For most students in Hamilton Southeastern Schools, October 31 was a normal school day spent anxiously awaiting an evening of trick or treating and Halloween parties. However, for 64 students at Fishers High School , it was a day spent at Conner Prairie filled with activities and informal lectures geared towards promoting positive leadership at school and in the community.
Out of the 2,000 students attending the school, approximately 200 were nominated by the faculty and 70 selected to receive invitations to attend the first Student Leadership Retreat.
The students traveled to the Conner Prairie Living History Museum where they were provided with breakfast and seated in groups of five or six. These groups later became their teams for the activities. Ted Weise, who works with a variety of groups around the country, led the students in activities that exemplified several aspects of being a leader such as patience, teamwork and the ability to take action.
“When we were playing the games, they just seemed like fun games and nothing else. When he explained the point of each game though, we all realized the true significance behind each activity,” said senior Ally Melvin
One activity involved the teams working together in a game similar to the television show, Family Feud. The groups had to communicate their ideas and decide what they thought were the three most popular answers for specific questions. From this game, students learned the importance of listening to everyone’s ideas before making a group decision. This was one of the things Weise emphasized throughout the day.
“Family Feud showed us the best ways to interact with each other because we had to consider everyone’s ideas in order to accomplish the main goal,” said junior Megan Roach. The students’ day culminated with a lunch provided by the school and a scavenger hunt through the grounds of Conner Prairie. The scavenger hunt involved going to the individual houses and asking the costumed characters questions in order to find the right answers. This activity taught the students the importance of not only deciding on a plan, but executing it as well.
“Learning about the 1800s was fun and I thought the rooster was pretty cool,” said senior Ross Shafer.
The students returned to school just before the day was over, with more than just another line to add to their college applications. “It’s these kinds of high school experiences and lessons that I will remember after I’ve graduated. I probably won’t remember every class lecture and definitely not every assignment I turn in, but it will be difficult to forget the exhaustion I felt after running through Conner Prairie trying to find the answers for the scavenger hunt.” said junior Stephen Guetig.
The students left the leadership retreat with reinforced leadership skills and the memory of an experience they will not soon forget.
Photo by student Ally Melvin: Fishers High School students Raquel Zacherl, Morgan Richter, Alex Colsten and Michael Dunn follow the lead of speaker Ted Weise at a recent Student Leadership Retreat at Conner Prairie.