Character rocks!
Student leaders learn values, character skills

Jennifer Brumback
Ramstein American High School teacher

***image1***During the month of October, student body leaders from Ramstein American High School participated in a Character Rocks Program presented by Phil Baker of Sioux Falls, S.D. The event was sponsored by the RAHS’s Parent Teacher Student Association.

Mr. Baker presented the High Performance Youth Leadership Training to a group of 41 students representing Student Council, class and club officers, and athletic teams.

“We wanted to give students the opportunity to bond and work together toward a common goal of strengthening leadership within our school,” said PTSA President Renee Norris.

Mr. Baker challenged students to examine the Six Pillars of Character and their importance in developing strong leadership within the school. He defined the Six Pillars as trustworthiness, respect for others, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship.

Activities included an ice-breaker, student-created skits and jingles, making of citizenship collages and self-evaluations of personal character. Thought-provoking questions and scenarios were used to generate whole- group and small-group discussions.

These activities motivated senior Maria Alfaro to develop a concept for a campaign to promote the idea of integrity as a characteristic of respect. Ms. Alfaro hopes to take this idea back to RAHS.

“There are great ways to encourage people to respect their fellow students. This workshop gave us the opportunity to acknowledge the importance of respect between students,” she said.

“It was neat to represent the clubs that I am involved with and to hear my classmates’ thoughts on character,” said Connie Wilson, a senior involved in JROTC and cheerleading. “It is refreshing to hear that they care about and know the importance of character.”

Sophomore Michael Parson, a class officer and representative of NJHS, said that he was walking away from the training with a better idea of skills related to leadership, public speaking and interaction with his peers.

Seven volunteers assisted with the training. Jan Garn, RAHS guidance counselor, shared her hopes for the outcome of the training.

“We hope that these young leaders will take what they have learned at this workshop and use it to impact the student body in a positive way,” she said.

Mr. Baker encouraged the students to do just that. “Take the Six Pillars and share your experiences to help make your school a better place,” he said.