The Official Student News Site of Orono High School

The Spartan Speaks

The Official Student News Site of Orono High School

The Spartan Speaks

The Official Student News Site of Orono High School

The Spartan Speaks

Orono High School Leaders Mentor Young Minds

Lily Munsch
Senior Lily Munsch mentors Tuesdays and Thursdays at Schumann Elementary.

Leadership in Action Overview
This year marks the start of the mentoring program through the Leadership in Action course at Orono High School and it has continued to demonstrate the positive impact that leadership can have in the Orono community. Juniors and seniors at Orono High School take time throughout their week to volunteer at Schumann Elementary where they mentor students and complete tasks given to them by teachers at the elementary as a part of their semester-long service project through the Leadership in Action course.

Leadership has been a course taught at Orono for over fifteen years, this year being co-taught by Social Studies teacher Michelle Naylor and English teacher Grace Nohner, where they have started to make some changes. According to the OHS Course Catalog, Leadership in Action is designed for students looking to develop and expand their leadership skills while also working to improve the culture of the Orono community.

This year, students will also use their skills in a service learning project over the semester. Naylor explained that in the former leadership class students would learn leadership skills but did not have the opportunity to apply their skills in the real world.

“It is really invaluable and important for seniors to understand that a leader isn’t just a person with a title,” Naylor said.

Through the Leadership in Action class, students will be able to answer the four core questions as stated in the course syllabus: What is leadership? Who are you as a leader? What areas will you strengthen in leadership? Where can you be a leader in the Orono community?

What is the goal of the mentoring program?
Before choosing the mentoring program for their service opportunity, students are prompted to think about needs in their community and in Orono. They are also encouraged to speak to stakeholders in the community to identify needs that can be filled and identify their strengths and skills that they can effectively apply to their projects, according to the Student Project Playlist for the Leadership in Action course.

Through reconstructing this course, Naylor and Nohner have identified goals that they hope the mentoring program will achieve by students using the leadership skills they learned in class.

“We want students to build community, create connections, and help other people,” Nohner said.

Students have embodied these goals by creating their own. Some are using the service opportunity to expand their skills for the future.

“I’m going to be a Journalism major. I want to learn the most effective way to communicate with all ages, and I want to help students and benefit them,” Senior Lily Munsch said.

Others want to foster relationships with the younger generations and give back to their community.

“Through working with an Intermediate school student who was learning English, I hoped to make a small impact on a child in my community. In the future I want to work with kids and continue to make an impact on children in my community so this experience was a perfect fit for me,” Senior Audrey Sanden said.

What the Future Looks Like
Orono has a bright future ahead through the leaders they are continuing to grow and empowering to go out in the world. Both Naylor and Nohner emphasize the power leadership can have on others and individuals who are leaders. Students are also encouraged to think about who a leader is in new ways.

“I think at Orono it’s important because a lot of times leaders get tapped because they’re like the loudest person in the room. And oftentimes that person isn’t actually the most capable leader,” Naylor said.

Leadership in Action aims to equip students with leadership skills to make them stand out in their future career path as well as their academic career. Naylor mentioned students can use their leadership skills to bridge generations. A colleague of Naylor’s and Orono High School Marketing teacher, Keith Jurek, said that culture isn’t going to change just for you; in regards to students needing the skills to carry out a formal conversation in person, thinking through projects, team work, and listening.

Students recall that the most beneficial skills they have gained through the mentoring program is communication and being a true leader in all aspects of their lives.

“Not only being a strong leader, but a kind, patient, and understanding leader goes a long way when working with children. We are their role models so it is important that we demonstrate good leadership skills to them so they can in turn become leaders themselves,” Sanden said.
With dedicated leaders at Orono and the leadership characteristics demonstrated to the younger generations, the current mentees will become the mentors within the next ten years.

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About the Contributors
Natalie Widen
Natalie Widen, Staff Reporter
Hi, my name is Natalie Widen. I am a senior this year and have been at Orono since kindergarten. Outside of school, I enjoy water sports and being with friends and family. I am going to college for nursing.
Lily Munsch
Lily Munsch, Staff Writer
Hi! My name is Lily Munsch, and this is my first year writing for the Spartan Speaks. I am on the Orono Dance Team, and in my free time I enjoy going out on the lake and hanging out with friends. I am excited to report on events happening around OHS this year!

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