On a cold November morning, a group of WHS student leaders showed up early to celebrate school bus drivers with a mug of coffee or hot chocolate and a personal thank you. The student leaders were participating in a national leadership challenge organized by Jostens Renaissance Education. The national competition aims to empower students to work with school staff and create a welcoming and inviting school community where every student thrives. Out of more than 90 schools that entered the competition, three were selected as winners, and WHS was the only high school winner.
ASB advisor and Leadership in Project Management teacher Kyla Ritchey brought the idea to students, and they planned all aspects of the event. Ritchey said, “students worked together to gather donations of supplies, decorate cups, and organize students to show up early in the morning.” She added that students planned the event “the day before Thanksgiving break to give bus drivers a boost before the break, and to tell them that we are thankful for all they do, especially coming up on these cold months that make driving conditions challenging!”
Students decorated the cups with expressions of gratitude, and waited outside and welcomed buses as they arrived, handing drivers cups of hot chocolate, and personally thanked drivers for their hard work. At the end, students spread some extra cheer by giving cocoa to the school secretaries and security staff.
Student leaders at WHS play an active part in creating a great school climate. Student leaders meet monthly with the principal through the student voice council, serve as representatives to the Washougal School Board, and organize numerous community events like Stuff the Bus. School staff work with students to help them learn the value of expressing gratitude and contributing to their community.