Leadership students excel behind the scenes


Hallie O'Rourke

Sophomores Natasha Smith and Tracey Valdez and senior Iva Shuping work together to create a community service box. This box will be filled with Thanksgiving food and given to a family in need.

Hallie O'Rourke, Editor-in-chief

The music blares from the speakers as students of all grade levels enjoy a time to dance and have fun with friends. Homecoming is only one of the many events planned by leadership, a program dedicated to unifying the Chantilly community and creating stronger leaders. Although the leadership classes work hard to put on multiple events for the school, sometimes their work goes unnoticed, as many students don’t realize what really goes on in Room 588.  

“[Leadership] should be important to others because we plan certain school events and work to better the school from the perspective of the students,” sophomore Camille McClain said.

This is the first year that freshmen have had the opportunity to take Leadership 1, which adds to the diverse atmosphere of the class.

A common misconception about the program is that it is the same as Student Government Association (SGA). Leadership is the name of the course students can take as an elective. Everyone in leadership is part of SGA, but not all members of SGA take a leadership class.

“I think for anyone that’s in Leadership 1, it’s an eye-opener. When you’re not in the class, you don’t really know what they do,” SGA co-sponsor and physical education teacher Becky Campbell said. “I think it was a shell-shock for the freshmen and the sophomores because you kind of get thrown into the frying pan, especially with homecoming the first week that school starts. People really don’t know what it’s like.”

The students in Leadership 1, 2 and 3 all work together in the same classroom and have multiple responsibilities and activities to complete.  

“We get agencies and every day we have to work with our agency on the task,” sophomore Haleh Begli said. “We put together the list [of what] we want to do for that certain agency, then we perform those tasks and we talk to the teachers or other agencies about how to execute those tasks.”

Because of the numerous activities that are simultaneously being planned, the workload may seem heavy at times. However, the class is meant to be an enjoyable one.

“In leadership, every day is really fun because you get to work with a bunch of [people] in the class and you get to work together to do different [things] for the school,” freshman Shane Dux said. “It’s really cool to see everything we do for the school and how it helps the school run.”

In addition to in-class activities and assignments, students must complete tasks and attend events outside of school.

“[We] have to get leadership points. To get those, you have to go to sports games, plays, choir shows or any kind of [school-sponsored] activity. You also have to do a service project,” Begli said.

Because of the collaborative community the class creates, students have a variety of opportunities to interact with those who are different from them.

“I want each of the students to have a true connection to another person who they may not have made connections with [previously],” SGA co-sponsor and social studies teacher Samantha Reynolds said. “I think that with school and friendships, everything is all about people. So if [students] can come away with and interact with another person, whether they have a conflict of interest, [need] to resolve it, or be able to work together to better an idea or a project, that’s great.”

Another change in the leadership program this year has been the addition of Reynolds as a teacher.

“[Campbell and I] are a different dynamic. I think that any change is just because of the people we have working together,” Reynolds said. “So new people, new ideas, and I think that we’ve been doing a really good job collaborating and trying to [make] people more aware of [leadership].”

A goal that transcends the classroom is how the school perceives the class and how the class interacts with the community.

“A bigger goal would be to make sure that the school knows that what we’re doing here is to help Chantilly be better,” Reynolds said. “Everyone in this class is here because they love Chantilly and want to help in any way that they can. We hope that people start to feel that collaborative message.”