Born to Lead
With the support of the Windham Foundation, two WAJ high school students embarked on a one-of-a-kind experience where they met new people, enhanced their leadership skills, and had a memorable time.
Rotary Youth Leadership Camp
Samantha Aplin, a rising junior at WAJ, had the honor of attending the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA), where she learned the importance of leading and being a role model for her community. “Over the course of the camp we did many activities to build our confidence and social skills.”, Samantha said, “Everyone was positive and welcoming; I made lifelong friends. RYLA shaped me into a better and more confident member of my community.” Activities included an art project to express ideas and creativity, a square dance which allowed participants to step out of their comfort zone, and many others highlighting aspects of being an effective leader. Coordinated through the Windham Rotary Club, this program proved to be a fulfilling experience. We are confident that Sam will display her leadership skills to the fullest potential in years to come.
Kristopher Gonzalez, a rising senior at WAJ, attended the American Legion Boys’ State at SUNY Morrisville, June 25 – July 1. In a more structured setting, students learned about the importance of discipline, respect, order, and patriotism as well as how the United States government operates. As the only student to attend from Windham Ashland Jewett Central School District, Kris had the opportunity to represent the entire district in a state-wide event.
Individuals from all over New York gathered in this amazing experience. Adding a sense of reality, participants were divided into counties within the state, and then cities within the counties. “I was in the county of Roosevelt and the city of Yermas. Within an hour, everyone in the city felt like one big family,” Kris said.
The citizens of Boys’ State were given a packed schedule as they participated in 6 a.m. physical training and evening meetings that drifted late into the night. A significant part of the program was the mock legislative sessions in which the boys held debates and conducted elections to select government positions including a Boys’ State governor. In addition to their government forums, the delegates heard distinguished guest speakers, learned about the sacrifices of the American military and had the honor of being taught by United States Marine soldiers. “It was a great experience. I hope future Boy Staters’ have as much enthusiasm as we did.”