Leadership class takes annual trip to Disneyland

February 10, 2017 — by Spring Ma

Leadership goes to Disneyland.

From Jan. 26-29, 29 Leadership students took off for their annual trip to the Disneyland Resort and spent the weekend learning about communication, core values and Walt Disney’s legacy as a leader.

In a rewarding trip for the newly formed Leadership class, students developed close bonds with their peers and team members.

“The purpose of the trip was to unite the students in the new Leadership class and learn new leadership traits through the Disney training,” school activities director Matt Torrens said.

The trip focused on the Disney Youth Education Series program held by USA Student Travel. During the afternoon-long workshop, the Leadership students split into two groups, each led by a Disneyland cast member.

One group was led by a musical actor for several shows around the park and part-time worker at the “Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple” Star Wars exhibit in Tomorrowland. The other students were led by an aspiring Disneyland ambassador. Within each group, the students learned about the importance of upholding core values and staying true to oneself.

“The exercises we participated in were eye-opening in the number of different ways you can inspire yourself and others around to work hard and leave a legacy behind just like Walt Disney did,” head dance commissioner junior Mervi Tan said.

While trips in the past included a leadership conference with other middle schoolers and high schoolers from Los Angeles, this year, Torrens made the decision to attend only Youth Education Series to focus on leadership skills specific to Saratoga High. In addition, he added a few more trip traditions to the itinerary, with a Leadership team banquet on Saturday night and a couple scavenger hunt activities for groups to complete inside the park.

Aside from the workshop itself, the Leadership trip also served as a way for students to step out of their comfort zones. Sophomore Jennah El-Ashmawi, the only sophomore who attended the trip, developed strong friendships with upperclassmen on the Leadership team.

“At first it was a little weird because everyone knew everyone, but over time, everyone was so nice and sweet since they all knew how I felt out of place,” El-Ashmawi said. “I met people who I would have never met if I didn't go on the trip.”

As a nostalgic way to end the trip on Jan. 29, freshman class president George Bian told everyone to raise their arms in preparation for takeoff, acting like the plane ride home was the last Disneyland ride of the trip.

“I guess I was really sad to have the trip come to such a quick end. My brain was just craving something more from Disney, and I got a little carried away and didn't do the most rational of things,” Bian said.

Overall, Torrens said the trip was a relaxing and fun way to celebrate the triumphs that the Leadership class has had during its first semester as a class at SHS.

“I think [the trip] was very successful in uniting us as a group, ” Torrens said. “Nothing like building friendships while competing with each other on the Buzz Lightyear ride.”

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