Standing up to be a leader


Freshmen selected to attend the trip drew the silhouette of a leader, including details of what they think makes a good leader, like big feet that show a leader needs to fill big shoes. "I learned about other people's perspective on what it takes to make a good leader," freshman Andrew Yazdi said.

Being a leader is not easy, but giving in to peer pressure is. That is why Stand Up 9 Leadership Academy recruited freshmen to attend a leadership training on Feb. 19.

Tommie Rowe, gym teacher, is the Safe and Drug-Free leader in charge of recruiting students to join Stand Up 9. These students attended a training at Camp Wyman in Eureka, MO and participated in activities with freshmen from other Parkway schools.

“The long term goals for students that are apart of this program is to spread the word about living a drug free life at West and in our community.  We want to give our students the knowledge to make good decisions when they have the choice to be drug free or not,” Rowe said.

The students selected to be a part of this program have been recommended by teachers because they display the ability to become excellent leaders.

“I decided to jump on and just try applying to Stand Up 9, and it was a surprise to me that I was accepted. I hope to learn to be a better leader and to do the right things that will keep me away from drugs,” freshman Chris Bass said.

All of the candidates pledge to be drug-free and must succeed academically and socially in order to attend the training.

“I was really looking for a way to gain leadership experience and understand how to be a leader, so I was really happy when I was accepted to be in Stand Up 9. I hope to use the skills I learn in a situation where I need to be a role model for other people and when I need to advocate for myself and stand up for what I think is right,” freshman Colleen Smith said.

The training helped these students further develop skills needed to participate in drug-free activities for school. Next year, these students will be able to take part in High School Heroes, where students will be able to visit the middle school and educate younger students about the importance of having a drug-free life.

Teachers who are the Safe and Drug-Free leaders from other schools accompanied students to the training and led group activities and discussions to show students the importance of being a leader and setting good examples for other students.

“Living a drug free life is the best life for all people but especially for our students,” Rowe said.