Marana student leaders are looking to make a difference in their schools, having recently participated in the Bonstingl Leaders for the Future 2012 Marana Youth Leadership Summit on Thursday.

Seven Marana schools participated in the Youth Leadership Summit beginning Aug. 28-29 at Twin Peaks Elementary School. Teams of student leaders from a Marana intermediate school and six elementary schools participated, with teams learning the importance of identifying their own leadership strengths and opportunities for improvements. They learned how to work effectively in teams and find solutions to problems using minimal resources. 

Each team was given six weeks to complete an assignment to create an original project that will make their schools better. The projects are aimed at making their schools safer, more welcoming, and conducive for everyone’s success. 

“These Marana students are among the best I have ever worked with,” said John Jay Bonstingl, who created the event 15 years ago, and has been conducting it throughout the USA and in several overseas countries, including Brazil, India, and Nepal. “These kids are sharp, attentive, and very creative. I will feel good about putting our country’s future into their hands a few years from now.”

Bonstingl is a nationally recognized expert on developing leadership potential in business, education, and health care, based on his best-selling book, “Schools of Quality,” with more than 250 million copies in print.

District Assistant Superintendent Dr. Jan Truitt and Twin Peaks school counselor Shari Attebery coordinated the event.

Participating in the event were students from Picture Rocks Intermediate School, Ironwood, Twin Peaks, Rattlesnake Ridge, Roadrunner, Quail Run, and Estes elementary schools. 

Six of the schools involved showcased their presentations to Bonstingl on Thursday. 

“I was so impressed by our young people, and the careful thought and energy they put into making their projects into reality,” said Bonstingl. “Three of the teams created school-wide projects to promote kindness and thoughtfulness among students.  One of the teams created a week’s worth of Teacher Appreciation activities, including hugs and high-fives for their teachers. Ben’s Bells was a focus of several of the team projects.”

Bonstingl said one of the most impressive projects was one in which the student team studied the problem of wasted food in the school cafeteria, then created a publicity campaign to make kids and adults more aware of the problem to reduce the amount of wasted food. 

“This team came with their own photographs of wasted food, charts and graphs, and posters encouraging others to be more responsible in their use of food,” said Bonstingl. “I was blown away.”

Another of the student teams focused their energies on promoting the idea of “being a bucket-filler rather than a bucket-dipper” – filling others’ buckets (emotional lives) so everyone is able to live in harmony by helping one another.  

Many of the students presented their projects on with PowerPoint, outlining the details from inception to completion.

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