LEARNING TO BE LEADERS  The 2013/2014 David Thompson Secondary School Leadership class. Photo by Dan Walton

LEARNING TO BE LEADERS The 2013/2014 David Thompson Secondary School Leadership class. Photo by Dan Walton

By Dan Walton

Pioneer Staff

Because its never too early to embark upon leadership, David Thompson Secondary School is moulding tomorrows trailblazers through its Leadership Class.

The course is atypical compared to most program structures. Its held after regular school hours, covers social topics important to the students, and puts them in the drivers seat to plan and carry out events.

Its more of a social-cultural avenue of learning opposed to an academic one, said program instructor Maegan Stanbury.

The course curriculum will find students helping out close to home on issues like the local environment and the self-esteem of other young women, while also fundraising to provide education in Equador. The class has been highly energized by the philosophies of We Day a social movement empowered by young people. Through We Day, the students adopted We Are Silent a 24-hour speaking fast to give a voice to millions of impoverished, uneducated and exploited girls around the world. The leadership class also participated in We Scare Hunger a We Day event that empowers students on Halloween to help stock the local food bank. The Day of the Girl was another international event locally embraced, which raises awareness about gender inequality around the globe.

They wanted to bring awareness against gender stereotypes and bias in the media, and how females are treated around the world, said Ms. Stanbury.

The class also organized a second Mini We Day at DTSS (the first was held last school year), inviting powerful speakers to encourage social activism among students of all grades.

Leadership student Miranda Raven, who helped to organize Mini We Day, was ecstatic about the results.

Standing on the stage and looking out and seeing all the kids smiling faces really makes you feel like you really made a difference, she said.

Evidently, gender equality and self-esteem were important issues for the 2013/2014 leadership class.

And the students were active as recently as Tuesday, June 3rd, protecting the regional watershed by painting yellow fish next to local storm drains. The fish-shaped symbols were applied to remind pedestrians where storm drain water ends up.

Being a part of the community has always been amazing, said leadership student Samantha Tyrrell. Not only do the student in the leadership class benefit from it, but we also get to provide benefits towards the community.

Samantha is particularly proud of her classs achievement of fundraising $400 for the Canadian Cancer Society over the course of the year.

Another leadership student, Grace Webber, took most pride in elevating the confidence and self-esteem of younger girls in the community.

I learned that to be a leader, you dont need to have a lot of money or a ton of knowledge you can use what you know and believe to change what other people see in themselves.

She said that, in contrast to traditional classroom projects, the leadership class offers the most rewarding results.

The class has learned that organizing events can be difficult, but, as Miranda said, if you have a good team you can conquer anything.