Kiowa County Junior High Impact
Impact began at Kiowa County Jr. High in 2008. In it's beginning, it was a pretty exclusive group. Students were encouraged to apply for one of only four positions per grade level and those 12 selected students in 6th, 7th and 8th grades received some leadership training and experience. In the beginning, they planned social activities and designed and ordered t-shirts for the junior high kids. "After a couple of years of that, I noticed that there were some students with great leadership potential who either weren't very skilled at filling out applications or who just didn't want to go through the process of filling out applications and obtaining letters of reference. I soon began to see that I didn't want Impact to be an exclusive group, but rather an all-inclusive group, where anyone who wanted to dip their feet in the water of leadership could do so," said Mrs. Headrick, Impact Sponsor and KCJH Counselor.
In 2010, Impact became an open-membership group consisting of several committees on which students could serve. There are also two different levels of involvement, member or student chairperson. Those who want a higher level of leadership and responsibility can apply for a chair position by filling out an application and obtaining two letters of reference. "The application process is an important skill for students to learn, and we take a day to train kids in that process before the application is due. We talk about little things like filling out applications neatly and in pen and spelling things correctly, as well as bigger things like meeting deadlines and being thorough in listing activities and experiences that students have had," Headrick said. Students are also instructed to ask for one school reference and one non-school, non-family reference and to give those people ample time to write a letter of reference and return it to the school on their behalf. The chairs (and sometimes co-chairs) are selected in May and assigned to one of our committees to serve the following school year.
In addition to the student chairs, a really important member of each committee is the faculty advisor. "Without the help of the faculty advisors, the committees would not have the ability to be as productive as they are. The success of this program is largely due to the efforts of our individual staff members who take on this role with no financial compensation," said Headrick. All of our teachers that are full-time KCJH teachers (plus a few who only work with JH part-time) advise one of our 6 committees. The following is a list of our committees and the teachers who advise them.
Social Activities: Mr. Cesmat (7th/8th Science and Social Studies)
Fundraising: Mrs. Ballard (7/8th Reading and English)
Maverick Pride: Mrs. Derstein (KCJH Principal) and Mr. Lingafelter (KCJH JAG / Girls Basketball Coach)
Character Crew: Mrs. Pore (6th-8th Math) and Mrs. Covey (5th-8th Resource Room)
Publications: Mrs. Wade (HS Journalism) and Mr. Ploger (6th Grade)
Video Production: Kathy Headrick (with a LOT of help from Grant Neuhold at the Kiowa County Media Center).
Each KCJH Impact member serves on one committee. Each committee has 5-8 members. Impact meets once a week as a whole group and then, every other week, each committee meets with the faculty advisor and student chair. Each committee has a mission statement and plans events and activities that align with that mission statement. Some of the events that committees have facilitated over the years follow:
Maverick Pride has made posters for the Maverick teams during each sports season to encourage them, purchased spirit items for our student section at games, and made locker tags to encourage athletes each season. As part of our character education program, they took a turn with our value of the month and organized a trip to Cherokee, Oklahoma to package food for the hungry through an organization called Kids Against Hunger. The students packaged more than 13,600 meals during this community service trip and this has become an annual event for KCJH.
Video Production works to highlight the positive things that happen at KCJH by producing videos and PSAs for the website and for live stream productions of KCHS high school events. Students on this committee are also instrumental in the live stream productions of high school sporting events. Video Production hosted a gratitude breakfast as a part of our character education program.
The Social Activities committee continually works on ways to plan fun and cost-effective activities where students can develop meaningful friendships. They often invite Haviland students over for dances and parties.
Maverick Green Team (which has been discontinued for the 2015-16 school year) has helped with recycled paper at the school and planned an ecology fair for our elementary school, where younger kids come to learn about sustainable practices and the green lifestyle. They also planned an activity entitled LOVE KC, which was a trash clean up day for Mullinville and Greensburg and they also challenged the Haviland Jr. High students to do the same in their town. This activity was a part of our character education activities.
Character Crew in the past has made visits to the Sr. Center here in town to foster relationships between the school and the center. They organized an Operation Christmas Child gift drive. This committee works to spread the character message and to be of service to their school and community.
The fundraising committee is responsible for operating the popcorn stand at home high school events. That is the primary revenue source for Impact. In the past, they have hosted a 5K for Kindness as a part of our character education program where students ran in honor of someone who has shown kindness. Honorees were invited to attend the race.
Publications is a new committee for the 2015-16 school year. This group is learning to operate a camera and learning some journalism skills. They are writing stories each month about things happening at KCJH and will learn layout software (such as is used in yearbook) and will learn journalistic social media etiquette.
In addition, many Impact students volunteer for events around town. Our students help Kiowa County EMS with their CPR Flash Mob skit at a home basketball game each year. Our students have volunteered at the Sr. Center and even work on independent service projects during the year.
These are just a few of the student-led activities that wouldn't happen in our building if it weren't for the leadership of our students. Mrs. Derstein, KCJH Principal, says, "Impact has empowered our students to take on leadership roles. Instead of standing around complaining, they look for solutions. Our kids have a lot of ownership in our school climate."