At the beginning of the year, the LCHS Student Council embraced one initiative: Give back.
Senior Class President Samantha Skula and Student Council Head Sponsor Melissa Cross have a lot of experience in community service, and they are in it for the right reasons.
“They are really off to a great start this year,” Lakes Activities Director Mark Ring said. “When they do these kinds of projects, they aren’t out for themselves. This group, and in particular, Ms. Cross and Samantha are really out to help others.”
In October, the student council banded together to make blankets for cancer patients. After seeing a friend and a family member undergo chemotherapy, Ms. Cross felt inspired to help. Then she saw her son’s school was doing a drive to make baskets for chemotherapy patients, so she brought the idea to her own students.
“I approached our student council group, and they jumped on it. I mean, I was so impressed by how much they wanted to do. And no one batted an eye. Nobody said, ‘No thank you. And we ended up putting together twelve different blankets in two weeks,” Cross said.
Ms. Cross began her work with student council when the school first opened back in 2004.
“We had just the two classes here. I was the sophomore class sponsor at the time. And then I continued on and then as positions opened and restructured, I was the assistant student council sponsor, and then two years ago, I moved into the head Student Council position.” She has led initiatives for community service for quite some time.
“Throughout the years, we've done like Pennies for Pasta, we've collected new or gently used coats through working with the police department. Even today, the freshman class is selling cookies for $1 each and all the money they raised from that is going to child trauma and abuse prevention.”
Likewise, senior Samantha Skula is also no stranger to community service.
“For student council, we really wanted to focus on giving back, so we’ve been doing a lot of service-oriented projects, so when Ms. Cross came to us with this, we thought it would be fun and something that could really help out the community,” Skula said. Because she is so humble, one might not necessarily know this about her. Skula is a member of five different clubs, each of which is geared toward community service in some capacity. As part of FCCLA, for example, she participated in partnering with Feed My Starving Children. She has made gift bags for custodians, helped out animal shelters as part of ‘PAWS for Change,’ and she sold trees alongside the Evergreen Club to offset the school’s carbon footprint.
Ms. Cross’s mission is to get her students to think about their community, but she also is focused on students being able to apply these experiences to their own future endeavors. “How can we not only support the students, help them be successful and enjoy their years here, but how can we get them to the point where they can understand the roles of being a leader?”
Next up for student council is the Middle School Leadership Conference. Student leaders from feeder schools will come to Lakes in December for a day of activities and discussions about taking action and leading by example. The Junior Class will also be spearheading the annual “Holiday Helping Hands.”
For more information on volunteer and community service opportunities, reach out to any of the club sponsors.
Student Council - Melissa.Cross@chsd117.org
Interact (High School Rotary) & Women in Leadership - Randie.Reynolds@chsd117.org
Evergreen Club - Jeff.Newton@chsd117.org
National Honor Society - Lauren.Tobin@chsd117.org