Op-ed: Roosevelt students plan canned food drive, fresh out of leadership retreat

36th Annual TRHS Leadership Retreat. Submitted photo

By Paige Thompson

Theodore Roosevelt High School hosted the 36th Annual TRHS Leadership Retreat at Camp Wanake in Beach City for 75 student delegates on Oct. 29 and 30. This year’s theme, “The Recipe for Leadership: What do YOU bring to the table?” highlighted the importance of the students’ individual “ingredients” that make them unique, and how they can see that uniqueness in their peers to better their leadership skills.

During the course of the two-day retreat, delegates and planning committee members worked to foster their leadership skills through activities such as small group workshops, motivational keynote speakers, and interpersonal group discussions.

Because of the pandemic, this year’s retreat had a few changes. The retreat was shortened by a day, was not overnight and was required to remove some of its traditional activities. However, this did not prevent the student leaders from learning, growing and bringing their insights back into the halls of Roosevelt.

The leadership retreat planning committee worked diligently to continue the legacy of the retreat against all odds. The nine Roosevelt seniors on the committee were Nicholai Barak, Sami Baron, Charlotte Crowe, Claire Fried, Blake Green, Sydnie Leavery, Jeremy Schuch, Paige Thompson, and Takera Worley, along with co-advisers Charles Bowman, Christina Dreher-Rodesheim and Heidi Jurging.

To assist in the intensive planning process, each planning committee member chose an assistant delegate. The assistants to the planning committee were Johnpaul Antalek, Parker Balan, Charlie Beutel, Rachel Booher, Jackson Fankhauser, Bella Fried, Logan Poole and Lily Schiller-Stacey.

In order to promote a more equitable environment for students, this year’s application process was available to all students, regardless of their involvement within clubs/organizations at TRHS. Applications for the retreat were open to all sophomores, juniors, and seniors at Roosevelt (including any Career-Tech Education students in programs at Roosevelt).            

There were two keynote speakers at this year’s retreat, who shared meaningful and inspiring stories with the delegates. One of the speakers was Jerry Peña, who spoke about his inspirational life story growing up in Chicago and moving to Cleveland. The second speaker was Marcquis Parham, a Theodore Roosevelt HS alum who now works at Ohio University, who spoke about the importance of community and setting goals.

The chaperones and teachers who volunteered their time assisting on buses, preparing snacks and running the workshops were huge assets to the success of the retreat. These volunteers include John Roebke, Daniel Vannoy, Jessica Evanson, Charles Bowman, Hana Brammeier, Jeff and Julie Coffee, Brady DeRemer, Jen Flaherty, Chris Hibbs, Mary Knight and Will Kulis.

Although the pandemic prevented the usual community leader delegate discussion, these chaperones helped provide the discourse that showed delegates how they can bring what they learned back to the Roosevelt and Kent communities.

After the recent retreat, planning committee members, delegates and the advisers are planning the annual community-wide canned food drive for Kent Social Services, in order to give back to the community and to promote the positive qualities of a leader. Because of the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, this year’s canned food drive is particularly important to Kent Social Services, as it is traditionally their most successful donation throughout the year. In the past, this canned food drive has collected up to 14,000 cans. Each of the Kent schools will be participating, including a class competition at the high school.

The first can collection date is Nov. 13 at the RHS Community Craft Show (held in the high school’s cafeteria). Community members are invited to drop off canned goods in the Roosevelt Cafeteria from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the craft show. Additionally, on Nov. 20, retreat delegates will be collecting drop-offs at the same location (the TRHS cafeteria) from 9-11 a.m.

For more information on the retreat or food drive, please contact Charles Bowman, Christina Dreher-Rodesheim, or Heidi Jurging at 330-676-8772.

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