Leadership Academy Builds Positive Role Models at NHS

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North High School kicked off its seventh annual Leadership Academy on Oct. 8, during which student leaders across all categories participated in training activities and team-building exercises. The program meets multiple times throughout the year and focuses on teaching attendees to be the best leaders they can be.

Students in various leadership positions — ranging from team captains to officers and chairpersons of clubs and organizations — took part in this opportunity. They practiced effective communication, demonstrated the characteristics of positive role models and explored the significance of courage.

Leadership Academy advisors Vanessa Coppeto and Jennifer DiMaio coordinated the half-day of training and activities, which were run by members of the senior class who had completed the program in prior years. They guided their younger peers in cup and rubber band challenges that required clear articulation of instructions, role-playing workshops in which students acted out various situations, discussions on doing right in the face of adversity, exercises that involved guessing words based on others’ descriptions, brainstorming sessions on ways to be positive role models, and more.

“The effective communication exercises make you see that what you say really does affect other people,” said Nicole Evangelista, one of the senior leaders. She described the lasting influence that the program has had on her own life. “It showed me how a leader is supposed to be, and I was able to change for the better. You can be a leader no matter what – you don’t have to be a captain, but can be a leader in the classroom and in everyday life.” Nicole is president of the Career and Technical Education Honor Society, a member of the National Honor Society and Science Honor Society, captain of the varsity volleyball team, and a member of the varsity lacrosse and varsity basketball teams.

Following the morning of student-run sessions, Ms. Coppeto and Ms. DiMaio brought the entire group together to reflect on the experience.
“The students learned to be better communicators and to demonstrate positive leadership qualities,” Ms. Coppeto said. “They understand how to react in difficult scenarios.”

A future Leadership Academy meeting will be led by Principal James Bolen and will concentrate on personality aspects. Later in the school year, the group will visit Project Adventure to further enhance their teamwork and leadership skills.