Tigers Take the Lead: New Tiger Pride leadership class promotes attendance, spirit at school activities

Meredith Strickland, Staff Writer

Walking side-by-side onto the field for the first game of the season, the players noticed something unusual.
The student section was packed with many excited fans, screaming and lighting up the stadium.
While this may seem like the typical Friday night football game, this was actually the first varsity boys soccer game.
The energy rose as the soccer team took on Blue Valley West.
Fans lined the stands dressed in hula skirts and leis to go along with the Hawaiian theme. Students attended the game to cheer on their school after the Tiger Pride leadership class helped promote the event all week.
Members of this class discussed plans to get students involved with the soccer game. Deciding upon a Hawaiian-themed night, they spread the word to Blue Valley’s students.
The new leadership class, taught by science teacher Azie Taghizadeh, meets during fourth hour. Mainly focusing on leadership skills, team building and organizing assemblies, the class is open to juniors and seniors.
Students filled out an application and interviewed with Taghizadeh and assistant principal Mollie McNally last spring to be a part of the class.
“We used to have [a leadership class], but we wanted to enlarge leadership classes and build a curriculum for the students to build pride,” principal Scott Bacon said.
Taghizadeh said the leadership elective encourages students to get involved in not only school spirit and Tiger pride, but also the traditions that being a BV Tiger upholds.
The class’ main objective is to create the assemblies for the school, build responsibility and learn to lead others in a positive way.
“I took the leadership class because I wanted to be challenged,” senior Savannah Spicer said. “I think I was blessed with the ability to enjoy leading others. I want to be a teacher when I’m older, so I figured this class would help me prepare myself and be efficient with leading others.”
The students are graded based on attendance at different school events, book work and participation in class.
Every quarter students take turns leading one of five different categories — public relations, community service, athletics and activities, assemblies or fundraising.
“I’m super excited about this class,” Taghizadeh said. “I’ve been wanting to teach something like this for five years — not just about leadership, but also wanting a pep club, getting all of the students involved in school sports. It can be great to have a huge fan base with all the events. I also thought it would be nice to have the assemblies ran by the students as opposed to having all of the adults run the assemblies.”
Taghizadeh said, so far, the class has been planning for assemblies and trying to figure out ways to get more students involved — not only in school, but also outside school events.
“I like that there are so many different students in the class,” Spicer said. “Though most of us are seniors, we don’t necessarily associate with each other outside of school. It will be nice to get to know others and branch out. One flaw would be that there aren’t many juniors — I wish there were more of them.”
Taghizadeh said the class brings students together to come up with plans and understand what it takes to be a leader. Students must learn how to collaborate and share ideas with each other to reach their goals.
“I really like the idea of all of the kids and students coming together like a family unit, respecting each other and appreciating each other, looking at their strengths and weaknesses and focusing on those leadership skills,” Taghizadeh said.
Taghizadeh said this class has a curriculum on leadership and what it means to manage and run groups, and everybody in the class is going to be taught those skills along with public speaking. Students are not only representing themselves, but also are BV Tigers.
“I’m hoping to learn the best ways to lead others in a positive direction while still having fun without overpowering them,” Spicer said. “I think a lot of the time, those who lead end up doing all the work, bossing people around or not doing any work, and through the class I hope to learn the perfect balance.”

The Tiger Pride class:

  • Senior Andy Porter
  • Junior Anna Summar
  • Senior Anna Wonderlich
  • Senior Blake Freeman
  • Senior Elise Arney
  • Senior Hailey Heizman
  • Senior Hillary Heizman
  • Senior Hunter Murray
  • Junior Lauren Holland
  • Senior Mackenzie Smith
  • Senior Maddie Jewett
  • Junior Madeline Wadley
  • Senior Michael Heider
  • Senior Mitch McCroskey
  • Senior Natalie Pace
  • Junior Ricky Shull
  • Senior Ryan Brady
  • Senior Savannah Spicer
  • Junior Taylor Young
  • Senior Zach Jones