October 02, 2013 - Lake Orion High School kicked off a year of leadership for teens from 32 Oakland County public high schools on Wednesday, September 25.
Students from their schools' leadership classes came in pairs but were almost immediately split upon arriving to LOHS. Half the group journeyed outside to the school's high ropes course, and the other half remained in the gymnasium to problem- solve through get-to-know-you activities.
The point of getting a bunch of future leaders in one room?
"I think too often you go to classes and it's just sit there do your own work, and then you get to a workplace somewhere and they say, 'ok now go lead this group' and you say how do I know I'm a leader? When did I have a chance to practice that?" John Miles said.
Miles is the teamwork/leadership teacher of LOHS. "Activities like this give students an opportunity to practice that and kind of compare their skills with other people, I think it's neat for kids to see other leadership styles."
Lori Hogan, student activates adviser at LOHS, hopes the kids built trust in each other, which will foster better partnerships between schools throughout the year.
"It's just a great networking tool, and you can see- you've got two kids from Harrison and two kids from Clawson and two kids from Lake Orion, and the neat thing about this is it's non-competitive. They see each other on the sports fields, whether is swimming or tennis or football but they don't get to see each other in this kind of environment."
As part of student leadership for the Oakland Activities Association, students will meet once a month at different schools until the end of the school year to work on school projects including a charity project, bounce ideas off one another and generate team spirit.
Lake Orion normally hosts the kick-off because of the really high-ropes course protruding from shrubbery behind the school.
Students had a few options. They could partner up and shimmy along a hundred foot balance beam (while attached with harnesses). They could walk backwards across a shorter distance by themselves. Or they could remain on the ground and shout advice to their peers flying high.
Based on how the last adventurer belayed off the balance beam, the rope could end up twisted underneath the beam for the next student to climb up.
"I got caught and I had to go underneath it. Then I got stuck, and I almost gave up but I didn't, and I almost fell and it was scary," freshman Laura Gary said. "I thought I was going to fall, and I was holding on to her (her partner) because she had to step over me, and it was actually really terrifying. I didn't give up," she added.
"On the football team you have a bunch of people around you, so you're all working together, but up there it's you and yourself, and you only have one partner to help you," varsity football senior Kyle Bell said.
Bell had lots of good things to say about his leadership experience, however.
"Being in the leadership class is probably one of the best things they could have in our school. You're on student council. You work with so many different kids. You represent the entire student body. You help during homecoming. You help during the blood drive, and it kind of teaches you how to have trust in people," Bell said. "You work as a team, you have classmates that you don't know but become really good friends with. There's a really good group of advisors. It's a chance for you to know everyone in the school, and for you to open up and get out of your shell," he continued. The list went on and on.
Lake Orion leadership students are currently working out the finer details of Glowcoming, this year's theme for homecoming.
The annual homecoming parade is this Sunday, October 6 from 3:30 to 4:30 in downtown Lake Orion. Spirit week kicks off on Monday, October 7. The girl's PowderPuff football game is next Thursday.
The Dragons will face the Pontiac Phoenix for their homecoming game Friday, October 11 at 7 p.m.