West Seneca East’s Opening Days Kick Off New Year of Leadership | Schools
West Seneca East High School kicked off the year with two days of activities that emphasized leadership and school spirit.
Class schedules were abbreviated for the first two days of school in order to allow the school to launch its Leadership Academy and Fresh Start Mentoring Program.
Fresh Start, modeled after the mentoring program started at West Seneca West in 2011, aims to ease the transition to high school for incoming ninth grade students. Freshmen are placed in mentoring teams led by two upperclassmen mentors and one teacher facilitator. The mentors are trained to help make the new students feel more comfortable and connected to the school. Mentors lead monthly team meetings where they continue to build a relationship with the freshmen, help familiarize them with the school and discuss concepts related to leadership.
Those not involved in the mentoring program are part of the Leadership Academy, an initiative that provides students and staff an opportunity to explore and implement the “7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” These habits are practical leadership skills that can be applied to daily life. The leadership teams, small groups of students led by two or three staff facilitators, present a chance for each person to reflect on how he or she can be a better leader and individual. Leadership teams will also meet once each month.
Both program commenced with the opening days of school. The mentoring and leadership teams met for breakout sessions to learn about their respective programs and meet the other members of their groups. They had the chance to participate in team-building exercises. The whole school broke from its regular schedule to enjoy a free lunch, provided by Statler City, on the football field on the first day of classes. The second day concluded with teams reflecting on the concept of having a new beginning with a new school year. Teams also shared their thoughts on the opening days’ activities.
“Much of our building’s work with the 7 Habits and leadership is becoming a reality for us all this school year,” said Jon Cervoni, East principal. “I truly believe this initiative can make a difference for our school and community.”