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In the Sandbox

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In the Sandbox

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Tara VanVliet

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I have been attending Lincoln Christian school since I was a preschooler, excited to play in the sandbox and listen to stories. Through the years I have made hand print turkeys, made a teepee in Indian Village, performed in the pilgrim play, sold candy at Mexican Market, been on a couple retreats, played in dozens of concerts, and marched in multiple marching competitions.  

Sometimes it still blows my mind that I’ve done all of this in the same school building, with the same people. For 13 years, my friends, my teachers, the classrooms, and the awful smells in the junior high hallway have been the same. This sameness leads to a routine. So many of my classmates and I have been walking these halls since we were five, growing up together and taking the same classes together. The consistency of this school can become mundane. Never changing buildings and rarely seeing new people can lead students to become bored with their environment, even if they enjoy the school they are in. So, at a class’s senior year, trying to spark leadership and change in a school that has been mundane, is difficult.  

This year, like most other years, the senior class was challenged to step outside of our comfort zone. For us, that meant supporting one another, by going to each other’s activities, events, and games. So far, our class has done a good job of supporting one another. As a band nerd, I have personally seen the rise in attendance from students in concerts and marching band competitions and a lot of that comes from our pursuit to communicate with each other. We write on the whiteboard what events we have going on, and we have a senior group chat, so we can update each other on last minute changes. These things were started by us, not the administration.  

While our senior class doesn’t need the administration challenging us to support each other, other classes in the high school need that support. The administration can do a better job of doing this. Better communication can be had between the administration and teachers and coaches so that everyone is knowledgeable about what is happening, and better planning on how to inform and encourage students in participating.  

Like I said, my class took our challenge by the administration and ran with it. We made it into something that, hopefully, will have a lasting impact. But the 2019 class has always been filled with strong, passionate personalities. We were always eager to spark a change, we just needed the platform to make that happen.  

My concern is next year, and the year after that, and the year after that. Having a class that has strong leaders who are passionate to spark change during their last year of high school is hard. And having students that are willing to support those students is harder to come by. If the administration wants to continue the student leadership of the 2019 class, they are going to have to work harder. They have to be more active in helping kids become leaders and understanding leadership comes in all different forms.  

Leadership and passion can be hard with students that have been hardened to the school. Leadership can be hard with seniors that are tired and just want to graduate. Leadership is hard in a school that doesn’t have a lot of participation in activities. But it can be done. It takes collaboration. It takes students understanding in order to change their surroundings they must communicate, not complain. It takes an administration willing to put in the leg work all year, not just during a retreat. Leadership can be done. It just takes finding the excitement of playing in the sandbox in preschool, in high school.  

 

 

 

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