“This workshop class stems from the belief that there is a need to provide high school students with training in becoming proficient in human relations and leadership skills,” said Burnette.
The skills include but are not limited to interpersonal and intrapersonal communication, conflict resolution, decision-making, group facilitation, and understanding diversity.
The purpose of this class is to provide a variety of school and community services which will increase students’ self-awareness, improve their ability to communicate effectively, and encourage exploration of their leadership potential.
“I enjoy giving the kids freedom. They can express what they think and how things should be changed with either the outside world or the school while embracing their confidence and creativity,” said Burnette.
Senior Jacob Cone is inspired by the workshop environment in the classroom.
“Mrs. Burnette leaves it very open and expects projects to be done by the deadline which builds leadership in class every day to see who pushes everyone to get the job done,” said Cone.
The three components of the class significantly enhance the students’ role as school leaders and citizens of their community: school involvement, community involvement, and individual growth.
Senior Aubrey Brinkley sees the sense of unity that results from school involvement.
“We are trying to get everyone on the same page, making things like big poster-sized calendars to show everyone what is going on,” said Brinkley.
When the school played Pelham in a pre-season scrimmage, students hashtagged postings “#poundpelham” on social media to create a trend to make it easier for users to find messages with a specific theme or content.
The class conducted a school-wide survey and found out that students are craving more school-sponsored events like “powder-puff” football, weekend bonfires, movie nights, faculty vs. student sporting events, and exciting pep rallies.
Sophomore Christian Pyle said, “We plan to have a fun, healthy, and encouraging atmosphere at these events.”
Other activities to help unify the campuses of THS and Scholars Academy are month-long themes such as College Awareness Month featuring college information on teachers’ doors to show the requirements like admissions rates, application deadlines, and average GPA/ACT/SAT scores. Themes for later months include bullying, breast cancer awareness, and gratitude.
“We learned that students want more school unity,” said junior John West.
They are learning that qualities essential to being a great leader are listening to others and building relationships to accomplish the best outcome.
“Being organized is important, and working together is also a big thing,” said senior Morgan Dance.
Senior Logan Metcalf reported that Peer Leadership students are going to nursing homes and engaging in activities like reading books and just spending time with Thomasville City elementary-age students.
Other community activities will involve law enforcement awareness, veterans affairs, and local volunteer organizations.
Cone has learned that it takes someone to go to the back of the line, serve, and do the dirty work in order for people to see what they’re doing and follow them.
“You have to show what it takes to get the job done in order to lead people to do the right thing,” said Cone.
Sophomore Louis Carter has learned about perseverance, determination, and kindness.
“Even if everything doesn't always work out, a good leader has to keep going,” said Carter.
“I see how effective students are with creating plans and ideas and actually going through the process to get it approved to see their idea come to life,” said Burnette.
The Class of 2017 wanted to assert their “seniority” with a parking lot design concept. Seniors will be able to reserve a numbered parking spot in the stadium parking until they graduate, and they will be allowed to personalize their spots at a “parking lot party” on the Monday after Fall Break.
Burnette loves building a relationship with each student and watching a transformation that comes from each student after they have completed this course.
“I have seen kids go from being completely insecure about themselves to being able to give a speech and talk confidently in front of a big crowd of people,” said Burnette.
Burnette recalls a former student who never said a word at the beginning of of the year and was terrified to voice her opinion on anything. At the end of the year, she took a four-week service trip to South Africa to help with the orphans.
For more information on what is happening with THS Peer Leadership, check out their Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram sites.