Project Lead creates bridge

A unique GT (Gifted and Talented) program, Project Lead, for sophomores, juniors, and seniors has been under way at Clovis High School during this school year.

Its overarching goal has been to bridge the connection between self (student), community, and career. Its mission "is to build leadership skills that set our graduates apart as local and global citizens."

CHS teachers involved with this program are Kendra Peloquin, Corey Pickett and Stephanie Shaw, each working with a grade level, sophomores, juniors, and seniors, respectively.

The focus varies per grade level. Sophomores' focus has been service leadership, which is "directly connecting with the community through projects that directly serve the community." Juniors and seniors have been focused on local internships and college/career readiness activities.

All 133 students in the Project Lead program have been involved in a variety of areas, requiring considerable time and commitment on the part of students. Along with finely honed leadership skills from the Project Lead teachers facilitating, efforts have clearly paid off, looking back over the year.

During the year sophomores collaborated with the Lighthouse Mission on fundraising efforts. Working with The Clovis Fire Department, project, "Operation Every Family Protected" implemented surveys to ensure every home is equipped with smoke detectors. "Fill Nancy's Truck" was a project for the Food Bank of Eastern New Mexico. In conjunction with Bill Bizzell of Clovis Parks and Recreation, a patriotic-themed event, "Saturday in the Park Festival" put on by students, was a raving success.

Pickett's students have been involved in internship activities through work at the city zoo, and mural painting for city beautification, as well as writing, producing, and publishing original music (iTunes), whose proceeds will go to charity.

Shaw's seniors have been actively engaged through internships at local veterinarians' offices; the Chamber of Commerce, the District Attorney's Office, a number of other medical offices; Plateau Telecommunications; and more.

Shaw and Peloquin recently shared other outcomes from the cumulative activities of this year. "Kids that we were a bit concerned about at the beginning not only came out of their shells, but really began to shine and flourish." More than one student will be continuing in their internship as a job. "One student has come in (Shaw's and Peloquin's shared classroom) repeatedly saying, 'Thank you, thank you!" This is a student interning at a local chiropractor, now confident or his future career.

One of the remaining projects will take place this Friday evening. Collaborating with Vicki Miller and Brenda Hankins from the Division of Older Adults and Tyleen Caffrey of Monarch Formal's, students are throwing the "Senior Citizen Spring Fling Prom" at the Baxter-Curren Senior Center for Clovis' older adult community. Monarch has many formal dresses of all styles and sizes available for checkout to anyone to use for an occasion. The story is that a number of the seasoned prom-attenders are excited about the upcoming event and have been coming in for dress fittings!

Congrats to all Project Lead students and a happy "Spring Fling!"

Cindy Kleyn-Kennedy is the instructional technology coordinator for the Clovis Municipal Schools and can be reached at cindy.kleyn-kennedy@clovis-schools.org

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