Hyde teaches new leadership class

September 15, 2008 — by Nathan Kim and Brian Tsai

In response to the sometimes apathetic and negative attitudes at Saratoga High, assistant principal Karen Hyde is teaching a new leadership class this year. Senior Paul Stavropoulos first introduced the idea to Hyde last year after hearing some students’ take on the school.

“There’s a lot of gossip that always goes around about how the students don’t really like Saratoga [High], or there are [always] things they can fix,” said Stavropoulos. “Our goal would be to make [school] a place where our students could feel not only comfortable and accepted in but somewhere they can also have fun and some spirit.”

The class holds around 20 students approved by Hyde, mostly upperclassmen. Students are meeting during Monday tutorial and Thursday lunch in the faculty lunchroom and receive 2.5 applied arts credit per semester. Hyde will teach a three-part course for the class curriculum.

The first part of the course will focus on theory, and students will learn about things that are leadership-skill related. In the second part of the class, students will learn how to run meetings, and delve deeper into the techniques of brainstorming and collaboration. When the third part of the course comes around, students will put into effect the skills they learned from the class.

The students already have ideas they want to put in action. Possible projects include a new teen center, a leadership fund for the school community, more school activities such as Casino Night and Safe Ride, a national organization that provides car-services to prevent drunk driving.

Stavropoulos was inspired to start the leadership class due to receiving help from the community himself.

“I just think that in my life, when I’ve been in tough situations, I’ve always had people there to help and guide me,” said Stavropoulos. “I feel that as an upperclassman and primarily as a senior, it’s my turn to fill in that circle and be in that position where I can help the younger students out, and also leave some sort of legacy.”

Because leadership classes have failed in the past, one of Hyde’s goals is to keep the class running as long as possible.

“Let’s make a difference on campus that is sustainable, and that’s my mandate,” said Hyde. “I don’t want this to die at the end of the year. I need it to be ongoing and sustainable by others who are coming through. So I’m willing to give up my time, I’m free, if we can make this a better place.”

Hyde has been involved with leadership throughout her entire life: class offices in high school, heading college organizations, even working for political parties. With her experience, Hyde hopes to instill her knowledge on leadership within students.

“What I like to do is throw [leadership] out and watch kids grow, and I don’t think you can throw it out and watch kids grow without some kind of thought process that really is leadership,” said Hyde. “Leadership is not standing at the front of the boat and yell, ‘Follow me.’ Leadership is empowering others to lead. And that’s what I believe in.”

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