HNHS Huntington Youth Leaders share their success

HNHS Huntington Youth Leaders share their success
Posted on 05/04/2023
HYL independent group hosts a bake saleBy Kenzie Gamlin | HCCSC Communications Intern 

Huntington North High School has many clubs that operate daily, completing difficult tasks and striving to make Huntington County a better place. One of these many clubs is called Huntington Youth Leaders (HYL), an 8-month long program that is made up solely of sophomores who wish to participate in creating service projects that will benefit their community. This club is sponsored by Dave Harvey and Ruthann Rust, two HNHS teachers who wish to see underclassmen thrive in their leadership.

Each HYL group meets several times together throughout the year to go on field trips to learn and see the different leadership skills and styles that are displayed in Huntington County.

The students first learned more about their own personalities through a color personality test. This test took the daunting task of describing what kind of leader each student is. Based on a series of questions they had to answer, they were assigned a color to describe them. The colors were blue (the feeler), gold (the planner), green (the thinker) and orange (the doer). The club members continued to learn about themselves and tips on how to handle stress, leadership qualities, time management and working with others as the year progressed.

The leaders also had the opportunity to visit the Huntington County 911 Dispatch Center, City Building, Courthouse, Jail, Police Station and Victory Noll Rehabilitation Center.

The students had the opportunity to tour these buildings and meet with leaders who fall under these roofs, including Director of Combined Dispatch Tim Allen, Jail Sergeant Dan Cohen, Judge Jennifer Newton, Sheriff Chris Newton, Jail Commander Deb Myer, Judge Davin Smith and Mayor Richard Strick. Students learned some of the responsibilities of these people and places and started brainstorming on what they could do to give back to Huntington County.

On top of learning about the government of Huntington County, the sophomores took a trip to Huntington University to take a tour of the campus and learn about the resources that the college has to offer. On top of visiting the campus, they also learned about dinner etiquette and financial responsibility.

HCCSC Superintendent John Trout also taught the students about interview etiquette, giving them tips on how to show themselves off for being the best individual for future job endeavors.

While visiting all these places and learning how to make themselves into the best leaders they can be, the group of almost 30 sophomores split themselves into five smaller branches. These branches met many times in the group and outside of the group to create ideas that would give back to the community that they live in.

Each branch had until their graduation from the HYL program on March 6 to finish their independently created service-based project to present to their friends, family and teachers at their graduation ceremony.

A group of six leaders— Haiden Bailey, Sarah Crist, Carissa Gasper, Emma Hohe, Gwyn Penrod and Marissa Trout— partnered up with the organization Love, Inc. for their project. They focused on raising money for the organization through bake sales at two basketball games. To do this, they had to communicate with HNHS Athletic Director Jeremy Markham to approve their bake sale stand and take a $40 loan out of the HYL account to start their baking. Using their skills of advertising, cooperation, financial responsibility and, of course, baking, the group raised $544.58 for Love, Inc.

Another five-person branch of the 2022–23 HYL group consisted of Gabby Betterly, Isaac Grogg, Chloe North, Lilly Poling and Mya Wolf. These students based their group off of spreading awareness against student substance abuse. They brainstormed for many weeks on how they would like to spread this awareness and they came up with the idea of selling t-shirts; not only will these shirts spread awareness when they are worn, but with the profit they make they can donate to a cause they feel passionate about. In this case, they donated to Place of Grace, a women’s transitional home located in Huntington.

The group branded their idea as Students Against Substance Abuse (SASA). These shirts displayed their name, SASA, what they stood for and the phrase “Life can get better.” The t-shirt profit came back and they donated $110.18 to Place of Grace and walked away from this project hoping to see their shirts spread awareness to the dangers of adolescent substance abuse.

The third branch of leaders came together to celebrate and spread their religion through a worship service branded as the “Glimpse of God.” This group consisted of five students, Brady Averill, Hailey Hoffman, McKenna Landrum, Ella Newton and Jacelynn Sunderman. The students planned two worship sessions at Union Church, one for middle school students and another for high school students. The goal of this session was to reach as many people as possible in spreading the word of God, steer students away from using unhealthy coping mechanisms and have fun growing closer to God together.

The group worked together to overcome scheduling problems and found help from Campus Life Director Liz Irick and Union Church Youth Pastor Trever Jones to put on a good service. It was a challenge to do all of these things to create the vision they had in mind, but exactly the skills that leaders need to have when conflicts arrive.

Another group continued to spread the word of their religion by resparking the HNHS Bible Club. The HNHS Bible Club was a club for many years but fell in and out of popularity and eventually found itself sizzled out. The group was made up of Annika Carpenter, Jonah Renkenberger, Alyson Reust, Max Roborck and Maleah Warpup and hoped to bring this club back to light and share it with their peers.

Creating a high school club is a difficult task, one that takes many approvals and much support. The group ran into many difficulties finding those who could do these things but have found progress in setting up their club. They hope that this club can make an impact at HNHS and be held at the school for many years, both before and after their graduation. They hope to meet during study halls and break periods and learn more about Christianity and the word of the Bible.

The final group working to serve the community in their independent projects were five students who created a hygiene drive to donate their materials to Inspiration Ministries, a Christian-based recovery service organization. The five students, Kirah Klepper, Grace Michel, Izzie Miller, Lainey Thompson and Camryn Working, thought long and hard about what they would do for their project and inevitably decided they wanted to do a hygiene-project drive to help those in need to have the products they need to be happy, healthy and clean.

Initially, they ran into some troubles finding organizations that would be willing to collect hygiene products. Many schools already had their own donation drives occurring, so the group continued on to asking local churches. They found one church that offered to help head the drive and collect products and monetary donations. At the end of their drive, they were able to donate many items to Inspiration Ministries and used the monetary donations to buy additional hygiene products to be donated as well.

These groups worked together throughout the school year to create projects that themselves, their peers and many others around them could be proud of. They were able to show their projects at the graduation ceremony, where sponsors Harvey and Rust introduced the groups and offered light snacks and beverages for guests to munch on.

Now, as the school year comes to a finale, both sponsors are looking for incoming HNHS sophomores to continue the HYL group and have the opportunity on how to become a leader and how to create their own independent service-based project.

If you are an incoming HNHS sophomore and are interested in being a part of HYL, please contact Ruthann Rust through email at [email protected] or Dave Harvey through email at [email protected].
Carissa Gasper, Emma Hohe and Gywn Penrod hosting their bake sale.
A Group picture of the Huntington Youth Leaders.
Huntington Youth Leaders during a tour of the Huntington County Dispatch Office.
HCCSC Nurse Meg Friesen speaks with the Huntington Youth Leaders about taking care of themselves and their minds.
Huntington Youth Leaders Students Against Substance Abuse group posing for a picture.
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