Leadership Projects Empower Severna Park High School Students To Serve


Through the Severna Park High School Leadership Institute, students embark on a three-year journey as they learn how to be effective leaders and make the world a better place. As the capstone project for this institute, students lead a community service project that benefits Severna Park by partnering with a local organization and advocating for an issue facing the community.

Here are the projects completed this spring.

Students Join Together To Protect The Earth

Amanda Giebels and Evan Campbell gathered a group of over 30 volunteers to attend and set up a booth for the Severna Park Earth Day Festival at the Earleigh Heights Volunteer Fire Company in April. The seniors also ran the Instagram page @spearthday for the Severna Park Earth Day Festival, an event hosted by the Good Neighbors Group, and put out yard signs throughout Severna Park to promote the festival. The students collected men’s and boys’ clothing, which they then donated to the organization HOPE For All.

Helping Heroes

Leadership III students Chip Fitzgerald and Darson Haney led a group that partnered with the Travis Manion Foundation to spread awareness for wounded veterans within the Severna Park community this spring.

The Travis Manion Foundation was started in 2007 following the death of Travis Manion, a U.S. marine in Iraq. His mother, Janet Manion, started the foundation with the goal of honoring fallen soldiers. As the foundation grew, its resources were able to spread further and reach veterans who had been injured or suffered psychological trauma as a result of their service. Coming from families with a close military background, Haney and Fitzgerald made it their goal to bring Travis Manion’s message to empower veterans into the Severna Park community.

To accomplish their goal, the pair planned a fundraiser at a varsity lacrosse game and raised $300 for the foundation. Employing the help of their group of 11 junior leadership students, they sold Travis Manion branded T-shirts to students, players and parents.

Falcons Fight Inequity On The Playing Field

Hamzah Hassan, Zach Cosh and Nathan Quinn organized a group that partnered with Leveling the Playing Field to spread awareness and funds for youth sports participation. Established in 2013, Leveling the Playing Field was born out of a pressing need to bridge the gap between those who could afford to participate in sports and those who couldn't. Since 2018, it has raised over $14 million, directly benefiting over 100,000 children in the greater Baltimore area.

To achieve their goals (raising $300, volunteering 12 hours and collecting 12 pieces of equipment), the leaders and their team of nine members collaborated with Leveling the Playing Field. They participated in an event to pack and distribute items to underprivileged children, hosted a successful restaurant night at Carini’s Pizza to raise funds, and advertised the cause at local places of worship to collect donations.

Neighbors Helping Neighbors

The leadership group led by Nate Parkison and Luke Tyler went to the local food bank SPAN (Serving People Across Neighborhoods) to organize a large donation pool from a local Boy Scout troop. In addition to volunteering, the group fundraised for the organization and collected food donations.

Parkison and Tyler chose to partner with SPAN because of shared values, proximity and the organization’s noble cause. Being just down the road from their high school allowed for a special connection between the group and SPAN.

Hearts For Hon’s

Ellie Chung and Sarah Hedenstad worked with the Hon’s Honey social enterprise this spring to support women survivors of trauma within the Baltimore community.

The girls chose to work with Hon’s Honey because of its reputable mission and cause. Founded in Baltimore, Hon’s Honey serves as an employment opportunity to women survivors of abuse, trafficking and generational poverty. Honey is sourced locally, then brought back to the enterprise to create and sell handcrafted products. The program serves to lift these women up both spiritually and financially, preparing them for other jobs or higher education.

Through social media and two rounds of classroom trivia, Chung, Hedenstad and their team of junior leaders spread the news about their project as well as the goodness of Hon’s Honey. The girls also raised over $400 in donations and volunteered over 16 hours combined at the organization in Baltimore.

Students Partner With Burgers & Bands To Promote Mental Health

Before graduating, seniors Athena Vangraefschepe and Markella Gatanas led a team of 14 juniors to promote mental health resources in local schools. They partnered with Burgers & Bands for Suicide Prevention, after a longtime relationship with the organization since middle school.

In this partnership, Vangraefschepe and Gatanas led their group members to collect donations for the charity, complete a service project and participate in Severna Park High School’s Mental Health Matters Week, organized by the Student Government Association. This week consisted of planning and participating in the schoolwide spirit week and attending self-care events. As a group, they led a trivia event during the school day and some members attended the annual mental health walk after school. To round out their project, the students raised funds for Burgers & Bands. Those funds were used for a grant for Brooklyn Park Elementary School. The girls led their group to complete a service project for the elementary school by sourcing items and assembling 25 “calm-down” fidget kits for each classroom in the school.


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