Students work on leadership skills

BRANCHVILLE. The Students Against Violence Everywhere (SAVE) Club at High Point Regional High School hosts the first “Just Me” leadership summit.

| 21 Jun 2023 | 08:20

The Students Against Violence Everywhere (SAVE) Club at High Point Regional High School hosted the first “Just Me” leadership summit earlier this month.

Students from Sussex Middle School, Montague Township School and High Point met to develop their leadership skills at the Lindley G. Cook 4-H Camp in Branchville.

The summit focused on teaching students how they can lead by example and create strategies to promote social inclusion in their schools.

“The theme of ‘Just Me’ is especially important because we currently live in a world where kids are feeling more and more persuaded to change themselves and conform to certain groups, rather than expressing themselves in a healthy manner,” said Lauren Reese, a senior at High Point and secretary of the club.

Throughout the day, students met in groups to discuss leadership qualities that they possess and ways they can be leaders at their schools.

“With each new activity, it brought more inclusivity. People were more inclined to participate, bringing us together like a little community. It definitely helped them feel like they can bring about change,” said Eliona Gerbeshi.

She hopes to bring change to High Point as she serves as president of the club starting in the fall.

As a culminating activity, the summit participants created a community poem. Each student wrote about inclusivity and leadership, then all the writings were combined to create a shared poem.

This “community poem” activity was created by SAVE students in December, winning them an $750 award from the Sandy Hook Promise organization.

“The poem was anonymous, which helped everyone feel more confident sharing their voice. This helps students feel more confident within themselves and in presenting themselves,” Reese said.

Gina Ferraro, a counselor at Sussex Middle School, said, “It was awesome to see the students working together with such a variety of grade levels to discuss ideas and experiences of leadership and being themselves.”

Students Against Violence Everywhere is a national program established in 1989. There are more than 4,400 clubs throughout the United States.

High Point’s club was started about 20 years ago and received the Alex Orange Legacy Award for best overall club in the nation.