Liberty Bell High School junior Hannah Hafsos planned, organized and led Yoga In the Park on Saturday morning for her Leadership Class individual project. Four teens, four adults and one German shepherd dog attended the yoga session in the Winthrop park, which incorporated sun salutations, yoga breathing and a series of asanas. Photo by Laurelle Walsh



Since the start of the 2012-13 school year, 18 Liberty Bell High School students in Tyler Slostad’s Leadership Class have studied and put into practice what it takes to be a leader.

They have analyzed the traits and styles of famous leaders, read books on leadership, written and delivered persuasive speeches, and completed group and individual projects that demonstrate each student’s ability to plan, organize and carry out an event, according to Slostad, who co-teaches the class with Mike Wilson.

Their students are wrapping up individual projects – “the capstone piece of the class” – as the school year draws to a close. “The individual project is how you show you are a leader,” Slostad said.

“The successful individual project has had an impact on the school or community, either bringing the community into the school,” such as a speaker, assembly or campus event, “or going outside school and doing something for the community,” Slostad said.

In preparation, students are expected to do a project proposal, keep a journal, meet with the teacher as the project proceeds, and promote their event. “If they don’t advertise and build momentum, the project kind of flops,” said Slostad.

Some already-completed projects include Lilly Schlotzhauer’s Earth Day celebration at the Twisp Park and an assembly performance by the Red Lotus SEEDS dance group, organized by leadership class member Julia Schrum.

Just last weekend, Hannah Hafsos taught a yoga class in the Winthrop Park and Tara Dod presented the Showcase of the Arts talent show at the Methow Valley Community Center.

“I can’t say this class is a maker or breaker, but getting kids to be responsible and follow a project through to the end can be a real lesson for them,” said Slostad. “And for some students this is an opportunity to use their skills in a real-world way that might excite them.”

Junior Logan Szafas is spending his last weeks of school finishing up two wooden park benches destined for the Twisp and Winthrop parks. He is building the benches in the construction technology class, delivering the backrests to Jean Koreski’s fifth- and sixth-grade art class for mural painting, and when finished will bolt each bench onto a concrete base.

One of Szafas’ project requirements was going to each town’s council in order to describe the benches and receive formal permission to install them.

“That was a huge leap for him,” according to Slostad, his teacher and former adviser. “Logan is a success story because he was able to face one of his fears,” public speaking,“to get the OK from the town councils. He has come a long way.”


Gaining skills

Kay Dee Sims, a freshman, overcame similar obstacles while organizing a litter pickup along Twin Lakes Road. “I gained a lot of organizational skills,” Sims said. “I don’t like to talk to people on the phone, but I had to call people and sound professional, and I learned how to do that.”

Sims started planning in March for her May 18 litter pickup, and was pleasantly surprised when seven people – family, friends and church members – came to help out. “I didn’t expect that many people to come,” she said.

“Looking at studies of successful leaders helped me refine my organizational and cat-herding skills,” said senior Tim Lewis, who put on an ultimate Frisbee tournament on May 27. As sole organizer of the event he had to “take charge, advertise and get the word out,” he said.

The tournament was a three-game round robin on the Liberty Bell football field. Adults and kids played on three teams of eight “plus spectators,” including two Seattle-area families “whose kids play on an ultimate Frisbee league. They knew what they were doing,” Lewis said. “There were some impressive catches made.”

A final student-led event on the horizon will be Liam Daily’s All-Comers Track meet on June 17 starting at 6:30 p.m. “It’s all for fun,” Daily said. “I just want people to come out, show up and have a good time.” There are no age limits, and ribbons will be awarded to participants, he said.

The Liberty Bell junior has been planning the community track meet since March or April, and has learned by observing how high school track meets are run, he said. Father-and-son team Rick and Tim Lewis will be announcing the meet.

Daily is planning a 50-meter run for ages 10 and under; 100-, 200-, 400-, 800- and 1,600-meter races; a 4×100-meter relay; long jump; and a water balloon shot put.