NEW LONDON — A leadership group for fifth grade students at Kearsarge Regional School District has expanded this school year, welcoming more students than ever before.
A group of 16 students from Kearsarge Regional Elementary School at New London, Kearsarge Regional Elementary School at Bradford, Simonds School and Sutton Central Elementary School were selected this fall for the group by faculty based on demonstrated leadership skills.
“The Fifth Grade Leadership group is a great way for students who display leadership qualities at a young age to expand on those skills, all while collaborating and building relationships with their peers,” Superintendent Winfried Feneberg said. “It’s exciting to see the group expanding, and I’d like to thank our faculty members who have made this wonderful opportunity possible for our students.”
Students in the group from Simonds Elementary School include Zoe Poret, Riley Raynes, Jayden Mayo and Killian Considine, all of Warner. Kearsarge Regional Elementary School at Bradford students in the group include Lea High and Layla Morgan, both of Newbury, and Eli Whipple and Kim Kirkell, both of Bradford. Sutton Elementary School students in the group include Lulu Carney, Sutton and Ollie Smith, all of Sutton. Lastly, students in the group from Kearsarge Regional Elementary School at New London include Elizabeth “Libby” Beckman, of New London; Aiden Ayers, of New London; Will Marchand, of Wilmot; Cameron Brand, of Wilmot; and Molly Dude, of New London.
In previous years, the district’s Fifth Grade Leadership Group has met to participate in activities lead by counselors to strengthen their skills. This year, the district accepted four more students into the group than in previous years, and expanded the program to include leadership training through service learning opportunities and off-campus initiatives.
The group meets about every two months for a leadership activity, which is planned by school counselors from each school.
This school year, the group took part in an Up With Kindness training at Simonds Elementary School, which involved team building activities and promoted kindness and respect. Up With Kindness is an organization founded by Percy Hill, a former Kearsarge administrator, which works with student leadership groups to promote acceptance and prevent bullying.
Students in the leadership group have also supported the Community Action Program (CAP) in Warner. Each elementary school came together earlier this school year to fund a community service opportunity for the students, collectively providing the group with $200 to shop for food items, which they donated to CAP on Wednesday, Jan. 15. The Fifth Grade Leadership Group also organized a collection of toiletry and paper good items.
“One thing I really like about the student leadership program is going out into the community to help people in need,” said Aiden Ayers, a fifth grade student at Kearsarge Regional Elementary School at New London.
“My favorite part is getting to know students in other schools while helping,” said Elizabeth “Libby” Beckamn, a fifth grade student at Kearsarge Regional Elementary School at New London.
The Fifth Grade Leadership Group will also visit the New Hampshire Humane Society in Laconia on March 25, and each elementary school will fund a group trip to Petco so that the students can also bring donated pet supplies and treats. While at the Humane Society, the students will also make pet toys or treats, socialize with the cats or take the dogs for a walk. Students will also help with organizing and cleaning duties there.
The group has plans for additional events later this school year, including an outdoor education lesson led by an alumni currently seeking his bachelor’s degree in outdoor education. Students will also interview local leaders about their leadership qualities and responsibilities this spring.