Cedar Rapids youth leads by example

Michele Barnum, News Writer

For 24 years, select high school students in the Cedar Rapids Metro area have gained leadership qualities while learning about community concerns. Leadership for Five Seasons – Youth Program works to develop talent through formal leadership curriculum. Each participant meets once a month to discuss various themes, including social issues and how to help the underprivileged.

Sophomores complete an application process and are chosen by Xavier administration to then apply for the program for the next year. This program is exclusive to juniors

Three juniors from Xavier High School are currently involved in this program, along with students from six other high schools around the Cedar Rapids and Marion areas. Xavier juniors Noah Fischels,  Hannah Hinkel, and Zachary Noonan are three of the students who meet once a month.

“I thought it would be a fun opportunity at the time, even though I didn’t know what it really was,” Fischels said. “I knew I would enjoy it and get to strengthen my leadership skills at the same time. It is a very fun opportunity and is always a day I look forward to. There is a ton of fun things we do from meeting a K9 dog, meeting the mayor, or helping make blankets for kids at the hospital.”

The program ends with a community service day. Each participant chooses an organization and performs a service for that organization on the community service day.  The eight days the students spend with community leaders throughout the academic year help them learn about community needs and leadership.

“I wanted to learn more about our community and further my leadership skills,” Noonan said. “I’m excited to choose my service project and help my community.”

“I knew some people that had gone through the program their junior year, and they all recommended that I apply because they thought it was a great experience that I would get a lot out of,” Hinkel said.

There are 40 high school students who participate in this leadership program from August to March.