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Enhancing character at Cedaredge High School

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Ken Gates

At 7:15 a.m. every Wednesday, Ken Gates gathers a small group of Cedaredge High School students who desire a change in their lives that allows them to inspire their peers. Known to the school as "leadership meetings," the discussions take place in the library every week. Students discuss leadership methods and positive character traits, watch encouraging videos, and ponder the ways they can inspire greatness in both themselves and their fellow students.

Mr. Gates teaches social studies at Cedaredge Middle School, and started the leadership meetings when he noticed a need for true leaders at Cedaredge High School this fall. He already notices a change in the attitude of the students who attend. "It's evident in the conversation, both here and between students, that the change is happening." He wishes to instill positivity and kindness in the minds of each student.

When asked how he hopes the sessions will create leaders, Mr. Gates replies, "It's more about enhancing character and giving them an education on how to make decisions." The meetings have a common theme: that true leadership starts with inspiring the person within. The sessions begin with the introduction of a theme and continue to a deep conversation about how each student can apply that theme in their own life. Students share stories and create ideas in the 30-minute time period.

Although the CHS fishbowl contained only a few students this last session due to a sports conflict, the students who attend are making waves at Cedaredge High School by enforcing positive influences in academics, sports and outside of school. By taking a little time before school, Mr. Gates creates an alliance of young leaders who encourage their peers to reach their goals.

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