud.
Many of the students have a passion for animals and would like to be able to help the Tri-County Humane Society. In March, the student leaders hope to make animal pet beds or cushions for the animals’ time at the Humane Society before adoption. Another idea is to make simple toys for animals.
They plan to contact the Tri-County Humane Society to see if these are needed items and what other items might be needed.
Thomson said these students would work every day on a service project if they had the opportunity.
Thomson is also a middle school counselor for the school and teaches three classes, one each to sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders about identity, motivation, effort, goal-setting, cultural competency and current events.
“I believe that service is a road to connection and community,” Thomson said. “Students often feel disconnected and service provides engagement and empowerment.”
Author: Cori Hilsgen
Hilsgen is a contributing reporter for the Newsleaders. The central Minnesota native is a wife, mother and grandmother. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Organizational Management and Communication from Concordia University – St. Paul, MN and enjoys learning about and sharing other people’s stories through the pages of the Newsleaders.