The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

May 6, 2010

LEAP growing in popularity as force for promoting a positive atmosphere


Star Beacon

SAYBROOK TOWNSHIP — Lakeside High School has been busy with balancing education and activities to keep students involved. Lakeside Encouraging Acceptance Promoting Peace, an organization that was formed in December 2009, represents a positive atmosphere at LHS and in the community.

“This organization is student-driven, and I think it’s something the students wanted and needed,” said co-leader Darla Cunningham.

The club consists of at least 75 members and is also led by Michele Verdi-Enriquez and Becky Henson. LEAP has promoted many positive activities throughout the year that involved both the school and the community. The members did a drive for Homesafe, went caroling around the community and held a frog fund-raiser for the Dream Center.

The week of March 19 through 23 was “LEAP Week,” with activities similar to a “spirit week,” to encourage a positive connection with the students at LHS. Students showed spirit through dressing up according to the day’s theme, such as “dress up as a teacher day.” The group also created a “Kindness Box,” which recognizes students and staff for their good deeds around the school, common courtesies such as picking up garbage or opening a door for someone. Students nominate peers and/or staff, and their names are put in a drawing for the winning of a gift basket. With the help of Todd Nassief of Nassief-Chevrolet-Pontiac-Cadillac-Honda as a sponsor, LEAP was able to purchase T-shirts that promote their club.

“The students are really enthusiastic, and every week we get more who want to join,” said Verdi-Enriquez. “I think LEAP will definitely continue to grow.”

Aside from the many activities at LHS, the juniors and seniors scrambled around as prom neared. It was surely a night to remember for the senior class.

“I enjoyed spending my night with my close friends and making it one of the best memories of my senior year,” said Rachel Blumberg, a senior at LHS.

This year, prom occurred May 1 at the Andrus Banquet Center. As the guests arrived, they were astounded by the overall appearance of the beautiful decorations for the “Passport to Paris” theme. The junior class organized the entire prom with the guidance of Toni Schultz and Joyce Beitel.

“It was great! The students worked really hard to raise money for everything. The decorations were beautiful, and the food was fabulous,” said Beitel.

This memorable dance was catered by Guyreino’s Deli. After dinner the seniors gathered on the dance floor to share the first dance. The dance party began shortly after as disc jockey Chris Bucci, of DJ Christopher Productions, played everyone’s favorite tunes. And as the night concluded, the seniors, once again, huddled together, grasping onto their final memories at LHS.

“It was simply elegant, ‘Passport to Paris,’” Schultz said.

The Senior Leadership students are hard at work again, this time creating a talent show. Through all of Lisa Raffa’s years of teaching, she has never been a part of putting on the annual show, but she and her students have worked hard to make this tentative idea a reality. The group of students responsible for this difficult service learning project are Kayte McEndree, Christie Ellis, Ashleigh Parsons and Paul Bandas. For weeks, flyers were hung along the walls announcing the talent show tryouts, but on April 23 the students were surprised at the overwhelming outcome.

“Twenty students came to the tryouts,” Parsons noted, “and each one of the participants showed how talented Lakeside students can be. I felt like I was a judge on ‘American Idol.’”

There was singing, dancing, guitar strumming and even a rock band. Surely, the final contestants will be performing to a variety of styles and genres. However, the process of choosing official contestants has been tough.

“They are all so talented. It has been very difficult to decide who stays and who goes,” said McEndree, “but we are attempting to set up a system where there will be both official contestants, and just entertainment.”

The four Leadership students will not be the ones to decide who wins the first and second place prize; instead, they chose teachers Robert Josson and Toni Schultz as the official Talent Show judges, along with a certain fire-breathing mystery judge.

The school will host the show on May 14, though the date is subject to change, both in-school for a student-oriented preview, and an evening show for family and friends of the contestants. Tickets to the Talent Show will be $3 for adults and students, though students will have a dollar-off discount if they attended the preview, and all money will go toward the freshman class.

Gregory Zannelli, the teacher representative of the freshman class, said he was glad to see the money supporting his students after the fall through of the Battle of the Bands. The students involved urge you to come and watch the fun and excitement, both to support the brave contestants and support our school.