It was a day for respect and learning at Wellington High School, and all across town on Wednesday, April 18.
The WHS leadership class, along with the National Honors Society, MADD, Sumner County Community Drug Action Team (SCCDAT), and WHS staff conducted a Respect Retreat.
It was an early start to the day at 8:45 a.m. when about 25 high school juniors, and seniors; companied with high school staff members, gathered at downtown's Heritage Park before fanning out to perform various service learning projects.
From painting the steps at the Chisholm Trail Museum, to helping out at the Habitat for Humanity House, along with cleaning up the downtown area, and lending a hand at the thrift store, Sterling House, and Wheat Capital Manor, SCCDAT's Marcia Bartelson says the students took a lot away from the experience.
"The stories they tell about going out into the community were just great," she said. Meanwhile, back at the high school the freshmen and sophomores were being served a dose of manufactured realities.
"We spent class periods making up real-life scenarios that kids face all of the time," said teacher Karla DeFore; her Leadership class then observed the underclassmen faces these scenarios. "When they went through a scenario, and the made their choices they went to a room to de-brief." That's where they discussed what other choices, besides the two they were given for the exercise, that could have been made in that situation, because in true-life the options are countless.
"It gave them an opportunity to think through things that maybe they have or haven't been through before," DefFore said. "Maybe now they'll have their answer if they get into a situation like that."
In the afternoon, nationally known speaker, Bill Cordes spoke for about an hour and a half to the entire student body with his message "You only get out what you put in (yogowypi)," being the focal point. It was a good center-piece for a day built around respect and community.
"I think there was positives and negatives to the respect day," Bartelson said, with this being the first time for the event. "We plan to...learn from it and change a few things and make sure it is something the kids want to do next year, and it overwhelmingly is." The Wellington Noon Lions Club served up hamburgers, hotdogs and all the fixings in the evening at Melody Bowl in Wellington. Cordes was there along with students from Caldwell and South Haven.
A program called "Power of Parents" was presented by MADD during the evening also. Overall, the day's organizers were pleased with how everything had gone.
"These kids, they are interested and they're committed," Bartelson said. "...I'm just really proud of our County for coming together." People from the community also got involved with the Respect Retreat.
Page 2 of 2 - Wellington Mayor, Roger Stallbaumer was with one group of students picking up trash, and pulling weeds downtown.
"The beauty of it for me was the opportunity to get to hang with some good kids, that took it upon themselves to do this stuff and clean up our town," the mayor said. "...It's good to see the kids get involved and want to help clean up their community."