Frisco ISD continues to empower high school students to make a positive impact on their campus.
About 80 students from eight high schools attended a training workshop at the Administration Building on August 10 to kick off the 2016-17 school year.
“The Student Ambassador program gives students a voice where they have a say in what’s going on,” said James Caldwell, FISD safe schools coordinator. “For example, ‘If you don’t like what is going on at your school, what would you do to fix it?’”
The Frisco ISD Student Services Department hopes to build leaders to help tackle issues that impact student success, including a teen’s physical, social and emotional wellbeing.
Student Ambassadors work with fellow students and adults at school to address topics like drugs and alcohol, stress and anxiety, diversity and campus climate and much more.
“Students who feel connected are going to feel better and do better than students who don’t,” Caldwell said.
Ambassadors participated in activities based on the Rising Up coaching program and learned how to mentor younger students and make a difference among their peers.
Activities included team-building exercises where students practiced strategies for advising others on how to overcome roadblocks in life, cope with adversity and achieve their goals.
The Rising Up activities are a part of a counseling curriculum by Austin-based psychologist J.C. Pohl, who developed modules and activities for eighth grade and eleventh grade students to mentor younger middle and high school students.
The training session featured guest speaker Chad Hennings, a former Dallas Cowboys football player and Air Force fighter pilot, who encouraged students to dare to be excellent, choose their identities, find their purpose in life and train their character through mentorship.
“Your generation wants to get involved, which is great,” Hennings said. “I would encourage you to open your ears, listen, get in the game and get involved, which is important. Actively seek out mentors, reach out and learn.”
Each school’s Student Ambassador program is made up 10 to 12 students in grades 10 through 12 who are nominated by staff and administrators.
“This really allows me to live out my passion and my passion is to help other kids find their passion, to find that purpose and identity like we talked about,” said Josh Rubio, a senior at Liberty High School.
Student Ambassadors reflect the diversity of each school. They participate in various on-campus activities or may not be affiliated with any club at all. They should share two similarities – take the program seriously and work well with others.
Frisco ISD high schools conduct class meetings on a weekly or monthly basis where Student Ambassadors, along with their school coordinator, lead school-wide discussions and presentations on specific social and emotional needs such as bullying prevention, dating, substance abuse and more.
Rubio has some advice for students who are not part of the Student Ambassadors program, but want to make a difference on their campus.
“Be bold in who you are,” Rubio said. “Really dig deep and ask yourself, ‘What is your identity?’ And then next, ‘What is your purpose?’ ‘How would you like to impact your school?’ And, ‘What legacy are you going to leave behind?’ Once you figure those questions out, be bold.”