For a class that’s only been around since November, the Three Springs High School’s leadership class is completing one project after another.
Three Springs High School is an alternative school primarily for high school-age students. Derek Slaughter, who also teaches sociology and psychology at Cheney High School, started the class, which meets every Friday, as a way to give Three Springs students opportunities for community service, philanthropy and leadership development.
Slaughter said the students brainstormed different ideas for projects with a focus on helping the school and the community. One of the first projects the class undertook was a fundraiser for Spokanimal to help animals that were displaced from their homes after the November 2015 windstorm.
Slaughter said the students did most of the legwork, including Kaitlin Lutey, who went to Spokanimal, took pictures of the animals and used them to help design the flyers. The students raised $500 for their cause.
The class also applied for State Farm grants. One project’s grant money went towards designing T-shirts for the class with the motto “We don’t fear the future. We came to shape it.” Like the Spokanimal fundraiser, Slaughter said the students did most of the research and writing for the grants.
“As a teacher, all I did was make the phone calls and coordinate,” Slaughter said. “This is a student-driven, project-driven class. When we’re done with one project, we’re moving on to the next one.”
One of the things Slaughter likes about the class is how it is made up of students from “different walks of life” with some having full-time jobs and others who have kids of their own.
“Leadership class helps bring them together,” Slaughter said.
Leah Herrick-Rice, one of the students in the class, said she enjoys working with her classmates. Another student, Kellse Davis, said she likes the hands-on approach of working on projects.
“It’s better than just sitting in a classroom and doing assignments,” Davis said.
For their philanthropic efforts, the class is volunteering their time at local events, most recently at the April 14 Big Red track meet, and visiting residents at the Cheney Care Center.
Kris Bahr, the care center’s activity lead, said she has been reaching out to schools to have students like those in the leadership class visit and bond with the residents.
“The visits are good for the residents, even if it’s just to find out what kids are doing and asking about their future,” Bahr said.
Davis, whose son Qyson went along for the Care Center visit, said meeting the residents was “fantastic” for her and her son.
“It’s important for them (the residents) to have visitors,” Davis added. “Us going to visit them assures them that there are people who care about them.”
The class is in the process of submitting another grant application and planning Three Springs’ graduation. Slaughter said this year’s graduating class for Three Springs is expected to be 24 students, four times as many as last year’s ceremony. He added that graduation, which is tentatively scheduled for June 1 in Betz’s Elementary School’s Viking Room, may take place in CHS’s Little Theater because of the increased class size and the family and friends coming to the ceremony.
“I’m proud of these kids,” Slaughter said. “This class started with nothing and they’ve rolled with everything I’ve given them.”