Editor’s note: The following submission was provided by Wyoming County Schools.

Student leaders from Wyoming County Schools have an opportunity to make a difference in their schools and their communities through the Superintendent’s Student Council.

Council members have more input concerning the decisions impacting their schools.

“We wanted to give our students a voice in the operation and in the functioning of our school system,” emphasized Deirdre Cline, county schools superintendent.

“We feel too often decisions are made and placed on students, so we wanted them to have an active voice in our decision-making.”

Cline felt the need was important enough that it was one of the first things she implemented in her role as superintendent.

Now in its fourth year, the council is supervised by John Henry, student services and attendance director.

Henry explained that each school is represented by a student or students selected by the school.

“These representatives are leaders within the student body, who are willing to participate in training, and will provide feedback – from the perspective of the student – of things we can change to better their educational experience.”

The goal is to empower the students to not only be leaders in their schools, but also in their communities, Henry said.

“We want to gain feedback from them on what is working well in their school and also what they would like to see different,” Henry noted.

“Ultimately, what we want is a student who feels comfortable in being a strong leader.”

The council’s first meeting this year included leadership skills training, with the focus on “servant” leadership and how the students can become servant leaders to their schools and their communities.

Guest speakers provided presentations on servant leadership and the group participated in team activities.

One of the team-building activities included making cupcakes, which were donated to residents of Pineville Manor.

“When they left, we challenged them to go back to their principal and speak to them about a servant leadership project that they feel positive about and that would make a change in their community,” Henry said.

“These students are the face of their schools, the voice of their schools, and we try to recognize their accomplishments, and listen to the concerns they may have.”

Henry said one of the most impressive things about the group is their relentless approach to serving their communities and their ideas and suggestions that meant putting others before themselves.

“I have seen it in action already,” Henry said.

He cited as an example the high schools’ Blessing Boxes, created in conjunction with other groups to provide such things as food, toiletries, and winter clothing items for residents in need.

“They seek out donations from folks, and a lot of students are even spending their own money to stock those items.

“We immediately wanted to have them give something back to the communities – just as doing the cupcakes to Pineville Manor was an immediate outreach to the community,” Henry said.

“Our students in Wyoming County are the best of the best and they truly do have servant hearts for not only their school, but their community, and that comes from great role models in their life – whether it be parents or teachers, pastors or whoever.”

Council members include the following:

Destiny Morgan and Makenlee Sparks, Baileysville Elementary and Middle School;

Josiah Thompson and James Tiller, Glen Fork Elementary and Middle;

Ben Davis and Katie Mills, Herndon Consolidated Elementary and Middle;

Molley Cline and Jacklyn Hatfield, Huff Consolidated Elementary and Middle;

Broc Johnson, Mullens Elementary;

Ashlyn Gillispie, Mullens Middle;

Rylie Delong, Oceana Middle;

Bella Frazier, Pineville Elementary;

Savanah Smoot, Pineville Middle;

Ginger Bailey and Roman Hatfield, Road Branch Elementary and Middle;

Molly Cook, Westside High;

Clay Lester, Wyoming County East High;

Will Cook, Wyoming County Career and Technical Center.

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