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Voice Recognition

Learning to be leaders

Students learn to be leaders through board program
Kentucky School Advocate
June 2019
By Matt McCarty
Staff writer
Paducah Independent school board member Mary Hancock talks to fifth-grade student Angelique Hernandez during the district’s March meeting. “I just realy wanted to meet the people here,” Hernandez said of why she wanted to participate in the program.
When 10 Paducah Independent students helped board members conduct the March meeting, the agenda included updates to head coaches’ job descriptions and approving expenditures.

“I wonder if the students understand they just approved spending almost $300,000,” quipped board chair Carl LeBuhn during the meeting.

Earlier that day the students were making an even bigger decision: should cranberries be included in trail mix? (The answer, for those curious, is no.)

The students learned about parliamentary procedures, including Robert’s Rules of Order, from two McCracken County 4-H agents. The exercise culminated with students using the procedures to determine what should be included in their trail mix.

“We began with leadership activities just to get them to know one another and also just to pull out those leadership characteristics so they can utilize them in the meeting tonight as well as when they go back to their schools,” said Amanda Henderson, a McCracken County 4-H agent. “As it went along, I think they’re becoming more comfortable with the whole process of making motions and seconding and just really getting the structure of parliamentary procedure.”

The students demonstrated outside the box thinking by voting to not put anything in the trail mix. Instead, they unanimously approved each student taking a bowl and making their own individual trail mix.

McCracken County 4-H agent Brittany Osborne said the activities not only helped the students understand parliamentary procedure but also helped them to realize they had a voice.

“It was really cool to see their confidence change and just really get that boost from the leadership activities,” Osborne said.

Eighth-grader Chandler Christ,who was elected as the chair during the students’ parliamentary exercise, said the program gives students “a nice experience to learn about different things maybe you didn’t even think about.”

Aneeza Ali, also an eighth-grade student, said the program taught her how to be a leader and how to express herself toward others.

“It teaches a lot of leadership and how to approach yourself with public speaking,” she said. 

Fifth-grade students Naarah White and Angelique Hernandez had to write an essay to be chosen as the student participants at Clark Elementary School.

“I’ve learned the meanings for what they mean by chair and floor and all of that of board meetings so next time they do one, I can understand it,” White said.

Paducah Tilghman High School senior Megan Davis said the program helped her develop leadership skills.

“We spent most of the morning really learning what it really is to be a leader,” she said. “I think that really helps students now to be a good role model and learn how to speak your opinion.”
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