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Lenihan school growing its own leaders

Program builds role models

December 6, 2012
By ANDREW POTTER - Staff Writer ( , Times-Republican

Good leaders just don't fall out of trees - they have to be made.

At Lenihan Intermediate School, a new program has set out to build leaders out of a group of 40 fifth-and-sixth-grade students.

"What we want to do is build our leaders not only in the school setting, but as they go on, they will be good role models," said Liz Jurgensen, associate principal at Lenihan.

Article Photos

A group of Lenihan Intermediate School students sort canned food as part of a food drive at the school. They are part of a new student leadership program of 40 students known as Ricochet. Pictured are, from left, Jade Tejada, Wyatt Demeyer, Daisy Lopez and Coltin Grimm.

The program is called Ricochet, and it's a partnership with Iowa State University Extension. A group of students who have exemplified leadership potential in the past were invited to take part in Ricochet, which had them attend after-school sessions and seminars with school and community leaders.

"I've learned how to be a leader and how to respect other people," said fifth grader Coltin Grimm.

Two other students in the program, fifth grader Wyatt Demeyer and sixth grader Daisy Lopez, said this program has made them better listeners to the ideas of other people.

"It's not only you; you should listen to other people," Lopez said.

The sessions are now complete, and the leadership students are now moving into the action phase of the program.

This week they are conducting a food drive for the House of Compassion and are planning future service learning projects to help the community.

"This has helped me see how to act better and how to help others," Demeyer said.

It is hoped these leaders will also step up if they see someone being bullied in class. Lenihan is the first school in Marshall County to participate in this program.

Jurgensen said the program has gone well, and the teachers of these Ricochet students have noticed the leadership qualities surfacing.

"I think our teachers look to our Ricochet kids as leaders," Jurgensen said. "It's gone fabulously."



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