Students participate in freshman empowerment workshop

Students participate in freshman empowerment workshop

On Friday, Sept. 28, nearly 100 Canastota High School freshmen boys and girls attended the second annual “Empowering Freshmen Workshop” held at Theodore’s in Canastota. Spearheaded by Canastota High School teachers Kelley Brenon, Liz Garofalo and Lisa Visalli, this workshop proved to be a powerful forum that discussed relevant issues facing our students today.

Assisting with the workshop were School Psychologist Brenda Jenkins and Guidance Counselor Brandi Bostic. Facilitating the male portion of the event were Principal Jay Altobello, Assistant Principals Drew Kennedy and Stan Congden, teachers Sean Dwyer and John Slater, and Guidance Counselor Bob Mengucci.

The plan for this workshop was developed three years ago after teachers reviewed a survey that was given to previous ninth-graders.  In the survey, ninth-graders were asked a series of questions ranging from “what they would change during their freshmen year?” to “what advice would they give to the incoming freshmen?”

The workshop was so successful last year, it was decided to make this an annual event.

The workshop provided a safe place for open discussion to enlighten our freshmen girls with self-confidence, self-respect and self-esteem and our freshmen boys with such topics as respect, teamwork, leadership and integrity.

Guest speakers from the community were on hand to discuss prevalent issues pertaining to young students today. Speakers included Marcia Laidlaw, Deb New, Don New and Coach Jake Smith. Junior Emily Case spoke candidly to the group of freshmen.

Police Chief James Zophy and Officer Paladino talked about social media to each group of students. During the afternoon session, members of KidsOneida also facilitated activities for each of the groups. Throughout the workshop, the students participated in team-building activities.

The day appeared to be motivational and inspirational to those in attendance. A follow-up meeting is planned for November.

FBLA members assisted with the event by preparing invitations, certificates and thank you notes. They also prepared all of workshop materials provided to attendees.

Case gave a presentation to the group about bullet journaling.

While at the seminar, Case took time to ask a few of the girls what they would take away from this seminar and what they might change moving forward.

“I learned that people have their own back stories and some people think that one life is harder than another,” said freshman Alexis Clark. “I mean we all have hard lives, and we go through bad experiences. What I took from this is that I learned how to get to know more about a person and about how they feel and if they are going through a bad experience, I want to help them.”

This workshop appeared to havea positive impact on incoming high school students; club membership could be on the rise in the coming years. As part of the confidence-boosting day, freshmen were encouraged to become more involved in school activities.

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