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Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Students and Teacher Honored as May Global Leaders

Students in all grades stepped up to join the Superintendent Student Advisory Council

By Robin Gee, City Council Beat Editor

The Superintendent Student Advisory Council gives voice to the people most directly affected by the school environment. Students in all grade levels across the district were invited to volunteer to serve as advisors to Superintendent Karen Cheser, the school board and school administrators.

Cheser said the students in the group are volunteers. Anyone in any grade who wants to have an impact on their school was invited to self-nominate. This opened the process up, she said.

Many times, in committees such as these, teachers, administrators and counselors are asked to nominate students to participate. Often, this leads to the same well-known students being selected for several things, she explained.

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"We wanted to put out there that if you’d like to be in this group, and you’d like to make a difference and take real action, you can sign up. The group has been meeting at least once a month for the last six months or so. They have identified a few areas that we could improve upon and identified areas we were able to fix right away."

The students, who represent all grades from fifth grade to seniors, outlined short fixes and long-term goals. To begin, they chose five key areas for improvement and support:

  • Study abroad programs – The students want the schools to include more opportunities for exchange for foreign language development but also to learn more about other countries around the world. One idea was to create a summer opportunity similar to a Junior Peace Corp.
  • Communications – To ensure everyone pays attention to announcements that may come during the day, the students suggested a chime or other audible notice that an announcement is coming and to pay close attention.
  • New student support – New students can use more support, the group said. They suggested taking advantage of the app development program to create an app for new students that would include all the resources a new student might need.
  • Service Learning – The students had ambitious ideas for service projects, said Cheser. One idea is to plan for a service day on or near the first day of school where students could learn about various service projects and how to get involved.
  • Advising – The students suggested improvements to the eighth grade career event including providing information to students before the event and other ideas.

While some of the areas discussed involved future developments, Cheser said there were several quick wins that administrators have implemented or are in the process of doing so. Most notably is the addition of more microwave ovens at the high school and middle school. The students also identified the need for a large-format printer at the high school to accommodate larger art work. Art teacher Kristine Donnelly took the suggestion, applied for and received a Foundation Grant to purchase the printer.

Members of the Superintendent Student Advisory Council are: Ella Barnes, Lauren Bertasso, Lance Borden, Owen Borden, William Brewer, Maria Broering, Sydney Cooper, Nicholas Crawford, Elisabeth Davidson, Megan Farney, Kat Finseth, Helen Halbauer, Sophia Hamilton, Bianca Huddleston, Alexandria Lancaster, Macy Laur, Caroline Moore, Ava Paolucci, Sarah Pearson, Ethan Phillips, Elizabeth Roeding, Ellen Rowland, Julianna Russ, Eva Sarakatsannis, Sophia Scherrer, Ava Schulte, Harrison Schultz, Campbell Smith and Rudi Wilson.

Cheser and the District Board thanked the students for their time and their careful and thoughtful attention to improving the schools and recognized them as Global Leaders.

Caring and empathy helps a family rebuild 


Woodfill teacher Casey Gesenhues was nominated for a Globel Leader award by parent Megan Price

In February, Megan Price and her family suffered a terrible loss when their home burned. Price was upstairs at the time when she was alerted by her home fire alarm. She ran downstairs to find her living room ablaze with a fire that started when a robot vacuum cleaner malfunctioned.

While Price was uninjured and her two sons were not at home at the time, the loss was devastating. Yet, she said, the community rallied behind her family and today they are recovering and her house is being rebuilt.

The kindness and caring that bolstered her immediately after the incident and beyond led her to nominate her son’s teacher, Casey Gesenhues for a Global Leader award as an empathetic collaborator and courageous leader.

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In her nomination letter, Price wrote, "Some people come into your life and you have no idea the lifelong impact they will make. It’s easy to say that Casey Gesenhues is just my son Cameron’s first grade teacher at Woodfill but to our family she is so much more...One of the very first phone calls I received was from Mrs. Gesenhues. She shared so much compassion and care in that phone call and made me feel like we wouldn’t be alone. She immediately began collaborating with both Mr. Faust and Mrs. Caswell to get a clothing drive and a wish list for immediate items of need. We were graciously overwhelmed with the amount of support we received from the entire Fort Thomas community."

Price added, "I want to thank the entire first grade class for their love and support."

RELATED: Fort Thomas Home Destroyed by Fire, Robot Vacuum Thought to Be Cause


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