Opinion: Why is Leadership not appreciated?

Feature Photo By: Connor Rodenbeck – Seniors Lizzie Stacks and Trinity Stevenson speak with Mrs. Gebhardt at the first ever Bounce-A-Palooza. Gebhardt has taken the helm of this class this year, replacing former adviser Mrs. Strouse.

By: Connor Rodenbeck, Review Staff

Recently, a senior walked in on a Leadership homecoming workday held in the Art Department. He looked at the painted cut-outs and glittered posters before saying, “So you guys are the ones who do homecoming and stuff?” We simply nodded and he left.

So many people think that Leadership is just as bunch of snobby students who put on events like homecoming. They are wrong in so many ways.

Leadership is so much more than just the events that happen at school throughout the year. A lot of people might say that students in Student Leadership are goody two-shoes, know-it-alls, and privileged. They think that all they do is put on events like homecoming and prom. But do they ever actually think about the impact that they have on the school?

At Rangeview, the student council is a class called Student Leadership. It’s one of the largest classes in the school with 75 students. There are student body officers, class officers, and delegates from every grade that make up the class.

To be in Leadership, students have to run for a position in January and go through an intensive election process that includes a resume, interview, and campaigning.

Their schedule looks something like this:

  • Monday: Temporary and Standing Committee workdays
  • Tuesday: Class meetings
  • Wednesday: Reporting out
  • Thursday: Leadership lessons
  • Friday: Bonding and workday for any committee that needs it

Don’t know what some of these things are? I’ll break it down for you.

Temporary Committees are committees for events like Homecoming, Talent Show, Mr. RHS, or Bubble Soccer. Standing Committees are the ones that Leadership members stay in all year, including ones like Community Service, Teacher Appreciation, and Communication.

Reporting out is a formal business meeting that all of Leadership attends. Maybe you have seen people in Leadership wearing nice clothes on Wednesdays. This is a meeting where every committee head reports on their status and what they need to get done in the next week.

Freshmen class president Zakary Nfaoui speaks in front of Leadership in fourth period. Every Wednesday, Leadership reports out in a formal business meeting to maintain good communication. (Connor Rodenbeck)

Leadership lessons are given by students; they teach everyone about subjects like communication, vulnerability, and accountability.

Yes, a lot of Leadership is bonding and having a good time. But what people don’t understand is that this bonding isn’t just fun and games; in order to work well together and effectively lead, a good relationship must be built.

Leadership is probably the most demanding class for a majority of students involved, even while most Leadership students are in honors and AP classes and participate in clubs or sports.

Underappreciation is something that concerns many Leadership students, making them wonder if all of their hard work is worth it.

Senior and Student Body President Nadya Nfaoui knows this struggle all too much.

She eloquently gave insight on this, stating, “A common misconception is that Leadership consists of only homecoming. But Leadership is a mass collection of events made for the student body and the community.”

She says that she believes that much of what Leadership does is overlooked by administration and the student body alike.

“We are here to help any organization and to just foster a community of care and a school culture that is inclusive, fun-loving, and proud,” she says. “Admin and students tend to gloss over those facts.”

However, not everyone feels this way. Mrs. Gebhardt, the new Leadership Adviser this year, thinks that students simply don’t know the time and effort that is put into the school by Leadership members.

A lot of people think that getting into Leadership will just look good on college applications. Yes, that is true; but beyond that, it teaches students valuable lessons in how to lead. It isn’t all just silly songs and event planning.

She states, “I think they would think the leadership students were crazy if they knew all the hard work they were putting in.”

It’s understandable that the average student doesn’t grasp the amount of work that Leadership puts in. It’s unacceptable that so many Leadership members feel unappreciated by the administration.

Seniors Danyion Reagan and Gavin Kunn work on homecoming decorations at an all-nighter. Most Leadership Students worked over 50 hours on homecoming. (Connor Rodenbeck) 

Many feel as though the school wouldn’t run without Student Council taking leadership in creating a fun and accepting atmosphere through the execution of events. I don’t think that Leadership is asking for a bouquet of thank you notes from the office, but a sincere word of gratitude would be satisfying enough.

Ronald Fay, Rangeview’s Principal, commented on the question of underappreciation. He said that he, in fact, appreciates Leadership very much and that he can’t answer why the student body doesn’t.

He then stated that the angle of this article should be more about “why do the students feel that way?”

Somehow, this answer seemed to evade the question entirely. Obviously it is understood that he can’t speak for the students or administration; but, as the leader of the school, he should be able to give a thoughtful opinion on why leadership has such a negative connotation.

He later said, “Could I improve in terms of saying “thank you” and showing more appreciation for what they do? Absolutely.”

This acknowledgement that he could be doing better at showing appreciation is a step in the right direction.

This feeling of underappreciation has a simple remedy: a meaningful “thank you” now and then. Mr. Fay hasn’t done anything wrong. I think that school wide–staff and students alike– recognition of the hard work Leadership does would be enough.

Leadership has always cultivated a group of strong students who work very hard. This year has been a learning experience with the departure of Tammy Strouse as Adviser. Her replacement, Mrs. Gebhardt, has done an exceptional job taking the helm. 

Leadership Adviser Mrs. Gebhardt teaches a leadership lesson to the class. Every week, leadership lessons are presented by students, teaching skills like communication and vulnerability. (Connor Rodenbeck) 

“The transition has been a challenge like any transition,” Gebhardt states. “There is always going to be people that do not invite change, and that is okay! I have enjoyed teaching the class and every day is a learning experience on how I can improve.”

Leadership students have had to deal with this transition, the stress of homecoming, and the constant feeling of being overlooked. Strouse was an expert at teaching leadership and always had a way of making sure everyone in the class knew how amazing they were.

She is now working in the office as a Vice-Principal. She will no doubt be missed for her ability to bring even the most extravagant ideas to life. Perhaps Leadership is underappreciated, but her exuberance and expertise will eternally be recognized by those who have had her.

Leadership will continue to thrive. A lack of appreciation won’t make this wonderful organization crumble. Leadership may be rigorous, but it is also rewarding.

Leadership’s biggest event, homecoming, wrapped up last week; however, this year still has many great things in store. From Make-A-Wish, to volunteer work, to staff appreciation week, Leadership will work hard in everything that they do.

Nadya said, “It is definitely going to be a great year for Rangeview Leadership.”

She is right in so many ways.

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