By Cecilia Streaker
Severna Park High School is known for stellar athletic teams, academics, clubs, music and a new school building. But it’s also unique for its Signature Program.
Each public school in the county has a special focus, from environmental literacy at Broadneck to information management at Chesapeake to homeland security at Meade.
“Severna Park's Signature Program is business, innovation and leadership, and it aims to prepare students for college and career through meaningful experience in and beyond the classroom,” said Elizabeth Colon, the program adviser. “The Leadership Institute has been around for over 10 years, but in recent years, the program has seen significant growth. While the Leadership Institute aims to prepare students to be positive leaders in their community, we have seen great growth in our students in the building as well as seen an impact through their projects in the community as a whole.”
Students of all grade levels can take basic business classes and learn the foundations of the field, but only some students are accepted into the leadership program. During freshman year, students can apply for the program. The application process includes an essay and teacher recommendation letters to give students a real-world feel of how to get into a selective program or job.
“I was so excited to get accepted into the leadership program,” said sophomore Annalou Mariner. “It’s a great group of kids and a great learning experience, and I was happy to be able to be a part of it.”
Throughout each year, leadership students in levels 1 and 2 are placed into groups that they’ve chosen and they plan and execute a service project with leadership 3 seniors. The leadership 3 seniors spend many months researching, talking to mentors, planning and organizing a service project that they think can make a difference in the community.
This year, many leadership 3 students and their team members have already started the planning process of their project.
“My group has already had two meetings and we have discussed how we are going to tackle the day we visit Glendale Elementary School,” Hunter Chadwick said.
Chadwick explained how her mission consists of a series of science projects that she and her partner put together. They then plan to go to Glendale Elementary School in Glen Burnie to teach the kids about science and how to use it in the real world.
Another project is being led by seniors Shane Carr and Sam Shirey. They are collecting new socks throughout the school and throughout the Severna Park community and donating them to people facing homelessness.
Seniors Julia Myers and Olivia Fey partnered with the foundation Best Buddies. They have sold blue ribbons at lunch periods at SPHS to raise money for children who are facing and have faced abuse in their lifetime.
“It was so amazing to see all the students come together and donate to a cause like this,” said Julia Myers, a senior. “We were able to make over $200 In donations.”
Senior Georgia Marriner and her partner teamed with Paws4people and are collecting money and supplies for service dogs that will be trained and given to people with disabilities. “Leadership has really brought the best out of me and I realized I can make a difference in my community with my project with Paws4people,” Marriner said. “I’m really glad I was able to take the class.”
Many leadership projects are happening right now in the Severna Park community and many more will get underway throughout the school year as students become eager to get out in the community and make a difference.