“You’ll MOVE MOUNTAINS! Why fit in when you were born to stand out? Today you are You, that is truer than true. There’s no one alive who is Youer than You!” – Dr. Seuss
Elbrus, Lhotse, Makalu and Rainier.
Each one the name of a famous mountain, and each one providing inspiration to Bayside High School students at the school’s leadership workshop last month at the Airfield 4-H Camp in Wakefield, Virginia.
Aligned with the workshop’s theme Move Mountains, based on the writing of Dr. Seuss, more than 60 student delegates spent the weekend learning and working together in separate councils bearing one of the four mountains’ names. It is within these councils, explained Bayside social studies teacher and workshop coordinator Ashley Williamson, that students learn valuable lessons about teambuilding, group dynamics, problem solving and listening as they work on projects and challenges together throughout the weekend.
“The council projects serve as a metaphor for real life problems that students will encounter throughout their lives when working in groups, whether with their families, at school or in their careers,” said Williamson. “It is not always easy to work with 12 or more people,” she added, “and you must find the individual talents of your group, build upon them and listen to each other’s needs.”
This is the fourth year that Bayside has hosted an overnight workshop for its students in grades nine-11. Williamson and Bayside student activities coordinator Lisa Corprew were awarded a Virginia Beach Education Foundation (VBEF) grant funded by DeFord Limited to help defray the school’s costs for overnight lodging and materials as well as to allow as many students as possible to attend. “We never want to say ‘no’ to a student based on financial reasons,” wrote Williamson in the VBEF grant application.
And because Bayside staff want all students to say “yes” to getting involved in school, the date of the annual leadership event is strategically selected. By hosting the event just before the release of applications for the school’s Student Council Association (SCA) or class elections, there has been a greater turnout of potential candidates.
Workshop staff members and their adult advisers hope that this year is no different.
“BHS challenges its student leaders to get involved from the moment that they enter high school, whether it is through clubs, activities, sports or in the community,” Williamson said. The school’s leadership workshop encourages that involvement not only by building students’ skills and knowledge through instructional sessions lead by student workshop staff members and Bayside alumni, but also by building confidence.
“They often come in as quiet, uninvolved students,” reflected one student staff member. “To see them blossom into people who are equipped with the necessary tools to step up and become a source of leadership at our school is insatiable.”
“The love and pride I feel for my school is renewed every time I come to workshop,” reflected another student staff member. “I will be forever grateful to have such a fantastic program at my school. I encourage all newcomers to take part and hope that it continues to make as much of an impact on them as it has had on me.”
Visit the Virginia Beach Education Foundation’s Adopt A+ Grants webpage to see how VBEF grants are supporting innovative and creative learning programs for students.