By CHRIS EVERSOLE
The truth of “and the light shineth in darkness” was evident at the Yukon Board of Education meeting Monday.
A half dozen high school students attended the meeting so they could meet a requirement of a leadership class. Their presence was in contrast to the darker side of the younger generation that made headlines when threats attributed to students led to closing schools on Sept. 17.
Teacher Darryl Andrews has been cultivating leadership skills for many of his 34 years as a teacher.
Each year, he impacts more than 250 students in teaching leadership classes and serving as an adviser to organizations.
“It’s interesting to see a return on what we’re doing at Yukon High School,” he said.
“I see many of my former students in leadership positions in the community, whether they are up front or are in passive roles.”
The graduates now serving the community include Avery Moore, this year’s president of the Yukon Chamber of Commerce.
When she was in high school, Moore was a member of the Leaders of Tomorrow program, which the chamber sponsors.
The program, which is in its 21st year, includes activities such as a behind-the-scenes tour of the Will Rogers World Airport and service projects.
“I always say to the students that our goal is to make them a better person,” Andrews said.
“If we’ve done that, we’ve done our job.”
The leadership class that Andrews teaches requires students to attend one meeting of a board in the community each nine-weeks grading period.
It’s important for them to see how topics are discussed and motions are made, Andrews said.
“I stress that most of the people serving on boards don’t get paid,” he said.
“They’re willing to take up service to help the community.”
The meetings the students attend include ones of the school board, city council, church boards and homeowners’ associations boards.
After attending the meetings, the students discuss their experience in class.
“The idea is to expose them to the idea that leadership roles extend beyond those they have in high school,” Andrews said.
The students also are required to attend fine arts performances and sporting events.
“We want them to support the groups in the community,” Andrews said.
Students also perform “teacher service,” helping teachers with things such as sorting papers and making bulletin boards.
“It’s a way of building rapport with teachers,” Andrews said.
“They might talk about the student’s hobbies or what they did over the summer.
“If a teacher gets to know a student better, he or she is more inclined to write a letter of reference for a job or a college application.”