FDSH leader starts new club

Fort Dodge Senior High students are starting a leadership club. The club is an extension of the school’s leadership class, which is in its second year.

“We’re still in the process of trying to create it,” Shelby Portz, FDSH student, said. “Basically, we had a leadership class to start off with and we were loving all the leadership things we were doing and just decided we wanted to continue on.”

Dave Keane, FDSH principal, supports the creation of a leadership club.

“I’m really excited the students enjoyed the leadership class that (FDSH instructor) Andi Adams and I wrote the curriculum for, and they like it so much they want to continue in studying leadership philosophy and methods,” he said. “I’m thrilled they’re taking the initiative to go ahead and get a club going. And I’m thrilled their purpose is to try and improve the image of our school and our community.”

He added, “I couldn’t be happier.”

The club is a work in progress, according to Portz.

“It’s still in the works, so we’re hoping to meet within the end of the month,” she said. “Our goal is to better our community, to teach leadership to our younger schools, including the elementary and middle schools, and not only teach leadership, but get projects going that involve both younger students and our high school students.”

In the leadership class, students learn “what it takes to be a leader,” Portz said.

“You learn the different types of leadership, which are effective and which ones aren’t,” she said. “We learn about positive leaders and negative leaders. One of our main projects was, we actually worked with elementary students. We went out and made this video to try to enforce the new rules they had.”

The club, ideally, would involve the class’s 20 students, Portz said.

“We’re hoping to get most of them back along with previous people that have taken the class,” she said. “I’m guessing probably a group of 15 to 20 members.”

Portz said the club will endeavor to be role models to young students.

“Elementary school is a big goal,” she said. “We know that leadership needs to be taught young.”

Already, the leadership students are involved in the community.

“The first thing we want to work on is the PPEL (physical plant and equipment levy),” Portz said. “We’re going to try to raise some awareness, try to get people to vote. That’s our first thing.”

The class in November spearheaded Operation Sandy, which went into the community to ask for donations to support relief on the East Coast. The group raised about $1,500.

Keane said it was the school’s goal to impart the importance of leadership on its students.

“We really have tried to emphasize that students need to get involved, that people need to get involved,” he said. “The leadership class has a civic action component, as does the new understanding social systems class. That’s really a big focus: ‘Don’t just complain about things; go out and do something about it.'”

According to Portz, leadership is important.

“I think it’s something that should be taught at schools,” she said, “because it’s something we’re going to need for the rest of our lives.”

The senior high’s leadership club will be brought before the Fort Dodge Community School District board as a consent agenda item for approval Monday.