Care is a value we strive to embody at Thomas Nelson High School and I exemplify many aspects of caring through the initiatives I take on in the SOC class and in my student organizations. Our motto is to always take care of yourself, take care of each other, and take care of this place and this also extends out to my community. This quarter I have shown care by helping my school community plan one of our largest events, Winter Formal. I assisted with creating a music playlist for the dance and I also stayed after the dance to help clean all the decor and rearrange the chairs and tables. Another way I have showed care is for other student organization leaders by leading a Genius Bar in class on blogger to help them use their blog as a form of communication with not just their organization, but the community. Also, I organized a Legacy Core Application that will be shared with my team soon, so they can apply and we can start the process for this years Legacy Core and I can work closely with that group to create other initiatives that the softball team will undertake in the future. Also, to show care and promote community involvement I have updated the blog to add the 2018 Softball Schedule so all can see and come and support the hard work the team has been putting in. I have also collaborated with other organizations; for example, the Student Technology Leadership Program to work with the softball team on a team challenge our coach has set forth for us, which is to make a "hype video" that promotes our team and season and I collaborated with their representative, Sydney Judd, so we could start getting some ideas and use their support in editing and creating the video. Not only has STLP assisted me, but I have tried to assist my other classmates too through feedback in paper ceiling presentations. Recently, our boys and girls basketball teams were playing in the district tournament at Washington County High School and Josie Reiter, the girls basketball representative, asked for assistance on promoting involvement and theme ideas and I gave her feedback on theme ideas that were later voted on on Twitter and I helped her with the idea of getting fatheads for all the varsity players on both teams for the student sections. All in all, I have cared for my surrounding community, my school community, and my team community by openly communicating, assisting, supporting, and showcasing and sharing ideas.
Communication is a key component in building a strong foundation for a program and we strive so connect efficiently in and out of our organization. For example, frequently updating the blog with schedule, celebrations, and upcoming announcements so it is out there for anyone to access. Using the blog as a foundation of sharing information is key because it is public and the community and team can easily access it. Connecting with the community is huge to promote involvement so we also use our Twitter account to share out news and celebrations. If you scroll through our Twitter you may see tweets about strides we've made in practice, celebration of growth, celebrations of wins, or upcoming announcements about big games to encourage more people to come out and support. Another way we are trying to promote community involvement is sending out donation letters as a team. It was every players responsibility to gather 15 addresses and 15 stamps so we could send out letters to ask for the community to contribute to our program and hopefully this will raise awareness about the team and make them want to come watch us. Also, we use the Remind101 system to keep players and parents aware of schedules for the upcoming week, changes, and needs for events like our Soup & Silent Auction is important. The Remind system serves as a good tool because everyone receives the same message and knows what is expected of them and what times/deadlines they have to meet. For example, our Soup & Silent Auction is coming up and we have been using the Remind101 to send out messages about what is needed for the auction and how much assistance is needed which is a good tool because the whole team can see what is needed and no person is unaware of what is going on within our organization. Along with communicating with the community and player/parents I have to constantly maintain a platform of communication with Coach Smith. Other than face to face conversations I use my email to talk to Coach about what roles she wants me to play with upcoming events and announcements. Specifically, Coach has asked me to complete items such as a Legacy Core Application to share with the team and because we have constant communication I was able to complete this task in a timely manner and she could post it in our team Google Classroom for all the players to access. Google Classroom is also another foundation we use to communicate with the team. Coach Smith has ownership of the Google Classroom, but shares out important information or videos for the team to access; such as, the Legacy Core Application, 2018 Schedule, or our Team Guidelines packet. Connecting with the school happens by word of mouth, but also I try to create artwork about large events like creating a slide to promote our Soup & Silent Auction and displaying it on the Digital Announcements that play throughout the school day.
Strong organizations start with the creation of a steady foundation and the creation of new things to build on top of that. This quarter we added a new foundation to our program to enable it to be more meaningful by creating a mission and vision statement and continuing the tradition of the Lady Generals Softball Soup & Silent Auction as a major fundraiser for our upcoming season. In addition to these things this quarter I have created an application for Legacy Core and we now have our 2018 Softball Legacy Core members who have started taking on new initiatives within the program. Also, as a Legacy Core member and SOC member I collaborated with others and came up with the new tradition of writing 3 letters: a letter to yourself, a letter to the team, and a letter to softball. The letter to yourself will be saved and opened back up when you become a senior at TNHS. The letter to the team will be opened up and read to everyone at a team bonding event later in the season, and the letter to softball will be an optional read aloud session at a team bonding event. Also, this quarter I have created excitement around the blog by updating it frequently and posting pictures on it so it looks appealing, but still gives organization information and I created excitement around the RUSH booth this year by decorating it with multiple colors and props, adding a picture slideshow, and having a game that allowed people to want to interact with my booth. To assist in the process of making jersey inventory easier for Coach Smith I created a data sheet to mark numbers and keep everything organized so we can use it in years to come. In the SOC class I contributed to the creation of a music playlist for winter formal and the designing and ordering of the tickets with Ms. Downing's help. Also, I helped with advertisement for Homecoming by creating a video of all the nominees and information about the Homecoming Game. Creating new rituals, traditions, and continuing past ones in an organization is what is going to build up energy and enthusiasm around it and this will benefit the program and school.
In SOC we have began to focus our energy surrounding the notion of "What is your WHY?"; the same idea what we have been using in softball and this has gotten a lot of attention and shifted the mindset of the members of this class. Focusing on this question enables this class to create things that we were unsure that we could create because it instills passion in us and gets us thinking about why are we doing what we are doing. why do we want to create this, why am I in this class? This focus question has pinpointed many things we have done as a class. For example, if your "WHY" is to create a closer bond between TNHS and the community you may shed light on the Bardstown Christmas Parade. The Bardstown Christmas Parade is one example of students putting their school before themselves because instead of staying inside and watching the parade on TV students came outside in the cold walked, waved, smiled, and gave candy the whole time to show the community that this is who we are at TNHS. Our WHY at that point was to show the community what we have been working towards and who we are through our actions and we succeeded. I think participating in future community events and service projects as a whole class will continue to strengthen that bond between school and community as partners so we can collaborate with community members year round.
The TNHS Student Organization Council became a class this year and this has allowed more time and effort to be put into projects than ever before because we meet daily for almost 5 days every week and it has shown through on our end products. SOC also partnered with New Haven and participated in the Iron Horse Festival to exemplify our care for our community and our partnership with them ended in a donation made by the New Haven community because of all the help we offered. This donation was then used to be put back in our community for the Angel Tree Project. It could have been just as easy for us to take that money and buy ourselves t-shirts or food or other luxurious things, but we chose to put it back into our community. This is the foundation of the legacy we want to create through SOC through TNHS and it is only the start. In the future I encourage all to continue to participate in whole class events; "the more the merrier" is the truth when it comes to student involvement and I think when we continue to do projects like this year round we will really show the community what our why is and fulfill our class mission: to CONNECT student organizations, CREATE a strong community, and demonstrate CARE by building a legacy for the future.
As semester 1 is closing I am taking the time to reflect upon what I have accomplished this semester and what I want to improve on for semester 2. Everyday our student organization meets we remind ourselves to push one another and always show gratitude for each other. For example, we remind ourselves of our motto for this season "What is your why?" and this makes us strive to be better and at the end of practice everyday we choose someone to shoot a gratitude arrow towards so everyone knows they are appreciated and I have played a role in this because everytime I post something on the blog I end it with "What is your why?" so it continues to make everyone think about this. Throughout semester 1 I have utilized my student organizations blog to communicate with our members and our community to offer transparency. Also, we have utilized the Remind101 system to communicate effectively on when our team is practicing or sending out important reminders. However, we have not yet served our community partner and that is something I really would like to focus on during semester 2 so we can build a stronger relationship within our community. However, the work I have created this week was purple cow because my student organization served the community by offering a very Merry Christmas to two angels from our angel tree and we also are collaborating with one another to find out ways to improve our communication with one another and bond with each other; so, we are not settling for the growth we have reached at this point I have asked questions within the organization and they are offering feedback so we are always growing. As I mentioned earlier though one thing I really plan on focusing on during semester 2 is looking for opportunities that the softball team can serve the community and I plan on doing this by having a face-to-face conversation with them and brainstorming with my team on ways we can show care to the community.
**Reminder: Don't forget to bring in supplies this week and next week for our boy and girl angels from the Angel Tree; gifts are due December 13th (wrapped and with the angels # visible on the outside). Contact Riane Clark with any questions! Also feel free to view this link with the information on it**