SIOUX CENTER—Purchasing new equipment seventh- and eighth-grade students to use during intramural sports is on Sioux Center Christian School’s to-do list for the 2019-20 school year as a result of a proposal a group of students made to the Christian school board.
The proposal was one of three presented to the school board Tuesday, May 28, by eighth-grade students who were part of the school’s first Trailblazer Leadership Council.
Head of school Josh Bowar implemented the 12-member council this year. Each of the members — Derek Heynen, Leyton Roetman, Caden Yesda, Tate Van Regenmorter, Cambree De Jong, Brooklyn Vander Veen, Hunter Hofland, Jonathan Breems, Lauren Vander Plaats, Kryn Vander Berg, Stella Winterfeld and Lauren Vande Griend — were nominated by teachers and then Bowar met with them individually to see if they would be interested.
“I wanted to put this together this year because I have a passion for leadership and want students to understand what it means to be a servant leader,” Bowar said. “I want them to have lots of opportunities to practice that at school. Our world needs positive leadership, and I want students to be able to fill those roles both now and in the future.”
He met with students over lunch hour twice a month during which he talked with the students about different leadership skills. To put servant leadership into practice, Bowar also gave the students an assignment: To identify a need in school, a possible solution and present them to the school board at the end of the school year for the school board to vote on one project to implement for next year’s students.
“Once you took away the fact that we wouldn’t benefit from the change, that changed my perspective of finding a problem,” said Vander Plaats. “It took away my whining and made me actually think about a need other students might have.”
Knowing the school board was going to choose an option made students a bit nervous but more focused.
“It’s not comfortable standing in front of adults like that but knowing you might have an impact for other students made me more motivated,” said Kryn Vander Berg.
The three problems identified by the council were:
# The need for updated bathrooms in the third-grade hallway (by the former front office).
“These stalls are short for a lot of the older kids who use them,” said De Jong. “Also, the younger kids have a lot of color in their bathrooms. Ours are white or off-white. They’re just blah.”
The students proposed the school board update the stalls and paint the walls.
# Purchasing new equipment for intramural sports.
“Our deep hope is that by updating equipment and adding more options for students, that kids can spend more time with their classmates doing fun things,” said Heynen. “In the past the was only one option and students had to be hunted down because they weren’t participating so school got rid of intramurals. We think more options, better equipment could help students be more interested.”
# Giving fifth- through eighth-grade students more community service opportunities by allowing a grade each month do a service project, which would add up to twice a year — once each in the fall and spring.
“Our deep hope is to be able to give back to the community more,” Vande Griend said. “The community helps support our school so we want to support the community.”
The school board spent about 20 minutes discussing the options before casting their votes on scratch pieces of paper.
Lisa Mouw, director of learning, said the school is in discussion with Dordt University’s engineering department regarding building a few outdoor elements that would enhance options available to students in upper grades. She added, too, that more community service is already being implemented in the lower grades.
The majority of the board voted for purchasing new equipment for intramural sports could aid what’s already underway for student activities next year. They also noted bathroom updates are something to consider for the future as well.