Leadership Classes At SPHS Strive To Make An Impact

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The Severna Park High School Leadership Institute aims to develop a positive attitude and spirit among students and to promote integrity, character, civic-mindedness, self-reliance, and service for the improvement of school and community.

This three-year, three-semester commitment includes leadership courses, seminars and service projects that prepare students to lead their own service project during their senior year.

Here are the senior projects completed this spring by Leadership III students.

All Hands and Hearts Abaco Island Relief
Sophie Pilon and Raquel Smith

Sophie Pilon and Raquel Smith have been working with All Hands and Hearts to raise money and spread awareness for the Abaco Islands in the Bahamas after Hurricane Dorian occurred in early September 2019. Just one week before the hurricane made landfall, Pilon was sailing around the islands with her family. After seeing the beauty of the islands and meeting so many kind people, she was inspired to base her leadership project around restoring the Abacos to their former glory.

All Hands and Hearts is an organization that engages volunteers to efficiently and effectively address the immediate and long-term needs of communities impacted by natural disasters. After Hurricane Dorian damaged or destroyed an estimated 95% of housing and infrastructure in the Abaco Islands, it took months for any repair to begin. When COVID-19 sent the world into quarantine, islanders were left with unfinished buildings and all progress to rebuild the islands was stopped.

The project's goals were to fundraise at least $350, make social media posts, and create physical flyers to distribute around the community. With the help of juniors in Leadership II, the seniors have been able to accomplish each goal.

Earth Day Festival 2021
Zoe Milne-Reynolds, Fatou Sall and Riley Wilbourne

By partnering with the local Good Neighbors Group, seniors Zoe Milne-Reynolds, Fatou Sall and Riley Wilbourne raised community awareness for the Earth conservation movement.

This year's environmental commemoration marks the 51st annual celebration of Earth Day, a global event dedicated to changing human behavior and creating global, national and local policy changes. The SPHS seniors made it their goal to bring the Earth Day celebration to community members’ homes, where they could safely participate in the festivities.

To achieve their goal, the group launched a social media campaign to increase community involvement in the festivities. The seniors created a fundraising campaign to financially support the Good Neighbors Group and fund upcoming activities, and they created and shared three educational advisory lessons with elementary, middle and high schools in the Severna Park area.

Enhancing The Lives Of Critically Ill Children
Jack Chadwick and Renata Stanescu

Jack Chadwick and Renata Stanescu partnered with the Casey Cares Foundation to raise funds and awareness to provide a pajama and movie night for children with cancer in Maryland hospitals.

The Casey Cares Foundation has been helping clinically ill children with cancer since 2000. Casey Cares helps keep families' spirits high by arranging programming, which can consist of a movie night or even attending a sporting event.

Chadwick and Stanescu completed three goals this spring semester to help the Casey Cares Foundation with a movie night. For their first goal, they collected $200 that will be used by the foundation to buy pizza gift cards for the children. With their second goal, they collected 20 movie-theater-sized snacks donated through an Amazon wish list, and with their third goal, they collected 20 pairs of new pajamas that Casey Cares will provide to the children.

From Dreamers To Dancers
Allison Chung and Jaron Givens

Seniors Allison Chung and Jaron Givens gathered a team of Severna Park High School students to collect money and dance attire that will be used to give underprivileged youth the chance to experience dance. Their project, From Dreamers To Dancers, networked in Severna Park to get the community involved in supporting the American Dance Movement and Donate 2 Dance.

From Dreamers To Dancers was able to surpass its goals of raising $350 ($660 raised) and collecting 30 pieces of dance attire (168 pieces collected).

The American Dance Movement has a goal of building healthy communities through dance by expanding access to dance, educating communities about its benefits, and inspiring generations of dance enthusiasts. Donate 2 Dance is aiming to collect, donate, and distribute gently used dance costumes and shoes to dance schools in need across the country. Studio Maestro is the dance studio receiving the donations collected by From Dreamers to Dancers.

Home Plate Heroes Hit Home Run With Charity Partners
Matthew Hong and Owen Moran

A group of seven Severna Park High School students, led by Matthew Hong and Owen Moran, raised over $400 for UMPS Care Charities, the official charity of Major League Baseball umpires. The project took place between January and May 2021 and included fundraising, social media advocacy, and writing letters to children's hospitals.

With the help of donations and volunteer work, UMPS Care provides financial, in-kind and emotional support for America’s youth and families in need, in the form of scholarships, opportunities and once-in-a-lifetime experiences.

Along with fundraising, the SPHS group also created 100 cards to send to children at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, one of the partners of UMPS Care’s BLUE for Kids hospital visit program. The group created a social media account to raise awareness for UMPS Cares and its mission, and spread it to the students of Severna Park High School.

The COVID-19 pandemic brought unique challenges to the execution of the project. Students were not permitted to meet in person or participate in in-person charity events, and meetings took place exclusively online. Nearly all of the advertising and fundraising efforts took place virtually. Each group member gained valuable leadership experience, especially how to lead in an increasingly virtual environment.

Hong and Moran credit their success to the lessons learned through the SPHS Leadership Institute, which involves three years of hands-on experience and planning of an independent student-led and professionally mentored service project. They would like to thank the UMPS Care Charities team and school performance coach Paige Chang for all their unwavering support. They encourage everyone to heed UMPS Care’s motto: “Helping people is an easy call!”

One Simple Wish
Greta Fritz and Piper Shrout

Greta Fritz and Piper Shrout raised money to grant wishes for current and former foster children through One Simple Wish.

Founder and executive director Danielle Gletow created One Simple Wish in 2008 to support current and former foster children through granting their wishes (ranging from “essentials” to “just for fun”). So far, over 20,000 children have been positively impacted by One Simple Wish, and with support from volunteers and donors, that number continues to increase. As high school seniors, Fritz and Shrout could not imagine not having the strong support and love from their families and were inspired to give others a helping hand.

To implement their project, Fritz and Shrout, alongside their team of five junior leadership students, raised over $350 to grant time-sensitive wishes (for example, rent assistance and medical bills), and overall to strengthen the support network provided by One Simple Wish. The team also wrote 70 “loved by” notes to combat the loneliness foster children might feel, showing them there are people who care about and support them. Lastly, the team created posts for their Instagram account, @sphsOneSimpleWish, to raise awareness about foster care in their community.

Oyster Recovery Project
Nicholas Armellino

Led by Nicholas Armellino, Severna Park students partnered with the Oyster Recovery Partnership (ORP) to restore oyster populations that will contribute to improving the health of the Chesapeake Bay.

The project partnered with the Oyster Recovery Partnership, an organization that works on one of the largest oyster reef restoration projects on the eastern shore of Maryland. The main focus of ORP is to restore oyster populations back into the bay by recycling old oyster shells from restaurants or other locations that are then combined with spat, or oyster larvae, to grow new oysters that are placed back into the water.

For the project, three main goals were accomplished. The first included building a shell shed to serve the community as a local donation spot for old oyster shells. Secondly, over 200 old oyster shells were collected from restaurants to donate to the Oyster Recovery Partnership; those shells will then be used to grow new oyster larvae. Finally, a family who lives on the water was recruited for the Maryland Grow Oysters (MGO) program, which raises new oyster larvae for approximately a year before they are released back into the bay.

SP For SPCA: A Long-Needed Change For Animals In Our Community
Kayla Snyder and Nalani Rios

Leadership students Kayla Snyder and Nalani Rios have partnered with the SPCA of Anne Arundel County to aid and support local animals.

The SPCA aims to provide necessities and support for the animals whose abuse is most commonly reported, such as dogs, cats, and livestock.

Snyder and Rios accomplished their goals by working effectively with a group of six junior leaders from Severna Park High School. Together they collected monetary donations and raised awareness for animal abuse and neglect. SPCA was particularly impactful to Snyder and Rios since they both had pets of their own and even recognized animal abuse on a personal level. By posting flyers, reaching out to social media groups, and extending to community members, they were effective in reaching their goals and aiding animals in the local area.

Students Open the Book on Encouraging Literacy
Erin Miskowski and Kaitlyn Mummert

Erin Miskowski and Kaitlyn Mummert created a project to encourage literacy in Severna Park. The two have been passionate about reading and literacy from a young age, and they wanted to share their passion with others through their project, entitled Literacy Leaders.

This group, composed of Miskowski, Mummert and a hardworking team of juniors at Severna Park High School, has worked to raise money for Anne Arundel County Public Library, which is celebrating its 100th year of operation this year. They have also collected books for the Maryland Book Bank, a nonprofit organization that works to improve literacy, especially in under-resourced communities. The team has even been working alongside elementary schools, submitting recordings of themselves reading children’s books for use in virtual schooling.

The pair hopes to inspire children with the same love of reading that they themselves developed at a young age. Especially during a time where children are unable to always be given direct support in a classroom setting, Literacy Leaders believes that it is crucial to give students the opportunity to develop that passion.

The team is excited to participate in the $100 for 100 years fundraising event being hosted by the Anne Arundel County Library, and the students will receive a plaque in their honor for the over $100 they were able to raise for their cause.

Students Unite With Ulman
William Mumford and Dominick Satterwhite

William Mumford and Dominick Satterwhite led a team of Leadership II students from Severna Park High School to partner with the Ulman Foundation to raise funds and awareness to combat young adult cancer.

Currently, they have more than doubled the fundraising goal of $500 and have many social media awareness posts. In addition, they had seven items donated from the Ulman House wish list. The Ulman House provides housing for young adult cancer patients receiving treatment in Baltimore. Part of their fundraising was a restaurant night at Garry’s Grill on May 6.

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