Students at Russell County High School are aiming to make a positive impact on fellow students and the community at large through the Sources of Strength program at RCHS.
Speaking at the Russell County School Board meeting held Monday evening, Feb. 28, four high schoolers who are members of the program, which includes more than 40 students total, explained the goals and functions of Sources of Strength.
“We’re a collective of students from Russell County High School who strive to make our school and community a better place,” said Peyton Withers, a junior. “During our monthly meetings, we discuss different ways to boost the morale and spirits of students with ways like announcements, murals, kind gestures, and random acts of service that are beneficial to both our school and community.”
Alexis Fox, a sophomore, explained that hope, health, and strength are the three pillars on which Sources of Strength’s mission is based. Fellow sophomores Trey Stephens and Jasmine Grant delved into specific efforts that the group has undertaken.
The students sent letters and cards of comfort to their neighbors at Casey County High School following two student deaths in a short time period, spoke on a telethon raising funds for tornado relief, and led a school-wide drive to collect supplies for tornado victims. The group designated a week of appreciation for classified staff as well as a week dedicated for school cleanup.
“It’s made them more aware of others and their suffering,” said RCHS counselor Laura Davidson, who introduced the students. Davidson noted that almost 50 Russell County students volunteered over the summer for an all-day training to prepare them to be positive, impactful students in their schools and communities.
“They’re such great role models,” said Supt. Michael Ford. “Thank you.”
“One of the sources of my strength is seeing students like this do well,” added board chairperson Sheila Wicker.
Leslie McGowan recognized as RCEA certified employee of the month
The Sources of Strength students were not the only individuals recognized for their efforts at Monday’s meeting.
Leslie McGowan, who teaches sixth and seventh grade arts & humanities and keyboarding, was honored for “going above and beyond in her service to students,” according to Dr. Brooke Bartrug, president of the Russell County Education Association, who also presented McGowan a $100 check.
McGowan, a former math teacher who has been teaching for 10 years, was chosen for the award in December but was unable to attend the January board meeting, so she was honored Monday.
Bartrug said that McGowan’s favorite part of teaching middle school is making connections with students at such an important time in their lives and “watching them grow into who they are and who they’re meant to be.”
“It is a blessing to come to work and do what you love every day and make an impact on young people,” McGowan said. “I’m so thankful. We have great kids in our county.”
In other notable business at Monday’s meeting:
•The board unanimously approved adding assistant coaching positions for baseball, softball, and volleyball, as well a youth coordinator for volleyball.
Ford said the district had worked to compile one “go-to” list for all coaches in the district, including unfilled positions. “Not all the spots get filled every year,” Ford said.
•The board voted 5-0 to enter into a lease agreement for the field that is used for middle school softball. Ford said that the City of Russell Springs leases the park from Somerset Community College, the lease would not cost the district any money, and “day-to-day operations, no one’s going to know the difference.”
Board attorney Jeff Hoover explained that the lease agreement means the district has interest in the property, so if an injury occurs at a school function, insurance would be applicable.
•The board gave unanimous approval to Ford’s recommendation that six surplus school buses be sold. Ford said the buses still run but are not up to the district’s standards. The resolution authorized Ford to act on behalf of the board in relation to the sale.
•The board approved a dual-credit memorandum of agreement between the district and Somerset Community College to continue offering dual credit classes through the 2022-2023 school year, extending a longtime partnership.
“It’s a fabulous thing,” Ford said of the dual credit offerings.
•The board voted 5-0 to allow out-of-state and/or overnight trips for the swim team, HOSA, NGROTC, and Skills Club USA
•In two separate votes, one for the BG2 and BG3 and another for construction documents, the board unanimously approved Ford’s effort to add a second layer of doors at the Russell Springs Elementary School entrance.
“It’s an added layer of protection,” Ford said. “That school would never be designed that way now.”
All board members were present for the meeting.